Is it true? Does your dog actually know the difference between north, south, east, and west? A new study suggests that dogs have a keen sense of the Earth’s magnetic field and a preference for defecating north and south. Here’s the scoop.
A team of scientists recently published a study in the Frontiers in Zoology journal. Their goal was to determine if dogs perceive the Earth’s magnetic field; and whether or not it impacted their behavior.
Based on previous observations, the scientists believed some animals not only detected magnetic field lines but aligned their bodies with them when doing certain activities. To test this further, they decided to observe dogs. Dogs were selected because of their keen homing abilities.
To investigate their hypothesis that dogs are sensitive and reactive to the Earth’s magnetic field, scientists conducted observational research. Ensuring no variables impacted the dog’s behaviors, they were put in a free-roaming environment without any obstacles — like hydrants or walls!
-1,893 dog poops
What They Found
After watching 7,475 ‘potties’, the team detected a definite trend. When there were no obstacles around, the dogs preferred to excrete facing north and south.
“We demonstrate, for the first time (a) magnetic sensitivity in dogs, (b) a measurable, predictable behavioral reaction upon natural magnetic field (MF) fluctuation in a mammal, and (c) high sensitivity to small changes in polarity, rather than in intensity, of the MF. Our findings open new horizons in magnetoreception research.”
So, the next time you let your pup out for a potty break, take note of the direction they’re facing. Whether you are in Fairfax, Virginia or Fort Worth, Texas, our bet is they will be perfectly aligned north and south!