Saturday, May 11, 2013

Internal clocks

I know people who can wake up at a certain time without an alarm. I've seen all kinds of excellent grasps on time that didn't require a timepiece. But what really amazes me is how a dog--Dodger, in this instance--without cues that I can see, is able to tell time with pretty good precision.

He will ask for certain things to happen at the same time every day. A few minutes ago, he went over to Marc and made clear he wanted something. Marc and Dodger can go through a question-and-answer thing where Marc will ask if he wants things and he'll bark when Marc gets to the right one.

Marc was starting the question session, but then Marc turned to me and asked, "what time is it?" I told him it was 9:09. At that, Marc knew Dodger was ready for his treats. Dodger calls for biscuits at 9:0something every night. Most nights, the demand hits at 9:03 or 9:04, but it can vary a few minutes.

How can he tell? Nothing else he does is anywhere close to this time, so he's not judging one off the other. And we don't watch the same shows each night. In fact, lots of nights, we don't even watch TV, and tonight we'd put in a DVD.

We make a mistake when we underestimate the skills and intelligence of non-human animals. Dodger reminds me of that often enough!


Pua; Bakin' and Tendin' Bar said...

Ellie had time down to two, very specific events; 1)4:30 on the dot was dinner time. 2) 11:00 on the dot was bedtime. If we were not hoisting ourselves off the couch by 11 pm and moving toward the bedroom, she would quietly stare and then begin to "boof" at us. A low, gutteral, kind of under the breath woof, that said; "Hey, let's move it you two, I'm tired." They're quite amazing, these creatures with whom we share our world.

Jess said...

Yes, they are, Pua. We tend to forget that!