Do dogs recognize themselves in the mirror?


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When we place a dog in front of a mirror, some react by barking or jumping, while others seem indifferent. This leads us to wonder, do dogs see themselves in the mirror? Can my dog recognize itself in the mirror? The answer is that dogs do see themselves in the mirror, but they don’t recognize themselves.

There are two reasons for this. First, dogs lack self-awareness, much like a baby. When a baby looks in the mirror, it perceives another baby, not itself. When a dog barks and tries to interact with its own reflection, it is attempting to engage with that “other” dog it sees in the mirror.

Secondly, vision is not the primary or most developed sense in dogs. Dogs are much more effective at recognizing others and themselves through their sense of smell. This is why a male dog, in its effort to mark its territory, may urinate over the scent marks of other dogs but won’t mark where it has already urinated because it recognizes the scent as its own.

Frequently, we find that a dog may attempt to interact with the “mirror dog,” but once it realizes the reflection doesn’t smell like a dog, it loses interest and moves away.

These are the reasons why a dog can see itself in the mirror but doesn’t recognize itself. Unlike humans, a dog’s sense of smell plays a much more significant role in their lives than their sense of sight. Dog vision is different from human vision, and it often leads us to wonder if dogs can see colors or if they can watch television. You’re sure to be interested in learning more about these qualities of your furry best friend.