Some people are interested in if dogs recognize themselves in a mirror. I think this information is interesting, but I am more interested in do we recognize ourselves in a mirror?
Our dogs seem to know exactly where we stand.
Animals mirror us
This is a popular topic whenever you are working or living with an animal, especially a dog.
It is estimated dogs have evolved with humans for somewhere around 30 thousand years, and it is easy to see how dogs have grown to understand how to live with us. They can sense when we are in a bad mood, they can smell if we are sad, they can often even tell if we have been injured!
They are also entirely aware of our daily patterns and routines. This is where sometimes our dogs can give us a lot of information about ourselves.
I have worked with some dogs who try to placate their owner with crawling and sweet grins fully knowing their person will be in a bad mood when they come home from work. I really find it fascinating and refreshing to get this unbiased, and completely honest feedback from a dog.
They let us know when we are being inconsistent or slacking- you can tell because when you ask your dog to do something and they don't - you are pretty likely to be lacking consistent reinforcement. It's super frustrating, and yet I am glad I have an honest companion who keeps me on track and makes sure I reach my goals!
They help us stay present to what is happening in the moment. Your dog's not upset about your job, or that you were gone all day, they're happy you are there for them right now- and most likely ready to tell you how pleased they are to see you! If only we could greet each and every moment with this presence and utmost gratitude for one another and life itself- it's a journey but all we can do is commit to a practice that helps us achieve this.
For me it's working with dogs and horses- they keep me on track mentally, physically, and spiritually in a way that nothing else seems to compare with.
What keeps you more present, and grateful ? Please share!
It also becomes really interesting when you have a dog that lacks boundaries and find that you yourself have trouble setting consistent boundaries in your own life (am I talking about myself here?...am I still training the dog or is he training me?...oops!)
Working with animals has definitely revealed I have a weakness for letting boundaries get blurry and spill over the sides. It's hard to draw those clean-cut lines for me, but I work on it every day as best as I can and try to get 1% better everyday.
These clean, honest mirrors have been working for thousands of years to help us start living in the moment, to be more honest with ourselves, and one another.
I would love to know if an animal has revealed something about yourself to you, so please share it below! Our mindful guardians are keeping us ever mindful!