As a human it seems like second nature to recognize ourselves in the mirror. Sometimes it even seems like we are all a little too obsessed with our reflection. But, did you know that we weren’t born with that ability?

When we were very little, we began to acquire self awareness as part of our cognitive growth. Probably around 18 or 24 months, we were able to recognize ourselves as an individual distinct from the environment and others. As part of this process, we became able to identify our reflection in a mirror as our own.

Since this week’s 52 Snapshots of Life theme is the MIRROR, I started thinking about how dogs react to their reflection.

52 Snapshots of Life: MIRROR - Luna looks in the mirror

Young dogs may think their reflection is another dog and bark or bow to invite play. Other dogs may not react at all when they see their reflection. Either way dogs seem to typically fail a traditional Mirror Test.

Does that mean that dogs don’t have self awareness? Or maybe dogs just aren’t as concerned with their appearance as humans are?

Unlike humans, dogs don’t rely as heavily on sight. Their most important senses are smell and sound. In fact, these are the senses dogs primarily use to recognize people and other dogs, so maybe that is why they fail the test. Unfortunately at this point, there have been no conclusive tests with these senses to determine if dogs truly have self awareness.

52 Snapshots of Life: MIRROR - Luna looks in the mirror

What do you think? Is your dog self aware?

If you’d like to see more photos from our 52 Snapshots of Life Photo Challenge, you can view them all over in my Flickr 52 Snapshots of Life photo album.

Don’t forget to visit last week’s post on LOVE and Luna and come back next week to see how Luna looks in PURPLE.

You can also check out other snapshots from this week by clicking below!

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Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman is a bargain hunter, food lover, and software engineer figuring out how to be a pet parent for the first time. Jessica has been a long time lover of all animals (especially llamas and manatees) and is happy that she can finally combine that love with technology.
Jessica Shipman
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