Dogs spontaneously and naturally align themselves with the earth's magnetic field when they do their business in a preferred north-south direction, according to a new study.
Biologists from the Czech Republic and Germany studied the way 70 dogs (42 females and 28 males across 37 breeds) relieved themselves for two years in an open field without being leashed. Based on observing more than 7,000 bathroom breaks, they claim that the canines like the north-south axis because they are attuned to our planet's magnetic field. On the other hand (or paw), the animals avoided doing their business in an east-west direction. The orientation of the dogs' bodies was measured as a compass direction of the thoracic spine.
According to the findings published in Frontiers of Zoology, "Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North–South axis under calm [magnetic field] conditions." The authors claim that this study establishes magnetic density in dogs for the first time and that further biomagnetic research might establish that the earth's magnetic field has a greater impact on behavior than originally thought.
Minor instability in the magnetic field threw the pooches off of their pooping pattern, however.
The researchers admitted that they are not entirely sure why this occurs, however. "It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align at all,whether they do it.consciously. (i.e., whether the magnetic field is sensorial perceived (the dogs 'see','hear' or 'smell' the compass direction or perceive it as a haptic stimulus) or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level (they 'feel better/more comfortable or worse/less comfortable' in a certain direction). Our analysis of the raw data... indicates that dogs not only prefer N-S direction, but at the same time they also avoid E-W direction."
Do you think that this study holds water, as it were, or does it "stink"? Have you noticed your own dog consistently pooping or peeing in the same direction?
[thumbnail image credit: Stefano]