If you are lost in the woods with your dog and your compass breaks, do not despair. Wait for your dog to arch its back and poop and watch closely — Fido might be telling you which way is north. Or south.
In a study published by the journal Frontiers in Zoology, researchers found that, when the earth’s magnetic field is stable, dogs off leash prefer to poop with their bodies oriented along the north-south axis.
Scientists monitored 70 dogs of 37 breeds over a two-year period for a total of 1,893, um, “observations.” They found that “Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm [magnetic field] conditions.” The effect only holds when the earth’s magnetic field is stable, which, researchers note, is only about 20 percent of the time in daylight.
Researchers said this is the first time magnetic sensitivity was proved in dogs and the first time “a measurable, predictable behavioral reaction” to magnetic field fluctuations has been “unambiguously proven in a mammal.”
The study did not find that dogs have a preference for which direction, north or south, they prefer to point their business end when doing their business.
So yeah. Try not to break your compass still.