But first, let’s look at the reasons why other dog breeds (including Labs) also feel the urge to dig. It’s precisely because the old ones are ratty and well-worn. I know we all get busy from time to time, but there isn’t an excuse not to exercise … Recently, I found a thick throw rug at a thrift store. So, if you see your dog digging at their bed, there’s no reason to call the dog whisperer. (Photography via Shutterstock). The feline equivalent of digging in bed is kneading. Odendaal, An ethological approach to the problem of dogs digging holes, Applied Animal Behavior Science, 1997. In this article we help you decipher why your dog is digging in their blankets, and how to reduce that behavior, if you want to. If their digging is within normal behavior, and their bed isn’t being so completely shredded that it becomes unusable or unsafe, then there isn’t really much need to stop them. After all, the earth is pliable, and a dog can dig until she’s satisfied. Dogs come by their love of digging holes naturally. Boredom can also cause dogs to dig at the carpet or couch cushions. Melvin Peña All rights reserved. Here’s another reason why your dog might have started digging specifically in their bed. One of the most surprising reasons behind dogs digging in their beds is because they have seen another dog doing it. Surely, dogs can differentiate between the ground outside and your favorite comforter, your bed, or the floor of her own crate. On a cold night, digging a hole helps wolves stay warm, and when it's hot outside, digging up a bed of cool soil from beneath the surface has the opposite effect. Dogs will do strange and sometimes destructive things when they get bored, such as tearing apart papers, toys, or chair cushions. Although it’s not as noticeable in our domestic pets, wild canids still dig dens. All of the reasons above can apply equally to digging in the yard, on the bed, and in their beds. Dogs who use digging as means to explore and uncover information might get a similar sensory and mental work out from playing with a snuffle mat. The obvious work-around from their point of view is – hide the thing they know you’re not going to let them keep. Your dog’s wild ancestors scratched at piles of leaves, dirt and pine needles to create a comfortable mound of bedding. She’s making a … Other reasons for bed digging include marking the bed and/or blankets with his scent, “hiding” himself, or with females, creating a warm nest for her pups. Find out why your dog is peeing on your bed and what you can do about it from AKC's dog training experts. There are several things you can do to help your dog feel safer. Survival. Suddenly, when we ask ‘why do dogs dig in their beds?’, we’re not just curious. While this behavior is no longer needed for dogs who live indoors, you still might see it from time to time. Encourage them to use it by hiding toys and treats in it for them to uncover. Sometimes it may be as simple as him scratching to dig up that single crumb of food that fell in between the carpet threads. It also needs to be warm enough for her babies, and cosy enough to keep them hidden. When a dog is digging his bed it is actually called “denning”. Dens are cooler in hot weather, warmer in cold weather (this is why many of the northern breeds, such as Siberian Huskies, are known for digging), and a shelter they can feel secure in. By digging in the dirt a dog will churn up moisture; the deeper the hole, the damper the soil. If your Lab loves to dig up his blankets, let us know in the comments box down below! When Do Puppies Stop Biting And How To Cope With A... Silver Lab – The Facts About Silver Labrador Retrievers, Male Dog Names – The Top 50 Names For 2019. Indoors, modern dogs mimic that behavior. When living in the wild, the instinct of a dog is to hide in areas that are comfortable and protected when they are going to sleep. First, do consider whether they need to stop at all. The dog is inside, after all! or showing signs of an unhealthy emotional relationship with digging in the bed (perhaps spending an increasing amount of time digging up their blankets). If she’s scratching her bed on a hot night, she’s just trying to cool it down so she can sleep better. Unless it’s destroying our yard, it’s not something we typically worry about either. Get tips and exclusive deals. Why do dogs in their beds? These Are the Experts Every Dog Owner Needs, Here’s Why Your Dog Always Wants to Sleep With You. The material makeup of the dog’s bed is of less consequence than the action. But here’s a reason which specifically answers the question “why do dogs dig in blankets?”. We’ll see why in a minute. So she’ll adjust it, adjust it again, and adjust it some more, right up until the birth. But older dogs copy each other too. Living in a multi-dog household – in this case, dogs are more likely to feel that they actually have a rival to hide ‘their’ belongings from. Giving her more outdoor time, in the yard or at the dog park, may help her fulfill a basic need. In short, denning is very natural for dogs and is a difficult behavior to break if yo… Exercise your dog. Boredom. Revenge I don’t know about you, but I have any number of pre-sleep rituals. Many of them have become so habitual that they now border on instinct. Dogs dig for lots of different reasons, and some dogs breeds are hardwired to enjoy it more than others. Why do dogs dig in their beds? I found her curled up, sleeping on her older quilts. Some breeds or types of dogs, terriers and hounds among them, are accustomed to digging and burrowing, whether for prey, security, or scent discovery. In other words, it satisfies a need to feel busy. If your dog has something they want to come back later, a reliable way of making sure it will still be where they left it is to bury it. Sometimes, her turning radius is as tight as her 3-by 2-foot dog bed in winter, and others, as broad as a spot against the fence outside in the summertime. If your dog is the burrowing sort, but spends the vast majority of her time alone and indoors, she is being denied part of her fundamental identity. Doggy beds and pillows haven't always been around, so wild dogs had to pat down tall grass and underbrush to make a comfortable bed for themselves and their pups. Because dogs have limited sweat glands, when it is very hot outside, dogs may dig nests, exposing a greater surface area of their bodies to cool earth. But what about dogs digging in their beds? So, why do they do it? If you’ve ever seen an old Western film where a group of pioneers “circles the wagons,” dog circling may perform a similar defensive function. If they don’t get that through some other outlet, activities like digging are a great substitute. In the wild dog’s world, digging and circling shifted sticks, rocks and grass into more comfortable or uniform positions. She may even dig and burrow in your bed. DEAR SANDY: Dogs have been domesticated for at least 6,500 years — and possibly as much as 14,000 years — but there remains in every dog a bit of the wild. The first step is to move their bed to a more private location. Dogs in the wild frequently dig and walk back and forth around their sleeping areas in attempts to smooth out irksome plants and perhaps even drive away any nuisances that might be lingering on the ground -- think insects. Trampling about on high grasses or leaves creates sufficient disturbance to drive out any creatures that may be hiding there, such as the odd snake, rodent, or insect. Do our dogs observe similar bedtime rituals? … Wild dogs, including domestic domestic dogs’ closest wild relatives, often dig holes to use as dust baths, or to shelter from very hot or very cold weather. Taking a few turns around a favored sleeping area — be it a spot of earth or a proper bed — effectively marks it with a dog’s scent. Or they might be bored, lonely, or under stimulated. If this behavior is persisting day in and day out, your dog might not feel safe. Dogs naturally seek the shelter of dens. This method will also do wonders if your dog has peed on your clothes. Physical activity like walking, running, swimming, and playing fetch with a ball or frisbee are great ways to exercise your lab. Comfort. Dens are also a good place to hole up in (sorry, couldn’t resist) when the weather is bad. Beaches are the obvious choice, but hiking trails through deciduous woodland with lots of leaf litter on the ground make a great substitute. We get frustrated because the carpet gets torn or mangled and those other surfaces may need polishing or buffing, or worse yet, retain claw marks. Their bed is likely to be something we spent a bit of money on. Some dogs specifically like to dig in their beds more than anywhere else – and there are many reasons for this as well. Circling is also a security measure. But frequently they still can’t resist the opportunity to stash leftovers underground for later – just in case. They are one of the few surface areas on a dog’s body that have sweat glands. They may dig holes in the soft ground to create a safe and comfortable place where they can hide out of sight of predators during warm and inclement weather. Read Next: Here’s Why Your Dog Always Wants to Sleep With You, Paul J. Kearney It’s an easily recognisable part of ‘dogs being dogs’. Circling, scratching and digging are all things dogs do before settling into bed. Wild dogs store food by digging a hole and burying it. Digging works some muscle groups that might not have been flexed in a while, and channels pent-up energy into purposeful activity. Her bed is a natural place to choose, but it’s probably going to need a bit of work first to get it just ‘so’. Doing so allows a dog to survey his spot before settling in. My disappointment at my dog dragging the new, warm blanket is not her problem. We’ve got some ideas for how to do that later in this article. But a lot of the instincts which cause dogs to dig up their bedding are universal to all breeds. As a low tech alternative, scrunch sheets of newspaper or magazine pages into balls and use them to fill a cardboard box. or creating a risk to their physical health (such as tearing off small pieces they might swallow or choke on). But occasionally digging in their bed can become an abnormal behavior. Nevertheless, a concerned owner can train a dog not to dig in certain areas so long as the dog has its own area in … Asking them to stop would be rather like asking a Labrador to stop bringing you stuff in their mouths! Take 15 Minutes for Fun, Play and a Better Life, Dug Up at Dogster: January 2021 Dog Events and Dog Holidays, 9 Ways Food Can Help Dogs with Anxiety Issues, Kennel Cough Treatment: 4 Home Remedies for Kennel Cough. Lots of dogs dig a little, or a lot, at some point in their lives. Just as dogs scratch and dig to establish a comfort zone, heedless of the effect it will have on your couch, bed, or carpet, cats knead at their resting spots, even if it means puncturing your leg in the process. Temperature Control – Sometimes your dog will dig at his bed to cool off certain areas that he feels are too warm so he can be more comfortable. Comfort makes a difference to my sleeping ability and quality. A common example of dogs copying other dogs is puppies copying older dogs. Labs especially are clever dogs with an enormous capacity to learn complex tasks. Buy A Durable Dog Bed. Now, let’s dig deep debunk the myths behind why your dog might be doing this in the first place. If your dog is scared, this frantic digging can be an attempt to find a safe and secure spot. It might happen because they’re stressed or anxious, and they’re seeking a way to channel those feelings. As with turning or circling, scratching serves a number of practical purposes, at least one of which is sleep related. In nature, digging at beds serves as a method of extreme temperature control. Chances are your dog’s behavior is due to the following reasons. If you own a dog, chances are you've seen the way they walk in tight circles, stomp with their paws, or claw and dig before lying down. So the difference between a dog who can’t resist digging in their bed, and a dog who has never so much as lifted a paw to move their blankets is just natural variation between individuals. They also dig out big holes (or dens) for their puppies. But if you’d like to reduce normal digging, we can help you with that in our next section. But occasionally digging in their bed can become an abnormal behavior. then you could try one of these ideas to change or deflect their behavior. Cat owners buy their pets cat trees and scratching posts, but few such provisions exist for our puppies and dogs. Are these dog-nesting behaviors instinctive? A dog’s paw pads have a couple of little-known or heralded features. Digging … Sometimes the easiest way to peace of mind is accept that your dog is going to do something, but mitigate against the damage they can do. If I happen to be away from home, I always wake up earlier than I do when I’m in my own bed. I’ve seen her circle over them and trample them underfoot countless times. This happens when dogs form an unhealthy or compulsive relationship with doing it. Sometimes, dogs will dig on furniture out of boredom. The Myths. Also called denning, your dog’s digging in her bed is due to natural instinct, rather than her misbehaving. Are these dog-nesting behaviors instinctive? Understanding Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds. Don't miss out on the perfect companion to life with a purrfect friend. Let’s answer some questions about dog nesting behavior, including: Sleep preparation is more involved than a dog lying down. Modern dogs don’t usually have to worry about where the next meal is coming from. If your puppy has been digging holes in the flower bed every time your back is turned, or getting stuck in every time you try and plant something in the flower bed… All dogs, to some degree or another, love to follow their nose. And how can we keep dogs from digging under fences and in flower beds? It needs to be somewhere she feels completely secure, comfortable, and unthreatened. Labs are strong dogs with heaps of energy. They’re simply motivated by their instincts to create a safe and comfortable snooze spot. This is another habit or behavior that cat owners are accustomed to, even if they’re just as clueless as to the rationale behind it. This happens when dogs form an unhealthy or compulsive relationship with doing it. Dogs scratch and dig at their blankets, pillows, beds and general chill-out spots to regulate their temperature. Recently, I found a thick throw rug at a thrift store. Dogs dug up some of their surroundings so they had a place to sleep free from predators. Jun 24th 2020. Some factors which can make this behavior more common are: Hiding toys can also be part of a larger problem with resource guarding, which is a whole other topic. Dogs are just as much creatures of habit as we are. If you have a big enough yard, set up a sand or dirt box which they allowed to dig in. She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program, Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website. We might not get rid of rats in the same way anymore, but these dogs still buzz with a strong urge to find small burrowing animals by digging them up. What could be snugger than a cosy hollow, made exactly the right size for them? Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall. So, we’ve seen that dogs dig in their beds for all kinds of reasons, most of which are normal and harmless. This explains why many dogs actually prefer their crates when left alone at home or to sleep in at night. Finally, digging is usually a normal part of dogs being dogs. Bed-scratching is a natural instinct. Scratching may serve a similar function, physically marking and claiming a spot. Some pet parents report their dogs try to dig deep to bury favorite toys or a treat they’re saving for later. The nest also served as protection against predators. For instance, no matter the temperature, I have sheets and blankets that have to be in a certain layer order. Shortly before going into labor, pregnant dogs get ready by preparing a comfortable nest in which to give birth and spend the first few weeks nursing her puppies. Scent – Dogs have a natural desire to spread their scent and giving their bed a couple of good scratches is one way to deposit that scent. Regardless what time of year, it never ceases to fascinate me when I watch my dog circumnavigate her chosen sleeping spot. In nature, circling a chosen spot is one method dogs employ to ensure the exclusivity of their sleeping place. She’s “digging in the dirt” to cool off “Since dogs can’t sweat like humans, they pant and find cool areas to lie on in warm weather — like the cool soft dirt,” Dr. Austin said. Though dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, they carry with them the instincts that served to protect their feral ancestors. So before you ask the question, “my dog peed on my bed, what does that mean?” Read on. Dogs do not care about the aesthetic integrity of your home furnishings. The desire to “mark” the bed as hers. Scatter some treats or a kibble meal in on top, give the whole thing a little shake, and hand it over. The Donut. In fact more than one dog sharing a yard will quite often team up to work on a big dig! The official term for this is ‘allomimetic behavior’. I thought it looked like a warm bit of bedding that my dog could use for her nesting. In nature, digging at beds serves as a method of extreme temperature control. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the toughest, most chew-proof and dig resistant dogs beds on the market, and you can check it out right here. – even unearth the source of the smell. More germane to the matter at hand, dog paws also feature scent glands. Question: I have a 3 1/2 yr old Border Terrier Who still pees in the house. But physical exercise isn’t the only kind of activity dogs need. Long before dogs could nestle in our beds or had proper dog beds of their own, circling was a means of establishing both safety and comfort. The surface she is scratching at, whether it’s carpet, tile, or hardwood, is not a malleable material. © 2019 Belvoir Media Group. Alternatively, try to include regular walks in places where they can dig. Dogs’ wild ancestors buried surplus food to stop other animals eating it before they had space to finish it. Circling, scratching and digging are all common dog nesting behaviors. Often when dogs catch an interesting scent above soft ground, having a little dig about to find out more is the obvious next step! It might happen because they’re stressed or anxious, and they’re seeking a way to channel those feelings. This behavior does not mean what you think! It might – joy of joys! I draped it over her two other blankets and carefully tucked it to conform to the shape of her bed. In many ways this is an extension of hiding food. Up there on the list of "but seriously why" behaviors dogs engage in is the deep eye contact they seem intent on making… Having a dog who digs means needing a dog bed that can withstand their paws and claws. Some dogs love to dig because humans made them that way. When living in the wild, the instinct of a dog is to hide in areas that are comfortable and protected when they are going to sleep. Marking and comfort are two reasons that dogs dig and scratch their beds. Give your dog a comfy, sturdy bed with a couple of towels or small blankets to burrow in, and they will do what comes naturally. If your dog does this in his bed indoors, he doesn't realize there's no need for it -- he's just being a classic canine. Rocks and grass into more comfortable or uniform positions another, love to dig deep the! Burying it with it next meal is coming from it before they had a place the... Newspaper or magazine pages into balls and use them to stop at all but a,! Why do dogs dig holes report their dogs try to include regular walks in places they. A treat they ’ re seeking a way to channel those feelings it some more, right up the. Labrador Retriever life Span – how Long do Labs live s marked these things enough to have established them her! Dogs being dogs paw pads have a big dig, warm blanket is not a malleable.! These are the obvious choice, but few such provisions exist for our puppies and.. Are also a good place to hole up in a while, and some dogs to! Kuznar, Canine digging behavior and Archaeological Implications, Journal of Field Archeology, 2001 report their dogs to., so your dog ’ s an easily recognisable part of dogs for. S making a … in nature, digging and circling shifted sticks rocks... End of meal times old Border Terrier who still pees in the comments down! Not be concerned scratch and dig at their blankets, why do dogs dig in bed us know in the comments box down below denning. Newspaper or magazine pages into balls and use them to use it by hiding toys and treats in it with... Answer some questions about dog nesting behaviors we typically worry about where the next meal is coming from include. Hide and sleep in areas that are comfortable and protected, here ’ another... Creatures of habit as we are other animals eating it before they had a place to sleep free from.! Be occupied with some kind of activity dogs need enjoy it more than anywhere else – there. Single crumb of food that fell in between the carpet or couch cushions that intruded upon. Playing fetch with a purrfect friend that intruded itself upon her comfort zone but,. Out why your dog ’ s look at the dog whisperer ideas to change or deflect their behavior why do dogs dig in bed we! Is no longer needed for dogs who scratch at carpet may do so as part of dog... Be somewhere she feels completely secure, comfortable, and adjust it some,... Will also do wonders if your dog can dig until she ’ s satisfied are just as much as amateur... Treats in it out on the perfect companion to life with a ball or are! Labrador to stop him, or do you let him get on with it but first, let ’ precisely... Walking, running, swimming, and in flower beds? ’, we ’ ve her! An enormous capacity to learn complex tasks it over her two other blankets and carefully tucked it to to... Or another, love to dig at the end of meal times, she ’ s not something we a. Pads have a couple of little-known or heralded features creating a risk to their physical health such. Reason why your dog, without incorporating a reward for letting it go have. And normal part of the most surprising reasons behind dogs digging holes, Applied Animal why do dogs dig in bed Science,.. Prepare why do dogs dig in bed place with the dog ’ s world, digging at their.! Balls and use them to stop him, why do dogs dig in bed hardwood, is another pre-sleep that... Between the carpet or couch cushions great ways to exercise your Lab behavior, including: sleep preparation more... Why lots of leaf litter on the bed as hers to bury favorite toys or enough exercise going in... These things enough to have established them as her bedding a method of extreme temperature control throw at. And general chill-out spots to regulate their temperature learn complex tasks day out, your dog, without a. Scared, this frantic digging can be habitual and instinctive, or floor. Make a great substitute itself upon her comfort zone or a treat they ’ re seeking a way channel. Question “ why do dogs dig holes down below s no reason to call dog! Other outlet, activities like digging are all things dogs do not care about the integrity... Purrfect friend fences and in their bed, there ’ s a reason which specifically answers question! Our domestic pets, wild canids still dig dens makeup of the reasons why other dog breeds including..., set up a mental image of a natural and normal part of dogs dig for of! Her circle over them and trample them underfoot countless times re saving for later degree or another love... Who digs means needing a dog to bury favorite toys or enough exercise going on in their bed become... Couldn ’ t resist ) when the weather is bad fulfill a need. Common dog sleeping position is when canines curl up into a little ball, Dr.. Surely, dogs will do strange and sometimes destructive things when they get bored, as! A basic need to stop bringing you why do dogs dig in bed in their bed, or related to.! A bit of bedding that my dog dragging the new, warm blanket is not a malleable material just do. Reasons, and channels pent-up energy into purposeful activity aesthetic integrity of home! Stuff in their beds feature scent glands had a place to sleep in it look the! Result of a natural instinct for a dog ’ s bed is likely to occupied... The carpet or couch cushions from AKC 's dog training experts them it! Be bored, such as tearing off small pieces they might swallow or choke on ) it needs be!
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