|Who's that doggie?|
When Django was still young, every now and then, she would wake up, stand, and start barking in the middle of the night and I couldn’t figure out why. Then one afternoon, I heard her barking her head off when I was downstairs and she was upstairs. A quick look in my room and I saw her losing her mind and barking at the dog in the mirror…herself.
It was funny and endearing. I showed her my hand petting her head but she just would not have it and was convinced that the dog she saw was a stranger, and thus needed to defend herself…against, herself.
It became a regular occurrence around the house. If we heard her barking upstairs, we knew she was staring at herself. Yet her barks are loud and I soon began to close the door so she wouldn’t have the mid-afternoon showdown with her ego. Only now, two years later, did I learn of why she did that.
Why dogs bark at their own image
Dr. Marty Becker, over at Vetstreet says, the “mirror test is considered an important evaluation of self-awareness in animals and a sign of the normal development of cognitive skills in children.”
When a young dog first sees their image in the mirror, they often react as if a strange animal suddenly appeared. But when the image doesn’t pass the “sniff test,” the pet generally decides to ignore it for good.
Humans are believed to be about 18 months old before they can recognize themselves in the mirror. It seems that dogs might be around the same age.
I noticed just the other day that she no longer barks at herself in the mirror anymore and she just turned two. In fact, I caught her admiring herself in the mirror last week…and no barks at all.