I became a dog owner for the first time in 2004, and I’ve learned a few things that have been very surprising.
First, dogs can tell time. I never would have imagined this to be the case, but it’s true. My dogs get fed at the same time every day and they will let me know when it is close to that time. The only time this is really a problem is when we switch from Daylight Saving Time to standard time, when the dogs recognize the sun is in the same place as it was this time last week but they have not been fed yet. So begins a lot of howling and whining.
Second, dogs can be possessive with their toys. A few weeks after we got our second dog, our friends came over with their two dogs. I soon realized that all of the dog toys we had were gone. Nano (the first dog) had gathered up all of the toys, put them in a chair and was laying on them as if to say “These are my toys. You cannot play with my toys.” After I got done laughing, I made Nano move, allowed him to pick which toy he wanted, and distributed the rest.
Third, dogs can be bullies for no reason. One time I watched Nano and Tera playing. Tera would take Nano’s toy, and he would move on to another toy. Then Tera took the second toy, and a third one. Within thirty seconds of taking each toy, Tera would lose interest. She did not want the toy – she wanted to show Nano that she was the dominant dog. I put a stop to that.
Fourth, dogs understand delayed gratification. This was a big surprise for me. I discovered this when I realized that every single time the dogs get a rawhide treat, Nano will not touch his until Tera is done with hers, so that he can eat his treat in front of her. Of course, this results in Tera taking the treat for herself, which leads to Nano walking over to me to whine at me because Tera took his treat. Nano then gets banished to a closed room so I do not have to play referee for twenty minutes while Nano finally eats his treat.
Fifth, dogs recognize specific sounds, like a jar of peanut butter opening. The same dog that cannot hear me when I am yelling at him to come inside from ten feet away can somehow recognize sound of the peanut butter lid being removed on the other side of the house, through three walls and a floor.