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February 25, 2016

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?
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?

Comments for Do Dogs Understand Seasons?

  1. probably not… Easy always walks to the back door when we have rain… he really thinks that the rain happens only at the front door :o)

  2. Victoria says:

    definitely and they adjust to weird anomalies in the weather better than me!

  3. Pat says:

    My old basset hound did not like the snow. I suppose if my tummy was that close to the ground I wouldn’t like it either. I used to trample paths for him if we got more than a couple inches. My point is, nearly every time I let him out in the yard he would look at me as if to say, “Why is this still here? Can’t you get summer back?” I don’t think he really understood seasons. 🙂

  4. Well, living in SoCal we don’t get much seasonal change so I doubt if they notice.

  5. Kismet says:

    Spring training games start in a few days. Penny would love it.

  6. Ellen Quilty says:

    I don’t think that dogs understand seasons-they live in the moment but we all know that they understand weather.As in weather to go out when it is cold,raining or the grass is wet in the morning.The answer is no.(Yes,Nikki is that kind of Ridgeback)Weather to follow the sun around the house and wind up on the front porch to work on the tan.Let me out now!And weather to chase the new crop of squirrels in the spring.Is that a question?

  7. coastingnz says:

    I think they do – my boys are happy enough to snuggle down in their beds on a wet/cold day without being told – no pestering for a walk which is very unusual on a nice day.

  8. I think Neeka knows the seasons to a certain extent. She has a “happy zone” temperature range(55-75 degrees) which covers about three months in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. We’re smack dab in the middle of that time frame now. She is super spunky and pestering Khoi to run with her. Khoi, on the other hand, just wants to hunt all those waking gophers and ground squirrels (and hopefully not find a rattlesnake). Once the temperature starts heading towards triple digits, both dogs retire to the air conditioning vents. They think of the heat in the same manner as rain; they rather avoid it. Ironic that they were bred for extreme temperatures of Rhodesia. California Ridgeback is more their breed.

  9. Emmadog says:

    For us it seems like every season is something brand new. We investigate weather changes like they never happened before. Our winter has been lousy too this year, but they predicted that way back last summer. Hopefully we will get a super cold and snowy one next year! Love you guys racing in your coats in the snow.

  10. I live in Pensacola, Florida n when it gets cold mine have their swesters on but dont want to stay out long in the fenced on yard.

  11. Jesse says:

    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!

  12. 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.

  13. Uh…can I get back to you on Daylight Savings Time and return to regular time? I KNOW Sam remembers those ‘season’s. 😉

  14. Agree live in the moment, but mine so know when it is hunting season!

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