Dogs don’t subscribe to our measurements of time. They have their own systems for marking important milestones in their daily schedule. One of those extremely important moments is when one of their family members who left the house returns home again.
An emotional viral video of a Lab eagerly awaiting the arrival of her human brother’s school bus demonstrates the weight dogs put on our return. The video is filmed by the mom of the boy and pup.
“Are you waiting for Jonathan?” She asks in the video. “Where’s Jonathan? Look out the window!”
The apprehensive pup whimpers, helpless to make the school bus arrive any faster. Even though her vocalizations seem impatient, her body sits still, staring out the window and waiting.
Eventually, the bus does arrive at the end of the street. The dog approaches the window where she can see Jonathan walk from the end of the street to the house.
Suddenly, when her young person gets close enough to the house, the dog bolts off towards the front door.
There’s no other way to describe this action than pure enthusiasm. This pup can’t wait to see her human again after hours apart. She stands on the step, waiting for Jonathan to come inside.
When that highly anticipated moment arrives, the sweet dog takes all her pent up energy and bursts up and down the entire staircase again. Now it’s time for a little celebration and snuggling before the next big daily milestone: dinner time.
Watch the video for yourself below:
How Do Our Dogs Know When We’re Coming Home?
If there’s one thing we know about dogs, it’s their preference for routine. They may not use the same clocks and systems we do, but they still recognize the passage of time. Just like us, they use the brightness and position of the sun as a clue. They also use scent and hearing. The sound of the bus, for example.
Dogs are also able to recognize and recall vocal tones and certain sounds human beings make. This pup may have been responding to the phrase and pitch of “Where’s Jonathan” and associated it with the moment of his brother’s return.
Why Do Dogs React With Such Excitement When We’re Back?
University of Trento neuroscientist Giorgio Vallortigara explains this physical emotional reaction dogs have by relating them back to their wolf ancestors. Wolves operate in packs, as dogs inherently want to. They don’t like it when we leave without explanation or, to them, reason.
“The separation from the owner for the dog is not voluntary. It is always unnatural for a dog to detach and abandon the pack.”
Aww, our dogs biologically would prefer to be with us at all times!
“The exaggerated level of greeting that can be observed in some dogs is likely due to the fact that they have not yet learned to accept the possibility of non-voluntary detachment.”
Well, we certainly hate to leave them. But we always love to come home to them, the way they love us to come home to them.
Another reason for this excitement is curiosity, hypothesizes neuroscientist Gregory Berns.
“When they jump up, they’re trying to lick you in the face. Part of that is a social greeting, but they’re also trying to taste and smell you to figure out where you’ve been and what you’ve done during the day. So some of it is curiosity. If I’ve been with other dogs, for instance, my dogs know it, and they resort to sniffing intensely.”
I’m just glad their biological drives are so darn cute!
Featured Image: @ilovetobamom/YouTube