Why Dogs Spin Before They Poop

Sorry, just looking for a place to lie down. [MUSIC] Anthony Carboni here for DNews. Dogs seemingly
need to spin before just about everything. Going to the bathroom, lying down, when they’re
excited- dogs are weird. Why are dogs weird? In terms of spinning, I mean. Circling before going to sleep might seem
weird on your couch, but in the wild, dogs would spin and trample to push down tall grasses
and underbrush, pack down snow, and drive away snakes and insects. It kept them clean,
warm, and hidden. Flattening the ground in circles could also have been a sign to other
dogs wandering by that the territory had already been claimed. Those hygiene and territorial instincts might
factor into why they spin before going to the bathroom, too- patting down underbrush
keeps the dog’s waste from sticking to it and then rubbing on their own fur. Also, patting
down the area could allow for the scents in their urine and feces to spread farther, making
it clearer what territory they marked. But there’s an even newer, weirder theory
about puppy poop spins that I am WAY more into. We’ve talked before about magnetoception,
a sense that allow some animals to feel earth’s magnetic field. Birds use it in migration,
some studies say cows use it to align themselves in a north-south pattern when they graze and
now it seems like dogs use it to poop in exactly the same direction. In a study published recently in Frontiers
in Zoology, researchers watched 70 dogs across 37 breeds for two years as they pulled off
a poop spin combo and they all prefered to poop aligned north-to-south when the earth’s
magnetic field is calm. That’s about 20 percent of the time during daylight hours. During
things like solar flares or geomagnetic storms or other events, they were less picky about
it. The researchers aren’t sure why they prefer
it- but they did note that not only do dogs prefer north-south, they actively avoid a
straight-up east/west orientation. I wonder if its some remnant of a past, stronger
sense they had. We humans have proteins in our eyes that make researchers think that
at some point in the past we could SEE earth’s magnetic field. It seems like a strong magnetic
sense would help pack animals move and hunt in some way. But why the pooping, dogs? Why
is the poop direction important? Do you guys have any theories? Spin around
three times and let me know down below. Oh, and if you’re into dogs, our friends at Animalist
News are going to the Westminster Dog Show in NYC. They’ll be there on the 10th and 11th,
so head over and subscribe now so you don’t miss it.

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