Do dogs have a sense of time and do they know what time it is? The answer is yes. But different from us humans.
Time – the division into minutes, seconds, and hours – was built by man. Dogs cannot understand this any more than they can read a clock. However, many of them scratch at the front door or beg for food at the same time in the morning. So do dogs have a sense of timing? And if so, what does it look like?
“We don’t know for sure how dogs perceive time because we cannot ask them,” says veterinarian Dr. Andrea Too. “But we know that you can estimate the time.”
Dogs also learn from their own experience. Your four-legged friend may not know that he always gets food at 18:00. But he knows that there is something tasty, for example, you come home from work, the sun is already at a certain level and his stomach growls.
When it Comes to Time, Dogs Rely on Experience and Signs
Accordingly, your dog by his behavior will tell you to finally fill the bowl. To humans, it may seem like dogs know what time it is.
Plus, according to Science Focus, dogs have a biological clock that tells them when to sleep or wake up. In addition, animals understand our signs very well. Do you take your shoes and leash? Then your fur nose immediately knows that you are finally going for a walk.
What about time intervals? Do dogs notice when something is longer or shorter? Research has shown that dogs are likely to be able to distinguish between different periods of time: in the experiment, four-legged friends greeted people more energetically if they were absent for an extended period of time. So it probably matters to your dog whether you go to the bakery for just ten minutes or leave the house for a full day at work.
Mouse Study Sheds Light on Mammalian Timing
There is also other research that provides new insights into the sense of timing in mammals. To do this, the researchers examined mice on a treadmill while the rodents saw a virtual reality environment. They ran through the virtual corridor. When the texture of the floor changed, a door appeared and the mice stopped in its place.
Six seconds later, the door opened and the rodents ran to the reward. When the door stopped disappearing, the mice stopped at the changed floor texture and waited six seconds before continuing.
The researchers’ observation: While the animals wait, time-tracking neurons are activated in the central entorhinal cortex. This shows that mice have a physical representation of time in their brains that they can use to measure the time interval. It is possible that this works very similarly in dogs – after all, the brain and nervous system in mammals work very similarly.