Any dog owners know that most puppies and dogs tend to enjoy simply living in the moment, the excitement of accepting a treat or a snuggle, the toss of a tennis ball or the happiness of their meal. They seem to be very content just to exist with their charming and wagging tails of singlemindedness. Yet dogs do have an understanding of time, it is just a bit different than ours.
Many dogs can predict events with uncanny accuracy, such as leaping up to look out of the window when the kids are just about to make it home. Or when their owner is nearly home from work. Even more, dogs seem to know when their exact dinner time is, are they hungry or do they judge it from the sound of their stomach rumblings?
New research from Alexandra Horowitz states out a new theory, that dogs actually smell time. She writes her new book Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell, that the powerful dog nose is how dogs perceive the passing of time. They are not able to follow the clock or understand the movement of sunlight, it is not a mystical or otherworldly power – it just comes down to the scents in their area and how they change during the day.
Dogs can tell and understand much about the past, just because their noses are so sensitive. Odors actually change during time, and sometimes the changes are predictable which is what allows dogs to seemingly know things before they happen. For example, when you leave your home to go to work, the smell you leave behind decreasing by each hour you have been away. And your dog can actually detect the difference, which is why after many days of following these same scent’s decreasing they can know around what time you will be home. So you could say that the strength of your odor predicts when you will be home.