These signs don’t represent a new scientific discovery about how dogs align themselves when they poop.
If you took these “Don’t let your dog poop here” signs literally you would think that dogs just poop in a random direction.
You would be wrong.
Zoologists at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany observed 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations from 70 dogs over a two-year period. (Author’s note: I have had three dogs over the last 10 years and that number of defecations and urinations seem remarkably accurate.)
What the scientists found was that of the 37 breeds and the sorting of data according to the geomagnetic conditions prevailing during the sample period, dogs showed a preference for how their bodies aligned. The results are pretty resounding–and published in Frontiers in Zoology–so you don’t have to recreate the scientific theory yourself.
Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North–South axis under calm MF conditions. This directional behavior was abolished under unstable MF. The best predictor of the behavioural switch was the rate of change in declination, i.e., polar orientation of the MF.
Researchers have earlier studied the magnetic alignment of homing pigeons but why exactly dogs poop in the direction they do merits further study, according to the German zoologists.
Since the MF is calm in only about 20% of the daylight period, our findings might provide an explanation why many magnetoreception experiments were hardly replicable and why directional values of records in diverse observations are frequently compromised by scatter.
Scatter along now. Time to watch and observe the dogs pooping.
h/t: Frontiers in Zoology