Dogs are man’s best friends, but when we may think that our four-legged friends depend on us a lot, they have some human dream of ability. First, their sense of smell is much more sensitive than our humans, their vision can detect even the most subtle movements, and, as a new study suggests, they seem to connect with the Earth’s magnetic field, which allows them to find shortcuts when traveling.
Dogs seem to have the ability to navigate to the target by opening new paths that are more effective than they already know. This suggests an ability based on the direction and position already the inside compass, and the details so far are not clear.
As part of the study, the team used GPS to track the dog’s behavior when taking it on a tour of a forested area. By mapping the behavior of dogs on their own, the researchers came up with three types of exploratory behavior.
The “tracking” behavior is characterized by the animal returning to its origin along the same path as on the first adventure. That’s what typical humans do, they open up a path and then use it to find their way back without getting lost.
Another behavior, known as “reconnaissance,” reveals that dogs can first blindly travel to a forest, reach the turning point they decide to return, and then take a completely different path back to the same place where they started. The researchers also observed a combination of the two techniques in which dogs track their route backwards before breaking into a new, more efficient route to reach their destination.
The team recruited 27 hounds for experiments and conducted more than 600 experiments to see how well dogs are able to find their own shortcuts.
“When they return to their owners (go home), the dogs either follow their travel trail (‘tracking’) or use a novel route (‘reconnaissance’),” the researchers wrote. “Most of the inbound trajectories in the reconnaissance process begin with a sprint along the north-south geomagnetic axis (about 20 meters), regardless of the actual direction of homegoing. Doing this ‘compass run’ can significantly improve the efficiency of homecoming. “