Flickr / Aine D

Dogs Align With Magnetic Field When Doing Their Business

A new study says dogs prefer to align their bodies along the North-south axis when relieving themselves.

By Candice Aviles | January 2, 2014

Who knew so much thought went into using the bathroom. A new study suggests dogs may take their time finding the right spot to relieve themselves because they're busy aligning themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field. 

For two years, scientists analyzed more than 70 dogs from 37 breeds. After observing the dogs relieving themselves about 7,000 times — surely a delightful job — they noticed dogs prefer to align their bodies along the north-south axis while using the bathroom when magnetic field conditions are calm. (Via YouTube / John Scalzi, YouTube / CrazyFunnyStuffCFS)

Now before you go testing this study, a writer for CNET says the Earth’s magnetic field is only calm for about 20 percent of daylight period so don’t get your hopes up on seeing this effect yourself.

Researchers still aren’t sure why the dogs do their business by the compass.

“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).” (Via Fox News)

But the study’s findings have at least one dog owner questioning it.

ANCHOR: “I’m going to have to pay closer attention, I guess, but I’m not sure my dog follows this.”

ANCHOR: “I’m pretty sure my house must be right along that north-south axis because every dog in the neighborhood stops to do his duty on my grass.” (Via KDVR)

While the study focused on dogs, The Week reminds us plenty of other animals use the Earth’s magnetic field. Birds and sea turtles use it while traveling to navigate and cattle graze while aligned with the north-south axis.

Fox also use the magnetic field to help them hunt and locate mice buried feet beneath snow.

The study was published in the Frontiers in Zoology

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