It’s About Time…

3 Tips To Get Your Dog On A New Schedule

By, Katy Cable/ 3 minute read

​It’s time for a change! This Sunday, November 4th at 2AM, if you live in the US (not including Arizona and Hawaii) fis the end of Daylight Savings Time, and we FALL BACK! -That’s good news for me which means an extra hour on Sunday to to lazy in bed!

Unless you’ve heard the news reminding you or checked your calendar, it’s very easy to forget the time change. I love the extra hour to sleep in and putter around in the fall. For me it’s a much bigger adjustment trying to get my “dog tired” butt out of bed an hour earlier in the spring. -Or even worse, be running an hour late!

This time change got me thinking…What about our dogs? Can your dog tell time? Many people claim that their pets know, to the minute, when it’s mealtime, walk time, or time for their owners to arrive home. Is it true? Can dogs tell time? As research shows, the answer is an overwhelming YES!

It seems clear that dogs are aware that time is passing, but many pet owners are amazed by how well pets are able to learn household routines. Dogs are highly adaptable and able to tell time well enough to stick to a schedule. They can also quickly adjust to a new one.

Dogs, in particular, have evolved to be very skilled at picking up social clues and reading human behavior. You may not realize that your body language sends subtle cues about your mood and intentions, but your dog certainly does. Maybe you always grab the leash or your commuter mug before you venture out on your afternoon walk. Perhaps you stand up and walk toward the kitchen just a little more purposefully than usual when it’s feeding time. If your dog is paying attention, they may be able to convince you that they’re anticipating your every move in advance.

Most dogs are also quite good at figuring out associations between events, so your dog probably knows that when you pick up his leash, it’s time for a walk, and that when they hear a can opener or the pitter-patter of kibble, it’s mealtime. And those are the easy, “no-brainer” cues. They also seem to know when you’re preparing to travel long before the luggage appears. The stacks of clothes, the way things are being organized and you’re general demeanor is a dead giveaway to your dog.

Internal Clocks: Like most living things, dogs derive most of their time sense from their circadian rhythms. Earth takes approximately 24 hours to rotate once around its axis and experience a full cycle of night and day, so most life on the planet has evolved to wake, eat, survive, and sleep on that 24-hour schedule. Scientists have observed this in humans, dogs, cats, insects, fungi, and interestingly enough, even some microbes.

An animal’s circadian rhythm is governed by its genes, but these cycles are also very dependent on light and dark. Your dog’s circadian rhythm probably plays a big role in when your dog thinks it’s time to play, sleep, or eat. This was very clearly demonstrated by my dog, Olive waking at the exact same time of the morning even though the time had been changed. It also explains why as the daylight hours get shorter they will adjust to the new time and sleep a bit later. This internal clock along with aligning to the circadian rhythms is what gives all of us, including our dogs, the sense of time.

If your dog is having some trouble with the time change, I advise these 3 easy tips:

  1. Begin slowly adjusting feeding and walk times by 10–15 minutes the week PRIOR to the time change. They should be adjusted within the week. Since, in this case you didn’t get the memo until AFTER the time change, you can still slowly adjust time their schedule in 10–15 minute increments until your dog has transitioned. Then, in the SPRING, start a week prior.
  2. What I personally do is keep my feedings & walks not at a specific time but within a 1–2 hour time window. I get up and walk Olive between 8 & 9 am, then feed her when we return home. I have the same 1–2 hour window for walks. This makes it an easy adjustment not just for time change, but also when we travel or have unexpected delays that throw off our schedule.
  3. Another easy tip is to tire your dog out with more exercise to help them sleep and adjust to transitions. I have also found Treatibles*, CBD/HEMP products, can drastically help a pet having difficulty adjusting to the new time or a schedule change.

Your dog should adjust easily to the shorter daylight hours and new time change. You, on the other hand might want to hold off on taking your dog for a run after work (since it may be pitch dark) and enjoy morning meditation or yoga (or a latte in bed with your pup) while you adjust to the return of longer sunny days. HAPPY FALL! Pugs and kisses!😘🐾💕 -Katy Cable

*For a 10% discount use the code: WEEKLY RUNT at checkout!

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