Why Your Dog Prefers Digging Its Bed Before Naptime And How To Stop It
I think we can all agree that dog behavior is peculiar and unusual to us as humans!
Have you spotted your dog digging or scratching its bed to find a perfect spot to sleep? Or, you might have seen your canine friend scratching the ground after going to the bathroom. Another common ritual is when a dog spins in circles before lying down.
Well, all these unique habits have logical explanations. In this post, we’ll tell you why dogs dig in their beds and how to stop it. Without further delay, let’s dive in.
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Where Did The Habit Originate From?
This behavior is known as Denning. While some Pet owners may assume that their dog is misbehaving by digging its bed, it mainly occurs due to natural instinct.
Before dogs were domesticated animals, they were wild animals. That’s where they adapted this habit, and their main aim was to survive in the wild. One of the key components to survival is shelter.
Without a safe and comfortable shelter, animals in the wild fall prey to predators. During those days, dogs would dig shallow holes in the ground to protect themselves from predators and harsh climate conditions such as the cold or heat.
Such ancient habits are hard to out-train since they reflect what dogs used to do before they were domesticated. Currently, wild dogs and wolves still do this to ensure they feel safe and comfortable in their Shelters.
Even though most species of dogs are currently domesticated, oftentimes, they’ll dig to determine whether they are laying in a comfortable spot.
Why Your Dog Digs In Its bed
By following its natural instincts, your dog will dig its bed due to the following reasons:
To enhance comfort
As humans, we tend to rearrange our pillows before sleeping to enhance comfort. Also, dogs will dig in their beds to find a suitable spot to nap. It’s a habit dogs picked up before domestication.
Furthermore, what’s more comfortable than a soft hollow to lie on? Typically, that’s what dogs prefer and associate with comfort.
To Adjust The Temperature
Admit it! At night, you tend to flip your pillow as many times as possible to regulate temperature especially when it’s hot outside. The cooler side of the pillow allows you to sleep peacefully throughout the night.
Dogs also dig in their beds to regulate temperature depending on the season. For instance, they will dig a shallow, and comfortable hole to protect themselves from heat.
On the other hand, a dog will dig in their beds to find a cosy and warm spot to rest. Dogs have done this ritual before they were domesticated, they dug holes in the ground and placed leaves underneath to ensure they regulated the temperature in their shelter regardless of the climate.
Before dogs were domesticated, they lived in the wild and fear was a common feeling due to constantly having to protect themselves from predators. They had to trust their instincts to find a way to prevent a problem before it happened.
Well, even though dogs aren’t wild animals nowadays, anxiety comes into play due to their natural ancestral instincts. Regardless of the fact that your dog isn’t in danger, they may still dig their beds to feel safe from danger since due to their instincts.
On the other hand, if digging is becoming too excessive due to nervousness, it can be a problem. Have you made changes in your life? Is your dog scared of pesky dogs in the neighborhood ? You need to figure out what the issue is to be able to fix it. Or, you can consult your Vet to determine the problem and provide an accurate diagnosis.
To mark Their Territory
Dogs are territorial creatures like their relatives, wolves and foxes. Since a dog has scent glands that can be found at the bottom of their feet, they’ll scratch their bed to mark their territory.
If you want to determine whether this is the reason why your dog scratches its bed, figure out whether there is a new pet or baby in the house. Dogs are competitive creatures and they will always fight for what they consider “theirs”.
Most of these reasons reflect on ancient dog habits and this is one of them. To survive in the wild, dogs would flatten grass at the spot they chose to build a shelter. Next, they would dig a shallow hole to trick their prey or predators.
Sometimes, you may notice this behavior in the garden or fields. Well, even though it’s not necessary since dogs are currently domesticated, they still do it in bed since natural instincts come into play.
Dogs love to investigate. This is because they also like hiding their treasures. If your dog digs in their bed, they might be trying to hide toys, or treats they are saving for later. On the flip side, your furry friend could be looking for his hidden treasures because he wants to enjoy them.
This behavior is normal but it can be a nuisance if your dog steals your items and constantly hides them where you can’t find them. Be on the lookout and observe your dog’s behavior to ensure he or she is not taking it too far.
Expectant moms making room for their puppies
If your dog is pregnant, it might dig in its bed to create a comfortable nest for its puppies once they arrive. Also, if your pregnant dog does this, it might be close to giving birth. Therefore, you need to be alert when that happens.
How To Get Rid Of The Behavior
While most of these habits occur due to natural instincts and can’t be easily out-trained, you can try these tips:
Provide Your Dog With Good Bedding And Blankets
High-quality bedding and blankets allows your dog to remain comfortable throughout the night. This reduces the need to scratch or dig in beds. Adding more blankets to your dog’s bed is a good idea since it allows your canine friend to burrow easily, enhancing comfort.
Furthermore, investing in a high value bed is essential. That way, you won’t have to replace the bed every now and then when your dog scratches it since it can last long despite the digging.
Don’t Wash Your Dog’s Bedding
If you suspect that your dog is scratching its bed since it wants to mark its territory, avoid washing his bedding since it will scratch the bed more often to leave its scent.
Also, if there’s a new pet in the house, you can ensure both dogs have access to different sleeping resources since it reduces tension and the need to mark one's territory.
Trim your Dog’s nails
If your dog is constantly scratching its bed, you can give your canine friend regular manicures! Short nails reduce the damage caused during denning. Trimming your dog’s nails once every 3 to 4 weeks offers numerous benefits.
For instance, it prevents diseases, potential furniture scratches, and floor damage.
You can file your dog’s nails to prevent the edges from developing.
Look For Other Stimulating Activities
If your dog scratches your bed too often. Then, perhaps you need to find new stimulating activities they can engage in. You can take long walks with your furry friend or you can give them interactive toys to relax their minds.
Long lasting chews are also a good idea and teaching your puppy a new trick can keep them invested in something new and slowly by slowly they might abandon digging their beds.
Allow Your Dog to Keep Digging by Providing another Spot
No matter how hard you try to stop your dog from digging, some dogs can’t be out-trained since instincts play a huge role. Alternatively, you can provide your dog a place to dig.
To ensure your dog uses that specific spot to dig, you need to supervise it and whenever it tries to dig somewhere else, discourage and redirect it to its digging space.
Also, whenever your dog makes positive steps, praise or reward it by offering treats and toys.
Observe the temperature
If your dog digs its bed during the hot climate, you can provide a fan or air conditioner in its room. On the other hand, if it’s the cold season, you can provide a heater. This can drastically reduce your dog’s need to dig its bed to regulate temperature.
Consult a Professional
If the digging is becoming too excessive, you can consult your Vet since he or she can provide an accurate diagnosis to fix the problem permanently. At times, your dog might be feeling anxious and your Vet can prescribe anti-anxiety medication to get rid of the issue.
Most of the time, when your dog digs in its bed, it’s not a cause for concern since it’s not a behavioral matter. Furthermore, dogs primarily dig in their bed to enhance comfort. We hope our comprehensive guide was sufficient in informing you about this topic.