I’ve often wondered why my dog Ace circles before he poops. He’ll go into a semi-squat, then, like a lazy Susan, make two or three revolutions before unloading.
Could it be he has an “inner compass” and is getting himself in line with the earth’s axis?
A new study suggests that canines line up along magnetic field lines to do their business. How they do that remains a mystery; why they do that perhaps an even bigger one.
Maybe they know something we don’t — we being so far removed from the natural world that we mindlessly let our toilets dictate the direction we face while defecating.
Who knows how much better off our digestive health might be, how much better aligned our chakras might be, if we all voided while facing directly north or south?
Whether there are benefits to parallel pooping — for humans or dogs — are not matters the Czech and German researchers addressed in their paper, recently published in Frontiers in Zoology.
Instead, the research focused on whether dogs – like cattle, deer and foxes – line up parallel to the earth’s axis when they defecate.
Over a two-year period, the researchers observed 70 dogs, of 37 different breeds, as they went on outings, and duly logged each urination (5,582) and defecation (1,893), as well as the direction the dogs were facing while doing the deed.
They say the results lend credence to the suggestion that dogs and other animals have some sort of internal mechanism that helps guide them in matters of pooping, and likely much more — at least when the earth’s magnetic field is stable.
The earth’s magnetic field is stable is only about 20 percent of the time during daylight, they note. But when looking only at those periods, dogs off leash seemed to prefer to poop with their bodies oriented along the north-south axis, the study said — facing either directly north or south. As for peeing, female dogs did that while aligned with the north-south axis, while male dogs preferred a northwest heading.
The researchers say that if dogs are capable of “magnetoreception,” it would open “totally new horizons for magnetobiological research.”
As for why the dogs do it in the first place, the authors said, “An answer may lie in the biological meaning of the behavior: If dogs would use a visual … magnetic map to aid general orientation in space, as has been proposed for rodents, they might have the need to center/calibrate the map now and then with regard to landmarks or a magnetic reference …We might think of this the same way as a human is stopping during a hike to read a map.”
In other words, maybe dogs use pooping as an opportunity to take stock, get their bearings, plot their next step and better understand their place in the universe.
Humans sometimes do that on the toilet, too, I’d venture, especially when they run out of magazines to read.
And while most humans don’t put much thought into what direction they’re facing during the act, or whether they’re aligned with the earth’s axis, there are some who advise taking that under consideration.
In a cursory — highly cursory — search of the Internet, we found a website called Vaastu NaresH, which suggests a water closet that faces north or south will lead to increased health and happiness. Another feng shui-related website advised one’s entire bathroom face north — not so much to align with the earth’s axis, but because that’s where the malevolent spirits are.
(I’m not sure the malevolent spirits appreciate being honored that way, whether they might prefer that you, instead of offering a full view, shut the door and turn on the exhaust fan. Then again, they are malevolent.)
As for dogs, I’ve never noticed any consistent alignment when it comes to defecating. My dog Ace seems to be an omni-directional pooper, basing his stance on whether the sun is in his eyes, whether there’s something interesting to watch off in the distance in some particular direction, how urgent the situation is, or simply what point he’s at in his urgent and dervish-like pre-poop spin when nature finally calls.
Then again, what do I know? My toilet faces southeast.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 6th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alignment, animals, axis, bathrooms, behavior, compass, defecation, direction, directional, dogs, dung shui, earth, experiment, feng shui, humans, internal, magnetic field, magnetoreception, observations, pets, poop, pooping, research, researchers, science, toileting, toilets
Are members of the paparazzi shifting their focus?
These days they seem to be shooting lower — if indeed it’s possible for them to go any lower — and focusing more and more on celebrity dogs.
It’s ridiculous, but understandable: Dogs, unlike celebrities, have to go out. Dogs, unlike celebrities, don’t object to photos being taken of them in an ungroomed state. Dogs, unlike celebrities, don’t file lawsuits.
But the even bigger reason is this: Dogs are more instinctual and spontaneous than most humans, and thus are more likely to do something outrageous — or at least something that the photographer sees as outrageous.
That, when you come right down to it, is what a paparazzo is after.
So when Amanda Seyfried’s dog, Finn, appeared to be humping another dog at the park, the image was captured and published on numerous tabloid websites (and now, for scholarly discussion purposes, on this one.)
On TMZ.com, the photo was under the headline: “AMANDA SEYFRIED’S DOG RAPES OTHER DOG.”
(Maybe dogs should file lawsuits.)
When a dog humps another dog, it’s generally not news, just as it’s generally not news — not even tabloid news — when a dog poops, pees, drools or scratches him or herself.
True enough, Anne Hathaway made the news (or at least the Huffington Post) when her dog pooped — but that was because the actress promptly packed up the poopage and placed it on the windshield of the car belonging to the photographer who was following her and Esmerelda as they went for what was supposed to be a leisurely walk.
Hathaway may have felt she’d gotten vengeance, but she actually fell straight into the trap.
A celebrity doing something outlandish makes for a much better photo than a celebrity just walking down the street.
That’s the biggest reason celebrities are stalked with cameras — either because they have just done something outrageous or embarassing, or in hopes they will, once spotting the photographer, do something outrageous or embarassing.
I, for the record, have great respect for photographers. Some of my best friends are photographers. But photographers whose sole purpose is to track down, follow and provoke celebrities are even worse than humping dogs. They are annoyances, hard to shake off and best avoided, getting their kicks, and paychecks, by exploiting other people’s fame and America’s seemingly incurable addiction to celebrity.
As the paparazzi becomes more puparazzi (or pawparazzi, your choice), a celebrity’s dog, it seems, is falling under the same category as a celebrity’s unfashionable sweat pants, overflowing bikini/Speedo, or botched plastic surgery — fair game.
And while I have no major problem with them aiming their cameras at celebrity dogs out in public, the photographers and those who publish their images ought to keep in mind that, when it comes to dogs, pooping, peeing and humping are mostly natural behaviors that – while maybe one requires some slight correcting — don’t call for felony charges or 30 days in rehab.
One of the foibles of humans is that we like to build people up and then see them get knocked down — enjoying both their rise to glory and their fall from it.
We do it all the time with members of our own species, and especially with celebrities.
Let’s not do it to our dogs.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 2nd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amanda seyfried, animals, anne hathaway, behavior, celebrities, celebrity dogs, dogs, esmerelda, ethics, finn, humping, media, outlandish, outrageous, paparazzi, pawparazzi, pets, photography, poop, pooping, press, puparazzi, rape, scandalous, tabloid
Unlike the Minnesota Twins, and all those other Major League teams that don’t generally allow dogs in the ballpark, the Minor League has a little more laid back attitude.
On top of being more likely to have “dog days,” some minor league teams actually help find dogs homes.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals showcased this seven-month-old beagle mix, named Mona, as an “Iams Adoptable Pet of the Game.” More importantly, when Mona did what comes natural on the field, everyone took it in stride.
Mona went on to find a “forever” home when she was adopted from the Springdale Animal Shelter. Her appearance also led another family who was interested in Mona — but who stood second in line — to adopt two other dogs.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoptable pet of the game, animals, ballparks, baseball, dogs, field, iams, major league, minnesota twins, minor league, mona, news, northwest arkansas naturals, ohmidog!, pets, pooping, poops, springdale animal shelter, video
My very doggie Christmas continues, with the arrival of my final holiday guest — Lucas, an old yellow Lab and my most vocal visitor yet.
Perhaps its just his Christmas spirit, but he has broken into song several times since his owner dropped him off this morning. They generally last three to four minutes, then he plops down on the floor, exhausted from all the caroling.
His barking sprees get Darcy started (Lucas is an alto, Darcy a soprano). Ace, after trying to figure out what Lucas is barking about, goes upstairs. Cheyenne, the blind dog, sits calm and trance-like in a corner, seemingly realizing that the other dogs aren’t barking at anything in particular — but just for the sake of barking.
Lucas brought a stuffed toy with him, but Darcy immediately sexually assaulted the unsuspecting Gingerbread Man, then began pulling out his cotton stuffing. He has been removed from circulation, and is listed in critical condition, pending treatment from a seamstress.
We opened stockings — Cheyenne seemed to enjoy sporting the antlers that were in hers — and chowed down on a smorgasbord of treats, maybe too many treats, as someone (and I’m not pointing any fingers) pooped on the floor.
Lucas is just a day guest, and will be picked up tonight. Darcy and Cheyenne will both be staying a few more days — so expect a few more updates on my canine Christmas.
Until then, allow me to thank my guests for making my Christmas a lot more lively; my dog for so graciously sharing his couch and home with visitors; and Febreeze for helping me mist away the lingering odors left by whoever it is that’s farting.
Thanks also to all the readers of ohmidog! Happy holidays, and best wishes to you and your dogs for a happy new year, from me and my Christmastime crew — from left to right, Darcy, Cheyenne, Ace and Lucas.
(To read all of the “Company for Christmas” series, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, barking, behavior, blind dog, boston terrier, canine, cheyenne, christmas, company, company for christmas, darcy, dogs, farting, gifts, guests, holidays, labrador retriever, lucas, multiple dogs, ohmidog!, pooping, stockings, visitors, yellow lab
It’s the “more” that seems to be bothering some people.
Artist Scott Donahue of Emeryville, Calif., was paid $196,000 by the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission to create two large statues, one at each end of the bridge. At the base of one, he attached medallions showing humans engaged in human activities, such as kite flying. At the base of the other, he attached medallions of dogs doing the things dog do.
Those, as you may have guessed by now, include dogs-a-pooping and dogs-a-humping.
Some citizens are grumbling about the taxpayer-funded artwork, the designs for which didn’t reflect the objectionable — to some — dog activities, according to a Fox News report.
Berkeley civic arts coordinator Mary Ann Marker doesn’t seem fazed.
Donahue says he stands by his work — the, uh, thrust of which is ”celebrating life’s vitality.”
“The sculpture is on the one hand serious — you’ve got these big sculptures — and on the other hand it’s playful. It’s both serious and playful simultaneously.”
The pedestrian bridge spans Interstate 80 in Berkeley, and the artwork — about 1.5 percent of the bridge’s total cost — was part of what taxpayers paid for its construction.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: art, artist, arts, artwork, berkeley, bridge, california, civic arts commission, complaint, dogs, humping, medallions, news, ohmidog!, pedestrian, playing, pooping, running, scott donahue, sniffing, statue, statues