Ask A Terrier: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Dear Budleigh,

I read about a new study indicating that dogs may have an inner clock which would explain how Cinnamon, our Cocker Spaniel, always knows exactly when it’s time for meals. However, here in Illinois we just switched from daylight savings time (“Spring forward. Fall back!”), and my little sweetie is annoyed that her food is being served late.

Is there a way to reset a dog’s inner clock? Like a switch or button or something? I’ve scratched that adorable little patch of white on Cinnamon’s muzzle. She loves that, but is still running an hour ahead. An hour behind? Now I’m confused!

How can I adjust Cinnamon from daylight savings time?

Hoping for timely intervention, Claire S., Oak Park, IL

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Dear Claire S.,

First, the correct term is daylight saving time. A Giant shouldn’t need a Terrier to tell her that.

Next, the thought of having an inner clock makes my stomach a bit queasy. How’d it get there? I don’t recall eating anything that keeps time. Except cicadas. And they’re not very accurate.

Dogs' “Inner Clock” is easily confused by the International Date Line.
Dogs’ “Inner Clock” is easily confused by the International Date Line.
Fortunately, a TV news story I overheard explained details of the study. My Yelly Giant further clarified by screaming, “Waste of taxpayers’ money!” Simply put, research has uncovered a set of neurons in the medial entorhinal cortex of mouse brains that may play a role in encoding temporal aspects of episodic memories.

Well, duh! Did scientists even think to ask dogs? Dogs have learned a lot about mice. We don’t just kill them for fun. Actually, it’s a lot of fun. But they don’t seem to tell time any better than cicadas.

The researchers, using slow, precise, boring methodologies that probably involved a lot of wires, now believe that mice can tell time. Further, this capacity may also hold for higher animals that have brains full of that medial blah-blah, like cats, dogs and, in certain cases, Giants. That’s why dogs seem to know when it’s dinner time.

There’s an alternate theory known as “My Theory.” Dogs stand around the kitchen at dinner time because dogs always stand around the kitchen waiting for dinner time. I mean, look at a dog’s day: Sleep. Poop. Dinner! Our dance card isn’t exactly full.

So while you’re off daylight saving time, Claire S., just feed Cinnamon an hour early. Then feed her again an hour later. Also feed me.

Oh, and about that reset button: When you scratch my belly, I thump my leg. Will that do?


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4 thoughts on “Ask A Terrier: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

  1. My little dog Ginger said, “I didn’t know it was daylight SAVING time, I thought it was daylight WASTING time the way my giants waited to serve me dinner! You mean it’s not late?”

    1. Budleigh says:

      “You can’t trust your inner clock, Ginger. I suggest you get yourself an inexpensive, really accurate cicada. Maybe a digital one. They’re easy to read.”

  2. I like your answer to daylight savings time, Budleigh. Now that I’m retired I follow a schedule very similar to yours. And I’m free to feed myself without any regard to the clock. Now, do you have a way for me to cope with not knowing what day of the week it is?

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