Dog owners have observed some odd behaviors among their pets — sniffing butts, eating garbage, giving unconditional love — but one habit has probably escaped their attention: Dogs apparently prefer to poop while aligned with the north-south axis of the Earth’s magnetic field.
According to a study published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Zoology’, dogs, particularly when unleashed, like to align themselves along the north-south axis when dropping their treasures. In fact, canines will actively avoid going to the bathroom in an east-west direction, the study found.
The study included 70 dogs of 37 breeds. Scientists followed the canines for two years, observing 1,893 poos and 5,582 pees. The concluded that dogs were consistently sensitive to the Earth’s magnetism and responded especially to changes in polarity. The animals behaved most predictably during times of calm magnetic fields, and were likewise more inconsistent when fields were unstable, such as during solar flares.
It is not yet known why dogs behave this way, though they are not the only animal to respond to the planet’s magnetic fields. Birds migrate along the north-south axis and salmon use magnetism to find their way back to spawning grounds.
It has yet to be explained how the scientists came upon the phenomenon as a topic for research, nor has it mentioned why anyone would want to fund such a deep investigation into the subject.