Conduct your own experiment with these instructions for dogs and cats that know when their owners are coming home. Watch a video about the real experiments with the dog Jaytee done by Rupert Sheldrake. For other DIY experiments see Rupert Sheldrake's book Seven Experiments That Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science.

How to Keep a Log

A person at home needs to keep a note of the time your dog or cat appears to be showing anticipatory behaviour, like going to sit and watch at the window, or waiting by the front door. It is important to rule out routine, hearing and other possible clues your pet could pick up, like someone at home saying you will be arriving soon.

You need to keep a note of the date, the time you decide to go home, your method of transport (bus, walking, car etc.), and the time you arrive, how long you’ve been out and approximate mileage. Sometimes you need to write a special note like ‘Started my journey home but then remembered I had forgotten my school bag so had to go back to school. It was noticed that Rover went to the window and then left around the same time I had to go back to school’.

So this is what your log could look like:

PET SPECIES: Dog, part golden retriever, part mongrel
NAME OF ANIMAL: Bill Gates
AGE AND SEX OF ANIMAL: seven in people years; male
NAME OF PERSON MAKING OBSERVATIONS: Lester Shoe
RELATIONSHIP TO THE PERSON TO WHOM THE ANIMAL RESPONDS: owner

DATE: Tuesday, April 16
TIME LESTER LEFT HOME: 7:32 a.m.
MODE OF TRAVEL: bike
DESTINATION AND DISTANCE: school; 3/4 mile
TIME LESTER LEFT SCHOOL: 3:01 p.m.
STOPS ALONG THE WAY: none
TIME LESTER STARTED FOR HOME: 3:01 p.m.
TIME BILL GATES SEEMED TO START WAITING OR ANTICIPATING LESTER’S ARRIVAL: Bill Gates wasn’t waiting
TIME LESTER ARRIVED HOME: 3:11 p.m.
ANY OTHER COMMENTS OR OBSERVATIONS: I realized I wasn’t very focused when thinking of home.

DATE: Wednesday, April 17
TIME LESTER LEFT HOME: 7:20 a.m.
MODE OF TRAVEL: foot
DESTINATION AND DISTANCE: school; 3/4 mile
TIME LESTER LEFT SCHOOL: 3:03 p.m.
STOPS ALONG THE WAY: none
TIME LESTER STARTED FOR HOME: 3:03 p.m.
TIME BILL GATES SEEMED TO START WAITING OR ANTICIPATING LESTER’S ARRIVAL: 3:05 p.m.
TIME LESTER ARRIVED HOME: 3:24 p.m.
ANY OTHER COMMENTS OR OBSERVATIONS: I was very precise in my intention to set out for my new home on Cape Cod.

Please send your log to Rupert Sheldrake and his assistant Pam Smart and they will suggest how you can carry your research further with filmed experiments.