I recently stumbled upon an article which described the scientific finding that dogs align their bodies in a north/south orientation while pooping. This illustrates yet another instance of why being a scientist isn’t all that glamorous. On a side note, I conducted a brief poll at a rest stop on the southbound side of the New Jersey Turnpike which revealed that the majority of people surveyed had no idea which way was south. On a possibly related issue, most of them could not speak English, so they may not have understood the question.
Mocking people in lab coats and those who speak foreign languages is all well and good, but the bigger point here is that dogs know more than they’ve been letting on. This confirms the suspicions many of us have long held about our canine friends. I looked at my dog lying nearby on the kitchen floor as she tried in vain to look simple-minded and innocent. At first, I was tempted to grill her about a certain missing shoe and the mysterious stain on the carpet in the upstairs hallway, but I decided to play it cool and watch her closely instead.
After hours of careful observation, I’ve come to some startling conclusions about other secrets of dog behavior.
Turning around three times before lying down – This odd ritual was long believed to be carried over from the days when dogs slept outdoors and needed to trample down grass to make a bed for themselves. In fact, this is the dogs’ method for winding themselves up for chasing their tails at some later point. My study showed that my dog turns around slowly 2.7 counter-clockwise rotations each time she lays down. She will then chase her tail rapidly in a clockwise direction once every few days. Once the tail is caught and chewed, or the dog runs out of stored spin-energy, it’s time for a nap, which will require 2.7 rotations and the cycle can repeat itself. The rotational directions may be reversed south of the equator.
Licking their genitals – Contrary to conventional beliefs, this practice has no correlation to hygiene. Nor is it, as pundits point out “because they can”. Dogs lick their not-so-private parts for the nutritional value. Before any of you health nuts get any ideas, it’s not nutritional for humans. Stick with your kale salads and protein shakes, you sickos!
Walking on four legs – Dogs are effected more than humans by the earth’s gravitational pull. In addition, their low position gives them unparalleled access to lost tennis balls and food dropped by toddlers.
Sniffing each other’s butts – This is not the dog’s version of a handshake which many have supposed. Seriously? We humans are pretty full of ourselves to just assign our own odd customs to what dogs do. In fact the sniffing of butts is the dog’s way of checking one more place for that missing tennis ball.
Barking at the mailman – Dogs were Tea Party members long before the thought ever occurred to Sarah Palin. Dogs have a deep distrust of the government inserting itself into our private lives six days a week bringing us “mail”. There are even dogs working undercover in the military and police organizations around the world. The original undercover operatives were Dalmations, who pretended to be the loyal sidekicks of firefighters as they gathered important information about batch cooking and the mystery of why man would slide down a pole when there are stairs available.
Rolling in dead animals – A highly spiritual event, the dog is attempting to bond with the departed life-force of the creature in an effort to understand the meaning of his or her existence.
Dragging their butts on the floor – Spring is coming – it’s time to fertilize the carpet.
Kicking their legs when being scratched – Dogs get a great deal of pleasure from having their bellies scratched. They have learned that we humans have short attention spans, particularly when providing happiness to any creature other than ourselves. Dogs added the leg kicking as a clever way to amuse us, thereby prolonging their belly scratches. On a related topic, they also figured out that licking their chops to excess will often result in them getting more peanut butter smeared on the roofs of their mouths.
Being surprised by the sound of their own flatulence – This is another classic example of human misinterpretation. The dogs’ sudden attention to their own rear ends is not surprise, but careful listening. The sound of a dog’s fart is actually telling the animal secret clues about the planned take-over of the planet – usually the farts are silent for the sake of secrecy.
I encourage you gentle reader, to take a good long look at man’s best friend and see for yourself. The take-over could happen any day, we’ve got to spread the word before it’s too late. On second thought, after checking recent headlines, I’m thinking that dogs taking over the planet may not be such a bad thing after all.