I was just going to get some casual shots of the BCs lying in the sun, when I noticed a trend. Here’s the first photo:
Followed by the next two:
Can’t miss it, can you? No matter what I did, clicking or smooching or waving my fingers, Maggie would not look at the camera lens. And no wonder. Here I was, down on my knees at eye level, with this huge, round, black eye staring straight at her. She’s much softer than Willie, and easily intimidated, and that flat, black eye-like shape was just too much for her.
I’ve seen this repeatedly over the years, and always assumed it related to dogs perceiving camera lenses as the black, dilated pupils of another animal. Dilated pupils are signs of arousal, and we all know that direct stares can be intimidating. Dogs don’t have to believe that a camera lens is really the eye of another dog, any more than we believe that a smiley face is a person–and yet still react to it with a smile of our own.
Responses to “false eyes” have interested ethologists for decades. Eye spots are seen on a large range of animals, from frogs like the one below to butterflies and caterpillars. FYI, the BBC has a great article on what we know, and don’t know, about the function of eye spots.
Of course, we’ll never really know how dogs perceive the big, black lenses on cameras, but keep in mind that many dogs dislike looking directly into a camera lens. It’s actually not a bad evaluation tool of a dog’s personality. Notice how Willie was perfectly happy to stare straight into the lens in every photo, while Maggie, little Miss OhGodPleaseDon’tRaiseYourVoiceEvenIfYouAreHappy Dog, couldn’t bring herself to look straight ahead. Keep that in mind when you are taking photographs–I’ve found a lot of dog lovers don’t, and get more and more frustrated while their dog gets more and more intimidated during a photo shoot. (This seems especially relevant during the holidays, when so many of us want to take family pictures, dog included, of course.)
What about your dog? Oblivious to lenses like Willie, or lens aversive like Maggie?
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Can you hear our huge sigh of relief? After seven months, our major remodeling and landscaping projects are now, finally, officially done. No more massive, noisy trucks in the yard, no more obsessing over keeping the dogs safe, no more noise and dust and mud in all the wrong places. And the flower gardens, both old and new, are almost ready to put to bed. I took some photos this morning of the last of the fall color. I’m soaking up all the color I can before the grey-brown of November begins.
Our transplanted geraniums are thriving!
These asters are the last flowers blooming. Bless them.
I can’t imagine how we managed without 4-wheeler George all these years. Unless the weather turns, I’ll have all the flower gardens weeded and mulched by the weekend. Wheeeee!