I've always asked myself this question: Do pets recognize themselves in portraits, or in the mirror? can they recognize their image?
But why does this question cross my mind?
I'll make a confession to you, I hope I'm not the only one doing this…
But every time I took photographs to Argos, or finished painting a personalized portrait of him on canvas... I showed it to him and exclaimed: "Look at Argo, how beautiful you are here, do you like it?"
And he, all happy and wagging his tail, looked at me questioningly as if to exclaim: "Yes, ok, but what's going on? What is that thing you did?…cookie?”
(Please tell me that every time you take pictures you also show them to your pet!).
In this regard, returning to the question: Do pets recognize themselves in portraits? do they recognize their image?
I want to try to answer you in this article.
Can dogs See themselves In the Mirror?
Have you ever seen videos of cats and dogs in front of the mirror? How funny are their reactions!
I still remember Argo's first times in the mirror… He saw his reflection and ran away scared barking, but at the same time curious to find out who the stranger in the house was.
I laughed a lot!
As you well know, we can't ask our pets if they recognize themselves in a portrait or if they recognize their own image... But from the scenes that Argo did as a puppy in front of the mirror, it really seemed that he didn't recognize himself.
This deduction of mine is then confirmed by reading an interesting article on Earth.com which states that in a study conducted by the Eötvös Loránd University, experts have found that dogs do not show recognition in the mirror.
But why don't they recognize themselves?
When we humans look in the mirror, we immediately recognize that the image we are looking at is our own. It feels so natural that we tend not to think it is anything special. For us it is very normal.
Young puppies meeting mirrors for the first time may treat the image as if it were another dog. They might bark or give a small bow and an invitation to play as if they were meeting a real dog and engaging in social interaction.
So our pets, especially dogs, recognize their reflection as adults, but ignore it because they are not aware of their own "Me". To make you understand better they do not have self-awareness.
Are dogs Self aware?
I don't know if it happened to you too... But if you have a small beast of 20 kg or more at home as a furry child, this thing could have happened to you too...
Argo wasn't very familiar with his "body weight". Even with 30 kg of weight, he thought he was a big puppy and wanted to be held.
Our puppies sometimes like to jump on new people, unaware of their strength, and many big dogs insist on being lap dogs well beyond the puppy stage.
Still quoting the study reported in the previous paragraph, although dogs cannot identify themselves in the mirror, they can however recognize their own smell better than us, or remember specific moments.
When you open a box of cookies, how many nanoseconds does it take for it to recognize that you're unwrapping something good to eat?
Or as I quote in the article about your pet's favorite toy: Dogs get attached to old and ugly toys and refuse to play with new ones… why?
Besides because they have their smell on them, also because we have been fond of that game since we were little… Maybe it could be the first game they received from you…
A Custom Portrait to Manifestation of unconditional Love
In short, even if your pet won't be able to recognize himself in his custom portrait, having his portrait is a manifestation of unconditional love towards him.
When you love your pet, you want to show your love in any way possible. Even if your furry pup struggles to recognize himself, he knows that what you do for him is because you love him more than anything in the world.
Not sure? Just look into his eyes to understand how much love he has for you.
I'm waiting for you and I can't wait to portray your sweet puppy.