Yes, you heard it right – dogs align their furry little selves to the Earth’s magnetic field (MF) when they do the necessary. Do you think maybe that’s why they sometimes do crazy little circles before adopting the pose to poo?
If you are wondering who came to this fascinating conclusion, a team of researchers from the Department of Game Management and Wildlife Biology at the Czech University of Life Sciences working together with the zoology department at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany have been doing a little testing.
They took 70 dogs, from 37 varied breeds, and observed them doing their duties. Over a period of two years, they watched the dogs go number two a total of 1,893 times. They also observed them doing the good old number one 5,582 times.
From these observations, it was established that dogs prefer to excrete with their bodies aligned along the North-South axis, when MF conditions are calm.
Mind you, according to Vlastimil Hart, one of the researchers, not only to they prefer the North-South direction, but they also actively avoid using the East-West direction.
According to the paper, which has been published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, this recorded behavior did not happen under unstable conditions. The paper also says that why it actually happens is a mystery.
An extract from the paper reads:
“It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align at all, whether they do it ‘consciously’ … or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level (they ‘feel better/more comfortable or worse/less comfortable’ in a certain direction).”
According to the researchers they apparently found no differences in the alignment between males and females when defecating. They also observed females during urination, as that pose may also be related to that of defecation in both sexes.
The preference of the North-South axis was mainly observed when the magnetic field was calm. Reportedly when the field is thrown out by something along the lines of a solar flare, dogs did not necessarily stick to their normal preference. That could quite possibly be what causes Fido to really do the circling thing before producing the pile.
While this is the first time that sensitivity to the magnetic field has been proven in canines, there are several other animal species sensitive to the magnetic field, according to researchers. These apparently include cattle, deer and foxes. In fact, the researchers were apparently inspired to start their study by the previous observations of other animals.
In the paper it mentions that the discovery of magnetoreception in dogs is likely to open totally new horizons for magnetobiological research. The researchers say that as dogs are widely available globally, and are easily trained to react to particular sensory stimuli, this makes them readily useful for research.
So when Fido is nearly driving you round the bend trying to find the perfect spot to “christen” with his precious poo, bear in mind that he might just be having a problem lining himself up correctly. So now you know, dogs do their poo in line with the earth’s magnetic field. Just imagine what else we can learn in 2014.
By Anne Sewell