This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Location, location, location: New study sheds light on why dogs spend so much time trying to find the perfect place to potty

I joke that much of my time is spent not walking with dogs, but waiting for them.

Although a big part if what I do is geared to my canine charges out for a good romp in the outdoors for exercise, the all-important potty break is vital. That said, I need to pay attention to answer the questions like 'Will they go? Did they? Was it "productive"??' Knowing the answers helps me keep tabs on how a pet is feeling.

For some dogs, finding just the right spot to relieve themselves seems to be a challenge, others get down to business with lightning speed (this past week the cold made it even more challenging for any of them at best). As the one on the other end of the leash, I've developed an insane amount of patience when a pooch is trying to find just the right spot.

A new study may explain at least part of the process, and while it may be a bit unbelievable to some, it may be a lightbulb moment for those who have spent enough time in the elements waiting for their four-legged buddy to finish up their business.

The way that a dog decides to relieve itself may have more to do than changes in the weather, like temperature variances, rain, snow. The Earth’s magnetic field may be at the root.

A team of researchers spent two years tracking the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs as they defecated (1,893 times) and urinated (no surprise, a total of 5,582 times), and many breeds were included in the study.

The discovery: dogs prefer to potty with their body aligned the north-south, indicating clearly for the first time that magnetic sensitivity exists in canines.

The phenomenon isn't static, and that aspect made the initial data seem ambiguous.

But, when researchers reassessed the data and took things into consideration, like the time of day or during a magnetic storm (both affect the Earth's magnetic field), the findings became more clear.

(Fast fact: the Earth's magnetic field experiences longer periods of stability during the nighttime hours.)

Wild creatures like wolves, red foxes, coyotes have superb homing abilities because of the magnetoreception, so it might be safe to say that dogs also express magnetic alignment in other ways than what was observed in the study, too.

No word on whether or not felines share their canine counterpart's habit of aligning in a north-south fashion, and it's likely that we never will. They demand their privacy.

Click here to read more on study in the science journal Frontiers in Zoology.

Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!