All too often we fail to realize that other species—even those closest to us—can be downright alien in some respects, especially in terms of how they perceive the world. This is especially true of dogs: despite having been one of humanity’s closest companions for nearly 15 thousand years, the brain of
Researchers at the Companion Animal Research Lab at Azabu University in Japan have found that dogs have found a way to tap into a human bonding mechanism, specifically through the hormone ‘oxytocin’. Oxytocin is typically released when a parent gazes at a newborn infant, and with other child-rearing and group-related activities, strengthening bonds between parent and infant. In their study, the researchers also found that this hormone is also released when a human gazes into the eyes of a dog.
It has long been recognised that birds use the Earth’s magnetic field (MF) for navigational purposes, but a recent study published in Frontiers in Zoology has uncovered a rather more unexpected animal response to this enigmatic MF energy.
It transpires that, when they stoop to poop, dogs prefer to align their bodies to the north-south axis of the Earth as signified by the geomagnetic field.
What the study did not manage to determine was why dogs choose to do this, but after observing 70 dogs of different 37 breeds 1,893 times during defecation, the scientists were able to confirm with some confidence that "dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm MF conditions."
Dogs are not only considered a delicacy in Vietnam, they are slaughtered with intentional cruelty because the adrenaline this produces in the suffering animal improves the flavor. Dogs are also rare in Vietnam and must be smuggled in from other countries in an illegal trade that activists in Thailand are trying hard to stop. This is because the country where most of the smuggling originates is Thailand. Pet dogs provide the best meat and, because of their love of man, are easiest to handle. Activists believe that 98% of the animals involved are stolen pets.