Look, I didn’t want or need to learn this, but what has been seen can never be unseen and now, this story from this very day in 2014 is going to reside in my brain for ever more.
First and foremost, why do we need to know? Why?
Sure. It’s very interesting and the method they used was wonderful:
Alignment of the body (along the thoracic spine) in direction towards the head (heading) was measured in freely moving dogs (i.e., not on the leash) in “open field” (on meadows, fields, in the wood etc., i.e., unconstrained, and uninfluenced by linear structures, such as walls and fences) away from the road traffic, high voltage power lines, and conspicuous steel constructions during defecation and urination, by a hand-held compass.
…but they never needed to do this study in the first place.
At no point in the future is this going to assist anyone. And don’t come with your “well, what if I’m lost in the Karoo with my beagle?” reasoning, because 1. just use the sun, 2. the research shows that dogs only “prefer” to align themselves to do their thing, and 3. it’s a beagle and won’t obey normal rules (or anything else) anyway.
Additionally, these observations were made under “calm conditions”.
Beagles don’t do “calm”. Beagles only have three modes: sleeping, snorfing or being mental. 95% of their time is spent in mode 1, during which time (you hope) there will be no urination or defecation events. When they are snorfing, they’re too caught up with doing that to worry about magnetoreception and magnetosensitivity. And being mental is not being calm.
But aside from anything else, I’m going to constantly be checking the alignment of my canine during its lavatorial commitments from now on. And that’s just not pleasant for either of us.
Does your dog face North-South when having a shit?
Feel very free not to let me know in the comments. Really. Just don’t. Thank you.
Here’s the full study. (Yes, I know they used two beagles – idiots.)