The Whippet Clock, or Can Your Dog Tell the Time? (Part 1)

I discovered some time ago that George can tell the time. He is a dog of routines who likes to do the same thing, at the same time, every single day. Any attempt to entertain him by adding a bit of variation to his life is likely to cause him distress, rather than make him eternally grateful. So we’re stuck into a very monotonous daily routine. Anything to keep the dog happy, right?

The best thing about what we call George’s ‘mild autism’ is that we will  never be late for school, will never miss a meal and can always tell what George is thinking. Well, almost always.  Here’s what my day looks like based on my whippet’s body clock:

7.00  A 16-kg cannonball jumps on my tummy and licks my face, waking me up and making the alarm clock that I carefully set up the night before redundant. It’s time to wake up.

7.30 George is waiting by the kitchen door in a perfect “sit” position that could win me a “Dog Trainer of the Year” award. It’s time for breakfast and chicken wings.

8.15 George starts running around the house causing havoc, stealing socks, tackling cushions and shredding tissues. We’ve got 15 minutes to get ready to go out, and we’d better hurry because George really needs to go to the toilet (the back garden just won’t do; at this time of the day he prefers to use the hawthorn bush in the corner of our field).

8.30 George is standing by the back door looking moody and restless. He’s really lost his patience, it’s time to go. We split up: one adult takes George for his walk, the other takes his human sister to school.

9.15 George returns from his morning walkies and plonks himself in his dad’s armchair for a snooze. Alternatively, when the weather is nice and sunny, he goes and lies on his blanket in the garden, soaking in some sunshine vitamin. Either way, he doesn’t like to be disturbed, so the adults would better crack on with their work for the next few hours.

11.30 George has now recharged his batteries and is ready to take on the world again. He’s feeling bouncy and has no one to play with, so he turns to the humans for assistance on this matter. He doesn’t normally get any attention straight away, so he makes himself more visible and a real nuisance by placing his head on my lap and looking up with irresistible puppy eyes. Occasionally, he lets out a little whimper, too, but this tactic never works, so he has to play by himself for a bit. 

12.00 George is trying his best to kill his rubber chicken, which means he is really starving. It’s time to stop and have lunch, preferably in the garden if the weather permits it. But lunch is not that easy with a fussy whippet, he has to have a little tug-war game with his dad whilst I prepare his food.

13.00 George is queueing up at the back door again. He’s let his food go down and is now ready to go out again. He especially loves this second walk, since it’s when he normally meets up with some of his friends for a run around. However, we’d better not forget to take his beloved frisbee with us, just in case we’ve got the whole field for ourselves. A good run makes him happy and settles him for the afternoon, so we make sure he gets it every day.

14.00 Back home and back to snoozing in dad’s armchair or in the garden for the next couple of hours. The adults get the chance to catch up with more of their daily tasks.

As this is turning into a rather lengthy post, I will end it here, before I bore everyone. I will return with an hour-by-hour recount of George’s afternoon routine next week, in Part 2. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from all of you who have pets (or had pets in the past). Do your fur babies display similar behaviours? Are they stuck in the same daily routine?

*****

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “The Whippet Clock, or Can Your Dog Tell the Time? (Part 1)

  1. Bailey is definitely a creature of habit. He likes his routines and he gets upset if they are broken. He isn’t as bad as George in that every single day is always the same, but he has many moments of his day that are. When we have a foster dog, some of the normal behaviors and routines that we see are changed, but some of his quirks are.

    -Sleeps in until the last person out of bed, normally me, gets up (Never have to worry about him waking us up.. he loves to sleep). When I get up, he comes out of the bedroom and goes to sleep on the couch while I do my random normal morning things until I’m ready to take him outside. I take him outside. He comes back inside and immediately gets his Lamby or Bunny (or whatever toy he brought to bed) from the bedroom and brings him out in the living room. I find it strange that he will always wait until after he has gone to the bathroom to bring out his toy.

    – Whenever I get home from work, I can expect the same thing. I come home and walk into the bedroom. Bailey is laying on our bed, sees me, rolls on his back for a belly rub and kisses, then as soon as I’m done, he hops off the bed and runs to the door to go outside. Same exact thing every day.

    – At bedtime, he will bring whatever toy he is taking to bed with him, all the way to the door when he goes outside for the last time. That way it is easy access so that when he comes inside he can just grab it and go to our bedroom.

    – Bailey has a nightly head licking routine. He is obsessed with licking Craig’s head so as soon as Craig lays down in bed, Bailey climbs up on either his back or chest and will just lick and lick and lick, until either Craig or I tell him ‘That’s enough.” He is strange

    – In the summer, we go to the park almost daily and he definitely knows when its time to go so any move I make around that time, he is up running for the door thinking we are leaving.

    Most of his quirks just revolve around specific behaviors that he does daily every single day and not necessarily a time. He definitely likes his routines though.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write such a long and nice comment, Kristen. It sounds like Bailey has his own milestones of the day. I love the ‘licking’ routine he’s got with his dad. I had to run to your latest post to see whether dad’s got a bold head 🙂 There are not many things in this world as wonderful as the love and affection your dog shows to you. I also think it’s sweet of Bailey to ask for a belly rub as soon as he sees you. The first thing George does is jump up and try to kiss us. The belly rub comes a lot later, when he’s settled.
      I just love the names of Bailey’s cuddlies, Lamby and Bunny. You have to share a photo of them on your blog 🙂

  2. I’m one who cherishes routines—I’d feel lost otherwise, but then I married someone who loves spontaneity. What can I say, opposites attract. So now, we have what we call a spontaneous routine. In other words, we know more or less the tasks that have to be accomplished each day and we tackle them in a somewhat orderly fashion. There are days, however, when things don’t go quite as planned and that’s when my hubby saves the day while I just freak out. Maple seems to have adjusted to our daily life while we have come to appreciate her laid back nature!

    • It sounds like there’s a lot of balance in your home. The concept of a ‘spontaneous routine’ sounds quite cool, and Maple seems to have fitted in perfectly. She is impressively calm and ‘mature’ for a dog so young. You must be doing something right 😉

  3. Woman

    This post made me laugh so hard!!!!! It reminded me of all the animals I had growing up; even the cats. My mother always said that I never had pets. The pets had me. And it was so true.

    The raccoons and the bear was the worst of the bunch. They kept a better time peice than any watch I ever had. If I was late coming home from school, they began to panic thinking that they must have been forgotten about and attacked me with sitting on my shoes and trying to crawl up my legs happy to see me, but even more happy that there was food in their buckets. Then came the hour long play time before I had to continue on my chores with a long line of raccoons and a bear dancing along behind me.

    Thanks for the chuckles!!!

    w

    • Your welcome, and thanks for stopping by. It’s funny and you probably wouldn’t believe it, but I was going to check out your blog a bit later (found in mentioned by Balladeer on his blog). 🙂
      You sure had interesting, unusual pets. I don’t think I’ve even seen a raccoon in real life, but they sound like little rascals and a lot of fun. A bear? A real one? Gosh, where do you live? A huge bear and a lot of little raccoons being best buddies would surely make for a perfect wildlife documentary.

  4. I also had a huge grin on my face reading this story, Didi. And I was also thinking it would be nice to have George’s life! 🙂 Grace loves her routines, too, and I think she would probably be better adjusted if we had the same schedule everyday. There are certain things that stay pretty close, but because I sometimes work out of the house and my schedule is ususally different every day, Grace is never quite sure what I’m going to be doing or when. Looking forward to Part II!

    • 😀 I also think that it would be nice to have George’s life sometimes! We are, indeed, lucky to be able to work from home and be around for George (and Brianna). There was a time when we went out to work all day, but we didn’t have any dogs or children then. We only got George because we knew we wouldn’t have to leave him by himself that often. Grace is a cool dog who’s learnt to adapt to your flexible routine, I wish George was like that. But I guess it’s our fault he’s Mr. Routine 🙂

  5. Great idea for a post! Gus is also a creature of habit and does not like it one bit if his day is changed around. The exception is the weekends and he seems to go with the flow much better on Sat and Sun. It’s amazing how smart they are.

    Our weekday routine is really consistent – just the way Gus likes it. I wish Gus would eat breakfast like George…but I bet he would if he was fed chicken wings!

    • You know, I had a feeling that Gus is a bit like George in this respect. Maybe because he’s equally spoilt and thinks that the world revolves around him like George does 🙂
      It wouldn’t take many chicken wings to fill up Gus’ little tummy, George only needs 2!

  6. Hi Y’all,

    BrownDog here. My Humans no longer set any alarm. I show up with a cold nose exactly the same time every morning. The only exception to the alarm closk is if they have to be somewhere and need to get up before their BrownDog alarm nuzzles them. In that case I lay in my bed and watch closely to see what’s next!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    • Hiya, BrownDog (or can I call you Hawk because I love the name?). Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It’s nice to hear you’re good at keeping the time, too. Well done for keeping a close eye on your humans, you never know what they’re up to, so they need someone to supervise them. Will come and visit you at your blog!

  7. I used to be able to tell time, but Mama and Daddy started watching movies late at night and then letting me out at midnight for my final “patrol”. I stopped being able to get up before them at 5 AM. I don’t know how that happened?

    Your Pal,
    Opie

    Feel free to stop by and visit me. 🙂

    • We’ll surely visit you at your blog, Opie. 😉
      Your mum and dad need a good telling off for messing up your routine. That can be really confusing, George hates it when it happens.

  8. My kitties all know my routine better than me. If Im heading to the bathroom instead of the bedroom, Littlegirl will be there ahead of me. All the cats watch me as I go about my day. I feel guilty sometimes because I am so predictable. The cats really enjoy and crave change when it happens. Sometimes Ill re arange the furniture, and all the cats will run around like little exited kittens in a playground.

    Or sometimes I will plop down next to Poohba in an unexpected place just to give him love. The unpredictable surprise always makes him smile. (at least I imagine him smiling) My house is pretty tiny, so I try extra hard to keep em all mentaly stimulated.

    • Cats are definitely clever creatures, and your recount demonstrates that once again. They seem to be very good at reading your emotions and intentions. Don’t feel too guilty for being predictable, it probably helps keep your cats happy and settled. Rearanging the furniture is something we love, too, just to break up the routine. Obviously, George is not too keen on this kind of activity.
      I have this nice image in my head of Poohba smiling. I don’t think you’re imagining it, he’s definitely clever enough to display emotion. George smiles sometimes, when he’s happy or pleased with something. A bit of unexpected loving sounds like the perfect reason for your kitties to smile 🙂

  9. Kas

    This post is one of the best/funniest that I have read since I’ve joined WordPress! I could just picture George in his daily antics – I felt like I was watching a play-by-play and couldn’t stop giggling.

    As far as my dogs go … Kylie lives very in the moment while Diesel enjoys a little more structure in his life. Evee and Bailey are pretty happy-go-lucky and will go along with pretty much anything, other than mealtime (Evee will demand her food when she thinks it’s mealtime and will continue until she gets it). It’s interesting though to see all 4 dogs act as a pack – they all wait by the door for the first potty of the day, they’ll wait by their food containers when they know it’s breakfast/dinnertime, they’ll wait by the door when they know it’s time to go for their morning/evening walk, etc. They seem to feed off of each other like vultures haha! Anyway, great post. Looking forward to reading part II of George the Rain Man’s daily routine 😛

    • Thank you, Kas, I’m glad you liked it! George the Rain Man, I love that 🙂
      I’ve never had a pack of dogs in the house (George is my first dog), but I can imagine the dynamics within the family is completely different to single dog families like ours. It’s interesting how your dogs feed off each other, like you say. It sounds like they rely on each other for different things, like they’ve allocated roles. Between themselves, they seem to have got life worked out.

      • Kas

        They definitely have a pack hierarchy and different roles within the group. It’s definitely interesting to see them work things out! 🙂

  10. Oh mercy! No matter what time our alarm clock is set for, Lilac wakes us up at least half an hour early! I feel your pain. We live around her schedule!

  11. George sounds just like Bogie as a creature of habit! One particular visitor is known for brushing her hair immediately before leaving and one time she brushed her hair, but got caught up in a conversation and Bogie was visibly agitated by this departure from the norm.

  12. I really like this Didi. I think it is funny how dogs have a routine. I agree with Robin. Please just let me be George for one day. To wake up in the morning and eat chicken wings? I am so there.

  13. Oh yes, Clancy and Connor have little inbuilt Tag Huers, or maybe Timex too!
    I am lucky (?) enough to live close enough to work to walk home for lunch shared with my boys, sadly though I do not have a ‘set’ lunch break-the job would be great if it were not for my clients!- the boys, who have a lovely deck they live on during the day, tend to take up position in the corner of the deck so as they can see down the walk way through which I will emerge at around 11.55 am and will not budge until they see me, they then do the famous Whippet dance of excitement. Lunch is shared and then we have a 10 minute play in the park in our street before I have to return to work!
    Of course if the weather turns bad during the day or if I just need a Whippet cuddle I do a detour to home on the way in or out from the office! What I really need is a job where I can take the boys along too!

    • It’s funny, all whippet owners I’ve met have said the same thing: next time I look for a job, it has to be one where I can take the dogs! I don’t know how our whippies manage to do this to us, but they do 🙂
      You may not be there with your boys all of the time, but they’re still very lucky to have a mum who runs home to them every lunchtime, and you’re lucky to be able to do so. I love the idea of that detour you make for a whippet cuddle, so sweet.
      Thanks for the comment, Annie, and have a lovely Easter!

  14. I commented on this yesterday but I’m having a problem with my comments not “taking” all of a sudden.
    What I did was mention how Bogie is as much a creature of habit as George is. He even knows the body language and habits of visitors and if they deviate from their norms he gets annoyed.

  15. Pingback: The Whippet Clock, or Can Your Dog Tell the Time? (Part 2) | my little dog

  16. So fun! I love that George is your set-your-clock-by dog. Good reliable George.

    We used to have two cats, and their routines weren’t nearly as defined as this. In fact, they didn’t really have much of a routine. Guess they were more free-spirits.

    But as my husband says, I drive every living thing in our house crazy (it’s a compliment), the cats used to “turn” at around 9pm every night. Like a chemistry experiment, and their 2 chemicals would mix. As if you combined two separate and calm ingredients, and as soon as they mixed, things exploded!

    The cats would grow big-eyed, start running sideways across the seat-back of the sofa (the part where your back rests) because they were going so fast, and jump and tumble and wrestle… it was craziness. But very entertaining.

    • Ha, good description of your cats’ ‘crazy time’, I can picture them in my mind. Very entertaining indeed, although it would probably be complete chaos now, with the two kids running around, too 🙂 I have no experience with cats, but they seem to be more independent than dogs and like to do their own thing. So a regimented routine like George’s wouldn’t really work for them, I guess. If you’re still into cats, check out my friend Sara’s blog at lifewith4cats. She’s an expert on the subject!

      I refuse to think that a nice lady like youself could ever drive anyone crazy 😉

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