Your dog have peculiar potty behavior? Check the Earth’s magnetic field

Scientists say dogs like to face north-south direction when duty calls

Researchers say they have for the first time proven that dogs in particular are sensitive to the Earth's geomagnetic field when it comes to one of the most common of bodily functions -- pooing.

Certainly if you have a dog, you have seen the tribulations - the sniffing, shifting, spinning around -- they sometimes go through to find the perfect potty spot. Apparently though that behavior is an effort to align themselves with the Earth's magnetic field, according to a study entitled aptly: "Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth's magnetic field," published in Frontiers of Zoology.

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From the study: "Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions. This directional behavior was abolished under Unstable magnetic field. The best predictor of the behavioral switch was the rate of change in declination, i.e., polar orientation of the magnetic field."

In a nutshell, if there were calm magnetic conditions - no solar flares etc, dogs went to the bathroom easily aligning a north-south direction, if there were fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field, the dogs would get confused.  The researchers said since the magnetic field is calm in only about 20% of the daylight period it might explain why dogs have so much turmoil when deciding where to go.

The researchers from Czech University of Life Sciences and the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany said they came to their conclusions after measuring the potty direction of 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period.

Dogs aren't unique in their magnetic field behavior though, other studies have found similar behaviors in bird, fish and cattle. 

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