Have you ever read about mirror neurons? It’s a fascinating concept. Here’s the definition from Science Daily:
A mirror neuron is a neuron which fires both when an animal performs an action and when the animal observes the same action performed by another (especially conspecific) animal…. These neurons have been observed in primates, including humans, and in some birds. –Source
So the question is: Do dogs have mirror neurons? Can they learn by watching each other? This is the subject of scrutiny. Here’s some interesting research: Dogs Catch Yawns From Their Owners.
Here’s some more interesting research:
Since we adopted Emmett six years ago, and then Lucas five years ago, the boys weren’t allowed on the bed. The rule changed last year, and Cooper made himself incredibly comfortable. As you can see from the picture above, he commandeered John’s pillow as a dog bed on top of a bed. Meanwhile, Emmett and Lucas still haven’t felt entirely comfortable jumping up on the bed since they weren’t allowed to for so long.
And then a few days later…
Clearly this wasn’t a rigorous scientific study. There was no control or any real observations other than me snapping a cell phone pic. But for so many years, neither Emmett nor Lucas made a move to get on the bed or, especially, curl up on a pillow. Even when they were allowed up they stuck to curling up at the foot of the bed. As soon as Sir Cooper made himself comfortable, all of a sudden both of the big boys tried it. Hmm…
Mirror neurons at work?
What do you think? Can you share any anecdotes about your dogs that might indicate that they have mirror neurons? Have they started doing something after watching another dog do it?
As a final thought, how cute is this?! He flipped one pillow down to make himself a little wedge to sleep in:
P.S. Don’t forget to enter to win the Citizen Canine bag by Tom Bihn. The contest closes Tuesday, July 3!