Mirrors and dogs are a funny thing. There are dogs who never notice a mirror; for them it becomes just part of the house. Others notice occasionally and some are mystified by it. Most puppies will react when placed in front of a mirror. The big difference is how long they stay interested in it and how many times before they realize that there is really no one behind there. Luke has always been a mirror watcher; he also watches TV. Not like most dogs who glance if a dog barks; he watches full on shows and follows along. So perhaps there is a commonality between the two.
I wondered yesterday what Elsa was thinking. The fact that Luke and I were there in front of her but we were also over there in the mirror had her excited. She was excited but calm, although very interested. Luke has always been a calm watcher. If there is a mirror around he likes to check it out and I most definitely see him checking himself out regularly. Of course he is a handsome devil but he truly likes to look at himself. We use to have a dresser at the end of our bed and if you were talking to Luke on the bed he would always turn to see if you were in the mirror. He would do it several times until satisfied.
Mirrors are a funny thing as far as dogs are concerned. Even when Luke was young and very much the nervous ninny type; he never minded that we were always in the mirror. But he did love to look into it. There is never any real interaction between the person or dog in the mirror and the actual dog; only what is offered by the dog which is why puppies tend to lose interest quickly. Of course there are dogs who will always be drawn to a mirror and freak out by the presence of another dog in there. But the difference is what draws them to the mirror in the first place. There are dogs who will go to look in the mirror who are driven by an OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) type behavior. Feeling the need to check if the dog is still in there and of course they always are.
What do dogs think when they look into a mirror, see and notice themselves or someone else? I'm not sure. I know that Luke enjoys looking into the mirror and seeing himself or us as well. It does seem to make him happy as he does it when he can. It is a calm action, almost soothing to him. A new puppy seeing themselves in a mirror for the first time most definitely think that it is another dog. They display all the same behaviors as when they actually meet a new dog. Elsa seemed to be amused by our reflection yesterday. She did not look at her own; she was only watching Luke and I intently. After a few moments her emotions got the best of her and she goofed out.
As intriguing as it is for them to look into a mirror; it is equally intriguing for us to watch. Who knows what goes on in those little reflective heads but it is very interesting.