Why Do Canine Dig in Their Beds?

I recently found a thick carpet in a thrift store. I thought it looked like a warm piece of bedding my dog ​​could use for her nesting. I draped it over her other two blankets and carefully tucked it into the shape of her bed. The next time I visited, she had removed the new cover, pulled it halfway across the room, and left it there. I found them curled up and sleeping on their older blankets.

Preparing for sleep is more time-consuming than a dog lying down. (Photography via Wikimedia Commons)

I don’t know about you, but I have any number of bedtime rituals. Many of them have become so habitual that they now border on instinct. For example, regardless of the temperature, I have sheets and blankets that have to be in a certain order of layers. When I’m not at home, I always wake up earlier than in my own bed. Comfort makes a difference to my sleep ability and quality. Do our dogs observe similar rituals before bed? Let’s answer a few questions about dog nesting behavior, including:

  • Why do dogs circle before they lie down?
  • Why do dogs scratch the floor?
  • Why do dogs dig in bed?

Why do dogs run in circles before lying down?

Sometimes their turning radius is as tight as your 3 by 2 foot dog bed in winter and others as wide as a patch against the fence outside in summer. No matter what time of year, I am always fascinated when I see my dog ​​circling their chosen sleeping place. What motivates her to turn before she settles down? Like my own idiosyncratic bedtime rituals, walking in circles creates a dog’s comfort in several ways.

Long before dogs could snuggle up in our beds or have their own dog beds, circling was a means of ensuring both safety and comfort. In nature, circling a selected spot is a method that dogs use to ensure the exclusivity of their sleeping area. Tramping around on tall grass or leaves leads to sufficient disturbance to drive out all hidden creatures such as one or the other snake, rodent or insect.

Circling is also a safety measure. A dog’s paws display some little-known or heralded features. They are one of the few surfaces on a dog’s body that has sweat glands. Dog paws are more important for the particular matter and also have scent glands. A few turns around a preferred sleeping area – be it a patch of earth or a real bed – effectively marks it with a dog’s scent. If you’ve ever seen an old western movie in which a group of pioneers “circled the wagons”, dog circling may have a similar defensive function. This way a dog can see its place before settling down.

Why do dogs scratch the floor?

This question has a number of variations; One of the most popular and confusing indoor dog owners is, “Why do dogs scratch the carpet?” It’s a question that confuses people forever. The dog is inside! The surface it scratches on, be it carpet, tile or hardwood, is not a malleable material. We get frustrated because the carpet is being torn or mutilated and these other surfaces may need to be buffed or buffed, or worse, left scratch marks.

Cat owners buy their pets scratching posts and scratching posts, but there are few such regulations for our puppies and dogs. Some breeds or types of dogs, including terriers and dogs, are used to digging and digging, whether for prey, safety, or smell detection. If your dog is the digging variety but spends most of his time alone and indoors, he will be denied some of his basic identity. Giving her more time outdoors in the yard or dog park can help her meet a basic need.

A dog sleeps and looks comfortable.

Marking and comfort are two reasons dogs dig and scratch their beds. (Photography via Pixabay)

Dogs scratching the carpet can do so as part of their sleep preparation. Dogs don’t care about the aesthetic integrity of your facility. As with spinning or circling, scratching serves a number of practical purposes, at least one of which is sleep-related. It can be part of the instinctive sleeping ritual associated with their preferred resting place. Circling several times fills a place with the smell of the dog. Scratching can serve a similar function by physically marking and engaging a point. Dogs are just as creatures of habit as we are. I’ve seen my own dogs rehearse the entire pattern: scratching, circling, and resting.

Why do dogs dig on their beds?

Like scratching, digging is another bedtime habit that dog owners notice. This is a different habit or behavior that cat owners are used to, even if they are just as clueless as the reasons for it. The feline equivalent of digging in bed is kneading. Just as dogs scratch and dig to create a comfort zone, cats knead in their resting places, even if it means stabbing your leg in the process, regardless of the impact on your couch, bed, or carpet.

As understandable as the amateur gardeners among us are, a dog digging up the garden is understandable. After all, the earth is pliable and a dog can dig until he’s satisfied. Surely dogs can distinguish between the floor outside and your favorite blanket, your bed, or the floor of their own crate. The material makeup of the dog bed is less important than the plot.

A dog in a bed with pillows torn apart.

Circling, scratching, and digging are common nesting behaviors for dogs. (Photography via Shutterstock)

When it comes to sleep, digging in bed can be habitual and instinctive, or temperature related. In nature, digging in beds serves as a method of extreme temperature control. Because dogs have limited sweat glands, when it’s very hot outside, dogs can dig nests and expose a larger surface area of ​​their bodies to the cool earth. In cold weather, rolling it up in a home-made pit will help concentrate the available body heat.

Is your dog circling, scratching or digging on or near his bed?

After doing the research for this essay, I realized why my own dog dropped her new blanket in favor of her shabby and worn nesting materials. It’s exactly because the old ones are shabby and worn out. I’ve seen it circling and trampling over them countless times. I’ve seen her scratch at them with her claws and dig into them repeatedly.

In fact, she marked these things to be considered her bedding. My disappointment that my dog ​​pulled the new, warm blanket is not your problem. It’s an alien element that has invaded their comfort zone. Only when she has rented the new one by mouth, tore it with her claws and provided her own scent, is it usable.

Read On: Here’s Why Your Dog Will Always Want To Sleep With You

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