Dogs Who Know

While browsing the bookstore I came across a book "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home”. I could not put it down when I realized just how interesting this topic is to me. Pets, whether they are dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, birds or any other can help enlarge our understanding of life. They have a value far beyond cute, cuddly, comforting and fun.

For centuries people have noticed the uncanny abilities of animals. Many people also feel they have to deny these abilities or trivialize them. There appears to be a taboo against taking pets seriously. This is not only from a scientific point of view but from our society as a whole. There is also taboo against taking psychic, or paranormal phenomena seriously.

The book talks about the sensitivity of pets and the research that has been done to prove that it is real. Tests were done to find out if dogs could sense the passing of time or if there was more to it. It is fascinating to learn that during these studies, even if the owner started out at a variety of times, the dogs still knew when their owners were coming home. In one case the owner had started for home and then forgot something and went back into the office to retrieve it. The dog responded in the same pattern. When the owner returned to the office the dog went back to lay down and returned to the door just as the owner started the return journey. Studies were done varying the mode of transportation as well as departure times. Even after vacations, the dogs sensed when their owners were returning.

I was reminded of one of our daycare dogs who comes in twice a week. I observed that she would become very restless and start spinning her circles and basically dancing with excitement. I did not put two and two together for a while. Then I noticed that once this started, her owner would arrive to pick her up within twenty minutes or so. Sometimes I had wondered why she was carrying on so when it was not close to her normal departure time, only to find that her owner had arrived early to take her pet home.

I spoke to some of our other owners and found out that many of these dogs knew which day was a daycare day and would act in a noticeably differently manner. One that attends irregular days will get up that morning and refuse to eat breakfast and wait by the door to leave – this before any indication by the owner that it is a daycare day. Any other morning the dog follows the old routine.

Other owners told us how their dog knew the difference between a trip to the car by the owner to retrieve something, and the start of a real trip to the mall. One owner decided to make a last minute trip to the store and looked out the window to see the dog already sitting by the car door waiting.

Many of our dogs can tell when a storm is coming and start acting differently before, maybe even days before it happens.

Another reported that her dog would know when her daughter was coming to visit even if she did not. She would notice her dog sitting by the front door and would not be able to convince the dog to move away for more than a minute or two until her daughter appeared.

It is also reported by many of our cat owners that long before the cat carrier comes out for a trip to the vet or groomer, their cat will disappear; forcing the owner reschedule the appointment.

Just how do they do this?