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Time Zone Confusion

It’s easy to see how well dogs sense time and pick up on routines — especially about food-related events. For example, we become very popular about an hour before mealtime. It’s kind of funny and sweet, except when the time change messed everything up. The good news is that the time change fixed Ginko’s recent wake-up-early problems. The bad news is that poor Lilly is just exhausted come nighttime. My sweetie practically begs to go to bed these days.


Lilly only stares at me with intent after dinner for two reasons. One, she needs to go outside. Two, she wants to be crated for bed.

Because of her past nighttime hiding episodes, we often keep the basement door closed so that she cannot slink down there and spend the whole evening alone. One way we convince her to stay where we are is to entice her to snuggle for a while.

It’s about the best part of my day, to have a cuddle bug. But, it means surviving her pointy, pointy elbows and often finding a way to breathe, even when she firmly tucks her chin under mine.

Lilly tends to snuggle with Tom longer than she snuggles with me at night. I suspect it’s because he is so warm.

BUT, when Lilly decides it’s bedtime, it is SO bedtime. There is no convincing her otherwise.

I keep hoping her biological clock will adjust to the time change, but so far no luck. That means we’re spending a bit less time together these days. If Lilly is ready to sleep, then who am I to say, “No”?

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Tina - November 17, 2009

we always feed ours after we eat, for that very reason. our dog waits in the crate or on a dog bed until we are finished and it is her turn.

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell - November 17, 2009

Mine are still bugging me an hour early to eat!

Sam - November 17, 2009

I myself get confused about the time changes, so I’d expect a dog to get confused, too! Of course, Marge wakes up at an ungodly hour to begin with, so this switch has only made matters worse. Hope Lilly sorts out her internal clock soon.

Glad you liked the beach picture. It’s an oldie, but goodie (if we’re thinking of the same one!). Hard to believe it’s from last year.. things were SO different then.

If you get a chance, shoot by my blog and see if you can come up with anything regarding our walks. I value your opinion more than pretty much anyone else when it comes to these fearful quirky things, and I’m truly stumped.

Roxanne Hawn - November 17, 2009

That’s a good point. I’ll give her a bit longer to adjust, but if I see any signs of thyroid issues, I may have to have blood drawn again.

Goodness knows we’ve had her tested a bunch of times. Never shows anything.

But you never know.

Roxanne Hawn - November 17, 2009

My main worry is that if they eat too early for dinner, then it may ruin my new-found morning slumber as their tummies rumble.

It’s getting better. They didn’t start bugging me until 4:30 pm today.

KB - November 17, 2009

Our dogs just stick with the same schedule relative to sunrise and sunset when it comes to eating and going out for a romp. But, their bedtime still stays the same as ours.

I’m just wondering – when our dog S started going to bed early, we found out shortly later that he had low thyroid. It’s a long shot – so probably not worth following up. But, I thought that I’d toss it out there.

Scout and Freyja - November 16, 2009

When the time changed in our neck of the woods the dogs began to wake up earlier than what the clock said – of course, they were running on doggy time☺

Maery - November 16, 2009

Maybe not sticking to a time schedule is a good thing in this case. Java never knows what to expect. My previous dog Willow was one to tell me when it was bedtime. I guess she was part of my life when I was more settled and organized.

Nancy - November 16, 2009

I was just discussing this issue with the folks on the internet airedale list. Our solution is to take advantage of–as you said–that little bit of extra dog sleep in the mornings, but to keep them on their normal stomach clock in the evening. It means we feed them at night an hour before our clock says it’s time, but it seemed silly to make them wait an extra hour for dinner just because somebody said they must.

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