Do dogs have a concept of time?

There is a scientific explanation for why your pet dog seems to anticipate when their dinnertime is imminent.

2nd November 2017
Do dogs have a concept of time? © Getty

Asked by: Fernando Garcia, Spain

Dogs have a sense of time but probably not a ‘concept’ of time. Human episodic memory means we pinpoint times in the past and look forward to the future. Studies suggest that dogs live very much in the present but, like us, their internal clock or circadian rhythm regulates body processes such as when to go to sleep and get up. Left alone they may become increasingly anxious, indicating that they have an awareness of the passage of time. Plus, they react to a plethora of behavioural cues as though they know that ‘it is time for walkies’. But don’t be fooled – dogs haven’t mastered time management yet!

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