Sound odd? Scientists thought so as well, but the pattern is clear according to a study published by multiply scientists in Frontiers in Zoology. Scientists studied 70 dogs from over 35 different breeds, watching them relieve themselves over 7,000 times. In short, a rather thorough study.
The question, of course, is why would dogs do this? There is no clear answer. Scientists note animals have always been more attuned to the variances in the magnetic field, but there is no specific indication why dogs would try to line up with the field in such circumstances. In fact, some scientists have hypothesized that the dogs take such action without realizing they are doing so.
Before starting to follow the family pet around to see if they align to the magnetic field, it is important to understand the field is in constant flux. There is a misunderstanding that aligning with the field means to point north or south. The field is actually fluctuating roughly 80 percent of the day, so don't expect a dog to act like a compass.
Dogs are not the only animal aligning to the magnetic field. While most people are aware that birds use the field during migration, there are more readily visible examples anyone can see with a bit of driving. Cows often line up with the north-south axis when standing and grazing.
What should the average dog owner take from this study? The alignment of a pup to the magnetic field is an interesting discovery, but has little practical meaning for dogs or the owners who love them.