This needs a little setup . . .
I used to take Lightning on weekend mornings to the Irvine Dog Park, then afterward to the Starbucks drive-thru, where I’d get a beverage and he’d get a pup cup (a cup of whipped cream).
He loves Starbucks. He used to get super animated from the time he saw we were turning left on Irvine Center Drive (toward Starbucks) to the time he actually got the pup cup at the drive-thru window.
He also knows the words “Starbucks” and “pup cup”:
He’s too old to enjoy the dog park now — he doesn’t walk well and he can’t see — so I walk to Starbucks myself on the weekends and bring the pup cups home for him.
Today I took him to the Starbucks drive-thru, just like old times, and he got super excited again when we got there, just like old times.
As I said, he can’t see, so he had no visual cues about where we were. I didn’t say the words “Starbucks” or “pup cup” to him, and he was excited long before he heard me place the order.
So how did he know?
My second-best guess is that the navigation to Starbucks is imprinted in his doggie memory. My best guess is that because the Starbucks drive-thru has a lot of foliage, it has a unique smell that he remembers.
Anyway, some non-visual cue or cues, but he was quite certain about where he was.