Dogs and memory

THis might seem a really stupid question, but do dogs have any awareness of time. I have to travel quite a bit and the guilt at leaving Molly my rescued beautiful dog is overwhelming. She stays with friends who adore her like she is their own. But I still feel so terrible.

Hi Anna, just seen your post. I had an operation 2 months ago and had to put our doggie into kennels for 7 weeks as hubby was working in England and just couldn’t be here. He’s been there loads of times before…but only for holiday periods, it’s where he did his doggy training and he loves his “trainer”. Literally leaps for joy when we get there. But, as this was a long period I did ask his trainer(dresseur) do dogs feel the time you leave them? His reply was…some dogs have a notion of time, some have none at all. he was fine when we picked him up. But, as my hubby works in England regularly, you can guarantee, the day we arrive home in the car together, our pooch will be up on the balcony above the door, I will get out of the car first, he will be staring at the passenger seat for hubby to get out, he just “knows” and that little(big actually) tail will be wagging like you’ve never seen lol I think as long as you leave them with people you know and people who like them you don’t really need to worry.

My magic words are: I’ll be back. It has worked with all my dogs and there have been many over the years.
I agree with Gina (Hi Gina!)that you should not show your feeling of guilt. If he is stayig with good people, people he knows, who love him, there is nothing to feel guilty about. After all, you HAVE to travel, don’t you? You’re not just going away for fun.
Same ‘I’ll be back’ is used when we go shopping in Bordeaux (most of the day)and can’t take him with us because of the heat. Weather permitting he always comes along and loves being in the car.
C’mon, Anna, you love, they love, he loves … everything makes for a perfect situation. Guilt feelings are to be thrown out of the window.

Thank you I cant believe how guilty I feel.

I am working with a canine behaviour consultant and have been reading her book. What she suggests for leaving a dog for extended periods is to make sure they are entertained so they don’t get bored. Her favourite way to do this is to give them one of their meals in a Kong toy.

It can take them literally hours to get to all the food in the toy and will provide a mental challenge supported by a reward. So, depending how long you are away for, it’s possible you could be back before they even realise you have gone.

Might just work for your scenario.

We brought a dog back from Kenya to the UK and of course he spent six months in quarantine. The kennel people told us right at the start that we must decide how regularly we could visit – every week, two weeks etc. – and stick to it religiously because it was important to the dog’s health and well-being to know when we would visit. They said he would know when to expect us and he would pine if we didn’t turn up on time.

Our chap tends to sleep while we are away, (on our bed although we never catch him there but the dent in the bedlinen is obvious) he is always at the door to meet us, yawning and obviously having just woken up, but he knows we’ll be back and usually setlles well

That’s a question I have thought about, I think they are aware of time to a certain extent, in that mine certainly treat me differently when I return after being out for the day to when I returned recently after 3 weeks, but I don’t think they view it that differently to be honest. It’s our cat that clearly is more aware of the time I have been away.

Hi Anna. I have found if you familiarise dogs with all sorts of things , including where they are going to stay if you need to leave them they soon realise that all is well this is part of the routine. The trick is not to transmit your concerns - act like this is just like going down the shops. I always say to the dogs “I won’t be long”, which obviously is a fib. But the tonality implies that I am only round the corner and they just do their thing till I return. G.
Hope that helps , we worry more than they do…