Archives for the day Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Why do dogs circle before going to potty Part 2

 In the previous entry titled “Why do dogs circle before going to potty?“,I wrote that there are a few theories behind it.

Palette 3 months old with pee pad dress (unused) ..

 If you have missed the entries, here are a few theories behind it.

1. Dogs stomp the grass to have perfect flat potty spot

2. Dogs circle left and right to be able to spot any predators and make sure the spot is safe to potty

3. By circling, leaving their scent from foot ( dogs have scent gland on foot and anus)

 Palette does her circling things every time we take her out for potty. First, she sniffs on the ground and moves on to walk to left,walk to right and back and forth for a couple of times, and then, the distance between the turn gets shorter,shorter as she does that and eventually, it becomes tight circle and she goes right,left,right left and then finally squat to pee or poo.

 If anything interrupted her circling. she has to start over from the scratch and I never understood why she had to do it all over again.

 Just recently, I came across quite interesting article on the very topic about dog’s circling behavior and magnetic sense and, it was the article looking into this dog’s unique behavior from more scientific point of view.

 If you were asked to name an animal that uses magnetic sense,you would soon imagine birds that immigrate from north to south,south to north but you would not have thought of dogs could be one of those animals.

 I thought it was interesting article.

 According to Ellen at dogsheir website, dogs go potty facing toward certain direction based upon Earth’s magnetic field.

 A team of scientists from Czech University of Life science and the University of Duisburg -Essen took several years to study on this very behavior from scientific point of view.

 They observed that the dogs preferred to poop with their body aligned along the North-South axis under calm magnetic field condition, although when the magnetic field was unstable, the dogs did not care which way to face to potty.

 Interesting thing is that, the scientists found out that the dogs tend to avoid to go to potty East-West directions.

 This study was done by measuring the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs,37 breeds, and they observed 1,893 potty #2 , and 5,892 potty #1 times over 2 years.

 Then, they looked at the data along with geomagnetic conditions.

 The scientists concluded that dog’s pooping behavior was predictable based on magnetic fluctuations, although they are still not sure why the dogs prefer to aligned along with Earth’s magnetic field when they go for potty.

 If the dogs has preferred direction to go to potty using magnetic field then, another theory as to why dogs do circle before potty can be added as “Dog circles trying to find and aligned along with the North-South axis using the magnetic field.”

 This also could mean that if the dog got interrupted the circling behavior, they might loose the sense of magnetic field and they have to do the circling all over again to be accurate.

 Now and then, you would hear the dogs came home from far far away from home and scientists thinks that the dogs have orientation ability just like their ancestor “wolf” has, and the reason why they can come home far away from home on their own is that they might be using magnetoreception; sense to detect the magnetic field to perceive the direction,altitude,and location.

 Isn’t it interesting?

 To read Ellen’s full article, please click here.

 To read the study published in Frontiers in Zoology,please click here.

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Mar 05, 2014 | Comments are off | Uncategorized