Your dog may be able to actually "smell time." Here's how.
· Dec 26, 2022 ·

If it ever seems like your doggo is weirdly in tune with the rhythms of the day — up to and including knowing everyone's schedules to various degrees — well, it may very well be the case that your pup has an onboard clock, right at the end of his snout:

The writer, Michaeleen Doucleff, was told by her husband Matt that their dog Donut appeared to know precisely the time each day when he and his brother were on the bus home from school. She wondered how that was possible, and the research she did turned up a fascinating theory:

"Dogs are living in basically an olfactory world, and I think they are able to track time with smells."

Say whaaaa?

Here's how your pup's atomic nose might work:

Smelling time for Donut, Horowitz says, likely began with Matt's own unique bouquet of scents. "Humans stink, even the very clean among us," she says. "Dogs can recognize their owners by their smell alone." ...

As Matt and his brother rushed out the door to catch the bus in the morning, their living room would stink to high heaven with the signature scent of two prepubescent boys.

As Donut sauntered over to the rug for her morning nap, she would literally be swimming in Matt's odor molecules. But over time, the scents in the house changed. "The odors would deteriorate, and the smell gets less strong," Horowitz says.

As the day wore on, the scent of the boys would disappear more and more — until it hit some critical point at the day, one coinciding precisely with the point where the boys were homebound.

Which, for Donut, may have been the rough equivalent of:

This is all still theoretical of course:

Horowitz is quick to point out that this time-sniffing is only a hypothesis. Nobody has ever tested it scientifically (although the BBC tested in a more casual way with one family and their pet; the hypothesis stood up to their very unscientific experiment).

That BBC experiment is pretty compelling!

Whatever the explanation, it just makes us love our dogs even more!


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