It's still a mystery to scient**ists** how dogs find their way home. While homing pigeons abilities have been studied for many decades, there has been very little research on dogs' homing abilities. Of course, it is known and has been confirmed that dogs use their keen senses of smell and hearing to find their way home after they have been out roaming, but it is still not known how they find their way home from distant locations. There are some theories, though, including sixth senses, psychic powers and telepathy.
A Sixth Sense
One theory about homing ability is that dogs have a sixth sense which allows them to create a map in their mind of familiar territory, including sights, smells and sounds. This theory involves a dog using the Earth's magnetic fields as a compass to direct them home. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology demonstrated that dogs do have a magnetic sensitivity.
It has also been suggested that dogs have psychic powers that help them find their way to their owners, whether home or away. This is known as Psi trailing. Psi trailing is the ability of a pet to find his owner with no sensory clues, even when his owner is thousands of miles away. An example that dates back to the early 1920s is that of Elizabeth and Frank Brazier's dog named Bobbie. The Braziers took a trip from their hometown of Silverton, Oregon, to Indiana. Bobbie disappeared in Indiana, but returned home 2,800 miles and six months later.
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, a fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California, hypothesizes that a dog can respond to his owner's intentions and thoughts telepathically. A dog Sheldrake was studying would go to a particular window every day to wait for his owner's return at about the same time his owner left work. This held true even when his owner left work at random times. If telepathic communication is possible between owners and their dogs, it is possible that an owner could send his dog a message directing him home.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes the existence and importance of the human-animal bond that has existed for centuries. An example of the human-animal bond is that dogs and their owners hearts beat in sync and follow the same rhythms when they are together. Another theory about a dog's homing ability is that distance can throw the rhythm between a dog and his owner out of balance, and a dog will hone in on his owner's location to restore the balance.