Here are a few possible explanations for why your dog digs into his bed or your couch before nuzzling down to sleep.
We’ve all been witness to it. You and the family settle down on the couch to watch a movie and get comfy. Not a minute later, you all look over t
see your dog digging and scratching into their bed with a focused look on his face. He means business, serious snuggle business. It’s hilarious to watch and rather confusing too. Why on earth do dogs carry on this way just before settling into their beds?
Understanding your dog’s roots
Although your pup may seem more domesticated than some of the children in your neighbourhood, the reality is that they have carried some traits with them from their days in the wild. Before we turned dogs into pets, they lived in the great outdoors and had to fend for themselves. One of their key survival skills was linked to building shelter (clearly pre-Snugbum days). Wild dogs would dig a little hole or nest in the ground to sleep in. This area would provide the dog with some form of shelter from elements like the wind and cold and its natural predators to an extent. Can you imagine your little fur baby trying to dig its little bed in the wild? It’s unthinkable!
Top 6 explanations for why dogs dig in their beds
To get comfy and cosy. As much as your doggie is part of your family, he still carries his wild instinct within him, and no amount of training will change that. His instinct tells him that his sleepy-time ritual of scratching, digging and circling his bed will give him the best chance of a cosy night’s sleep as he nests down.
Security. One of the theories is that dogs would dig and scratch around their beds in the wild to check for potentially dangerous critters like snakes and spiders. They would dig and sniff into their nests or self-made beds to check for anything that might give them a nasty little nip in the night.
Territory marking. Another thought is that dogs use these rituals to mark their territory. They have little scent glands underneath their paws, which secrete pheromones to mark their territory.
On the hunt. This might not seem very clear because dogs don’t get their beds ready for snoozing while hunting. Sometimes your pup can get onto their bed and then either suspect or find a little insect or toy buried in the folds. Their reaction then is to hunt it down and dig it up.
Stress. As much as we love to giggle while watching our pup and his quirky little rituals-if you notice your dog becoming a bit frenetic while digging into their bed, you may want to have him checked out. Compulsive behaviour like this can be related to stress and anxiety, which only a vet can figure out with you.
Entertainment. There is a chance that your doggie wants to play a bit and is creating a little game for himself.
What can you do about this ritual?
So if you’ve ruled out anxiety, then you’re left with the explanations around natural instinct. No amount of training can stop your fur babies’ habit of diggin’ and scatchin’ around their beds. Here are two pointers on how to protect your doggie and their beds from too much wear and tear brought on by his night-time routine:
Take him for a manicure. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and some prefer not to cut their dog’s nails. It is worth checking with your vet or parlour to see if your dog could benefit from a trim. With certain breeds, as they age, their metatarsals (the little bones that run along the top of their paws to their nails) can hurt if their nails are too long. Basically, their long nails push back along these little bones, and it can be pretty painful. Anyway, when it comes to their bedtime digging ritual, trimming their nails could help protect their little paw “toes” and keep their beds intact.
Distract him with toys. If you think your pup is trying to entertain himself, try adding a few toys to his bed. If he reacts to his toys and starts playing with them, you’ll know exactly what is up with him.
Increase his exercise regime. Sometimes a canine needs to get his energy out. Take your fur companion for an extra-long walk and see if that tires him out a bit.
Wrapping it up
So really, unless you suspect your pup is anxious or under-stimulated, there is no major need to worry about this routine. Enjoy the sweet little quirks and habits of your doggie.