Dogs Can Sense Magnetic Fields
Many animals are theorised to be able to sense magnetic fields – a well known example being pigeons. But did you know that dogs can too? According to this study, dogs like to align themselves with the North-South axis of the Earth’s magnetic field in particular circumstances. Those circumstances, even more unusually, being when they poo! So, if you’ve ever noticed your dog trying to line themselves in the perfect spot and thought they were just doing it at random, think again. It’s far more likely that they were trying to find the right alignment with the magnetic field before relieving themselves.
Why do they do this? Well, that’s an excellent question. Unfortunately, we don’t know. We can assume that it’s not just used for lining themselves up whilst going the toilet, but other than that, we’re not sure.
Dogs Can Get Jealous Just Like People
Have you ever felt just a little bit jealous when someone you love pays attention to someone else? We may not act on it, but that little twinge of jealously is pretty common – and it’s something dogs experience too! Scholars at the University of California found that dogs displayed jealous behaviour when their owners showed affection to another dog (in this case, an animatronic one). Some snapped, and other tried to get in between it and their human.
Importantly, the study tested whether it was specifically the interaction with another dog or merely ignoring them that triggered the jealousy by also monitoring their behaviour when they were being ignored in favour of a toy or a book. Whilst some of the dogs still demanded attention when being ignored, they didn’t show the same ‘jealous’ behaviours as when it was a ‘dog’.
Their Noses Are Like Fingerprints
Just like humans have distinct fingerprint patterns that make them easy to identify, so too do dogs. Of course, it’s not really fingerprints – for them, it’s their nose-prints! This may seem like a useless bit of trivia, but it’s actually a very useful way of identifying individual dogs. The Canadian Kennel Club uses nose-prints as a proof of identity, and has done since the 1930s.
Whilst microchips are more commonly used – and indeed, we recommend making sure your dog is microchipped! – it is possible to use the nose-print to identify your dog. There’s no central database with the prints, like with microchips, but it’s definitely possible.
They Can’t See The Colour Red
It’s commonly thought that dogs are colour-blind, or see in black and white, but that’s not quite the case. Eyes contain photoreceptors – rods and cones. Human eyes have more cones, and dogs eyes have more rods. They’re also missing something else that our eyes have – fovea, responsible for sharp details. This means that compared to us, they see much better in the dark and can track movement far more efficiently. However, they can’t see as many colours as we do, and most objects appeared less detailed to them.
One of the main colours they can’t see like we do is red. Reds, greens and oranges appear closer to yellow and blue to them, with their main colour field being yellows, violets, and blues.
Puppies Have Heat Sensors in Their Noses
When puppies are born they can’t see or hear, but they can still find their mother. We may assume that’s because they can smell them, but it’s not just that. Research suggests that puppies have heat sensors in their nostril slits, and these sensors can detect infrared energy – basically, they can use them to follow the heat coming from their mother. As the puppies age, they lose these heat sensors in favour of sight or smell, but for those first few weeks they’re absolutely vital to staying close to their mother and being able to feed.