Does your dog have a concept of time? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Does your dog have a concept of time?

Mom was telling me about an article in the paper yesterday, by this so-called "dog lady" and it just made me nuts, so I wanted to ask the question.

Someone had written in for advice, asking if dogs have any concept of time. Whether they know the difference if you've been gone for two weeks versus 5 minutes. This "expert" answered, stating that dogs live in the moment and have no sense of time. That they don't know if you've been gone for one hour or one week.

I say it's total BS. My guys definitely seem to have a pretty good concept of time. If we're away a little longer than usual, I can tell by their greeting when we come home that they KNOW they've been left a little longer than usual. When mom's just one hour late getting home from work, it's obvious by the boys' reactions that they KNOW she's late. ****, they start stirring right about 5:30 everyday, because they know, just from routine, that she should be home any minute. When I spent the night in the hospital (I'd never left them overnight before) they about went ballistic when I came home and were glued to my side all day. They knew I was gone much longer than I should have been.

I don't understand how this "expert" can say that they have no concept of time.
So, do you notice it with your dogs? Do they understand time?

Deni
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 10:10 AM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

Does nap time, chow time and sleep time count?

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 10:24 AM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

Well I have to say I believe they do have some concept of time. Max for one, he gets his teeth brushed every nite around 9:30 then its his bedtime. if i fall behind on doing this he will go and get his kit and bring it to me and its always right at 9:30 or a bit later. just an example

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 10:35 AM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

I think so cause at 8:30 every night Brady goes to my husband and starts whining (potty time)

and the same at 10pm but comes to me

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 10:49 AM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

If you're asking can dogs tell time - ie wake up/go out at 6AM, breakfast at 8AM, play at noon, walk at 4PM, dinner at 6PM, going out to potty at 10PM, then YES!!! lol - I'd put the Hooligan's internal clocks up against the most accurate atomic clock in existence.

If you're asking can dogs tell the difference between someone being gone 7 hours or 7 days, I honestly don't know. I've read they can't but I've never been 100% convenienced that this is valid.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 11:03 AM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

I am pretty sure they would know the difference in 7 hours vs 7 days too! They might 'live in the moment' but their "moments" are much different without their own people!

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 11:08 AM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: ZissoI am pretty sure they would know the difference in 7 hours vs 7 days too!
In my limited experience with one dog, Wolf definitely knows that kind of difference. He welcomes me home anytime I leave, but when I was away for a week-the longest time we have been separated-it was a far more intense greeting. He whistled and squealed running down two flights of stairs.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 11:57 AM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

Thor and Riggs know when its feeding time, wake-up, lunch and come home time. That's about it.

Might have to do with the fact its routine.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 12:19 PM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

I agree, I think its BS. Katie I notice especially, around 10 PM, if we're not all ready up in bed, she goes up on her own. She also knows when DH is expected to be home.

When I had not yet moved in to our home, I moved in after we were married, and if I hadn't seen Katie in a few days vs. just seeing her the day before, the greetings were much different. She knew that there had been a longer time in which we hadn't seen each other.

It does make me think of the things that go on in our homes they can sense from us. Maybe if we're tired, they might go up to bed because they can sense we're going soon? I don't know. I'm no expert, but I don't believe that they can't sense time at all.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 12:20 PM
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Re: Does your dog have a concept of time?

Absolutely they have the concept of time. They have excellent "body clocks," and they learn routines more reliably than people sometimes.

I can also tell the difference in their reactions if I've been gone 5 minutes, 3 hours, or 2 days.

When people say "dogs live in the moment," all that means to me is that they don't dwell on the past like people (#1) and also that they don't connect things that have happened in the past with what's happening now. Ex: You can't punish a dog for pooing in the house 10 minutes after the fact...because they don't connect the 2 events. That doesn't mean they don't have the concept of time.

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