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Dogs Have a Directional Poopy Preference
By Melissa Turner
Anyone who walks his or her dog every day knows the joy of accomplishment after shivering in the cold, waiting in the rain or baking in the hot sun while Max or Mindy finds just the right spot to take care of business. Just in case any of these poor souls thought the beloved pet was being difficult, recent studies have shown that just the right place for making poopy is not only important, but extremely compelling to the pooch. As it turns out, dogs may need to align their back ends with the earth’s gravitational pull to get the best results.
Although more studies may be needed—if anyone is so inclined—a team of German and Czech scientists watched and studied dogs pooping for two years. The scientists discovered that dogs actually prefer to line up their butts in a north and south direction rather than facing east and west. It seems dogs can sense even a small variation in the planet’s magnetic field, and when earth’s electromagnetic pull is calm, dogs will line their backsides in a north-south direction and actually avoid an east-west position.
Even though the scientists spent considerable time studying how they poop, they did not discover why dogs prefer the north and south direction. Still to be determined is whether they are conscious of the magnetic field, if they know by sensory perception, or if it just feels more comfortable when aligned within a certain direction. It remains a mystery if dogs smell, hear or see the magnetic direction or if some other factor is involved.
Many people have read or heard about accounts of dogs finding their way home over many miles after having been lost or abandoned. All of this points to their amazing navigational ability. In other words, they are living, breathing four-legged compasses. This fact was confirmed by the poopy study led by German zoologist, Hynek Burda, of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
The scientific team studied 70 dogs from 37 different breeds for a two-year period. As they watched the dogs they factored in the position of the sun, the time of day, direction of the wind and the variations of the earth’s magnetic field. They concluded that on some level, dogs are aware of the directional pull of the earth’s magnetic force, and this causes them to prefer a north-south direction for taking care of business.
For some, dogs having a sixth sense in certain areas is no surprise. Others cannot fathom why they should care, and think such studies just waste time and money. In actuality, this is valuable research as scientists are just beginning to learn animals’ roles on the planet and how it affects or helps humans. For instance, underneath the admiration or disdain for such studies lies the discovery of dogs’ abilities to assist humans with their extraordinary sense of smell that can detect anything from an impending seizure to dangerous blood sugar levels, presence of allergens or cancer too small to be found by medical means. Many of these fantastic abilities were discovered and proven by scientific studies.
So next time your canine friend and companion turns around and around in a circle to find a place for pee-pee or poopy, while you wait, instead of hurrying or criticizing your pooch, consider yourself honored to be taught something about lining up with the planet and going with the flow—so to speak.