Do Dogs Understand Seasons?

Animals of all stripes have a sense of seasonal changes. Seasonal animal migrations happen by land, sea and air.

But do domesticated animals like dogs still attuned to the seasons? Without a need to migrate or follow a migratory food source, do our pups really care about the ten day forecast?

I ask because we’ve had a mild but wacky winter.
Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

Fall transitioned to winter with a few light flurries

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

Temperatures dipped for a short while and we got a bit of familiar frost

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

But then the sun came out to play

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

And stuck around so long that we could ditch our jackets

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

In fact, this past Sunday I wore shorts to the beach. It felt like late spring

The week in weather quickly degenerated from “early summer” to “apocalyptic winter.”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

Coats, ears and tails flipped all over the place yesterday

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

Gusting gales of snow made it tough to see

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

The wind made it tough to even stand up straight!

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, montrose dog beach, chicago, adventure

Of course none of that stopped Penny from considering a quick swim

Once back home, the pups confusedly shook themselves off and looked at me like, “What is going on out there!?”

I know the issue of whether dogs have “episodic memory” is still up for debate, but I wonder if domestic dogs retain any instinct or circadian rhythm when it comes to seasonal changes.

That said, even if they do, it wouldn’t help them much given the weather we’re having!

I couldn’t find too much information about this subject, so let’s hazard some guesses. What do you think, do dogs notice seasonal changes?

25 Comments

I think Daisy definitely does. She’s much more hesitant to go outside in winter before she even knows if it’s cold out. And when she hears rain, she positively balks at going out. So I do think she notices.

NC generally has very mild winters with maybe 1 snowfall that doesn’t stick around for long. This winter has felt like hurricane season. Not too cold (hell Christmas weekit was in the70s and 80s all week) and a lot of rain. I grew up in New Hampshire…I like that it isn’t as cold here but I do miss the snow!

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