Corgi Puppy Sees A Mirror For The First Time (VIDEO)

When people look into a mirror they are aware that it is a reflection of themselves, however they are often puzzled by the fact that dogs seem to ignore images of themselves reflected in a mirror. Sometimes young puppies encountering mirrors for the first time will treat the image as if it is another dog (see video below of corgi puppy seeing himself for the first time). They may bark at it, or give a little bow and an invitation to play as if they are encountering a real dog and engaging in a social interaction but they soon lose interest. Afterwards they often seem to treat their reflections as if they were of no consequence at all.

But when we humans look into a mirror it seems so natural that we tend not to think about it as something special. However according to psychologists this is a major mental feat because it requires self-awareness, which is one of the most sophisticated aspects of consciousness. To recognize ourselves in a mirror, we must be able to mentally step outside of ourselves and consider ourselves as separate entities from the rest of the world.

Humans however are not born with the ability to recognize themselves in mirrors. Young infants are often fascinated by their reflection, but they are reacting with what appears to be another baby. Somewhere between the age of 18 and 24 months babies begin to understand that they are looking at themselves in a mirror.

According to University of Colorado biologist Marc Bekoff, dogs are considerably less affected by visual events than are humans. The most important sense for dogs is not sight, as in primates, but rather smell. Dogs certainly seem to recognize the scent of familiar dogs and people. If they have a sense of self then perhaps instead of asking them to recognize their own reflection we should ask them to recognize their own scent.

Bekoff concluded that dogs do have some of the same aspects of self-awareness that humans have. According to him they have a sense of "body-ness" which is the feeling of possessing one's own body and owning the parts of his body, such as "my paw" or "my face". Dogs also have a sense of "mine-ness" which is the sense of what belongs to himself and what belongs to others such as "my bone" or "my territory".

But Bekoff was not able to establish whether dogs have a sense of "I-ness," such as I am me and You are you. The experimental test for that quality of self-awareness in dogs does not yet seem to have been worked out yet. But using a mirror clearly won't work since reflected images have no scent and therefore are not real or important enough in the mind of a dog to garner their attention.

VIDEO Corgi puppy sees a mirror for the first time

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