What could be snugger than a cosy hollow, made exactly the right size for them? Asking them to stop would be rather like asking a Labrador to stop bringing you stuff in their mouths! They’re simply motivated by their instincts to create a safe and comfortable snooze spot. 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. Are these dog-nesting behaviors instinctive? The Labrador Site is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk. By digging in the dirt a dog will churn up moisture; the deeper the hole, the damper the soil. Here’s another reason why your dog might have started digging specifically in their bed. Do our dogs observe similar bedtime rituals? Don't miss out on the perfect companion to life with a purrfect friend. Beaches are the obvious choice, but hiking trails through deciduous woodland with lots of leaf litter on the ground make a great substitute. Alternatively, try to include regular walks in places where they can dig. or showing signs of an unhealthy emotional relationship with digging in the bed (perhaps spending an increasing amount of time digging up their blankets). But a lot of the instincts which cause dogs to dig up their bedding are universal to all breeds. Have you tried doing anything to stop him, or do you let him get on with it? In nature, circling a chosen spot is one method dogs employ to ensure the exclusivity of their sleeping place. Body Temperature Regulation; Do you notice that your dog pants when the day is … 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. This question has a number of variants; one of the most popular and confounding to owners of indoor dogs is, “Why do dogs scratch the carpet?” It’s a question that’s perplexed humans forever. But occasionally digging in their bed can become an abnormal behavior.  |  Digging works some muscle groups that might not have been flexed in a while, and channels pent-up energy into purposeful activity. 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. Many of them have become so habitual that they now border on instinct. Labs especially are clever dogs with an enormous capacity to learn complex tasks. Circling, scratching and digging are all common dog nesting behaviors. 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. Dens are also a good place to hole up in (sorry, couldn’t resist) when the weather is bad. Scratching may serve a similar function, physically marking and claiming a spot. Digging is a natural and normal part of a dog’s behavior repertoire. So, if you see your dog digging at their bed, there’s no reason to call the dog whisperer. If they don’t get that through some other outlet, activities like digging are a great substitute. 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. And how can we keep dogs from digging under fences and in flower beds? Chances are your dog’s behavior is due to the following reasons. Dogs digging in bed is the result of a natural instinct and not a sign of misbehavior. They may not have enough toys or enough exercise going on in their daily lives to occupy themselves. Regardless what time of year, it never ceases to fascinate me when I watch my dog circumnavigate her chosen sleeping spot. Exercise your dog. Labs are working dogs at heart, and they have a strong desire to be occupied with some kind of job. Suddenly, when we ask ‘why do dogs dig in their beds?’, we’re not just curious. 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. You might notice your dog digging on his or her bed or in the crate; this is also an instinctual behavior related to digging dens outdoors. 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. Some breeds are more hardwired to do it than others. Their bed is likely to be something we spent a bit of money on. Just why do dogs dig holes? But older dogs copy each other too. Remember, the number one reason dogs dig at their bed is for survival. But here’s a reason which specifically answers the question “why do dogs dig in blankets?”. It might happen because they’re stressed or anxious, and they’re seeking a way to channel those feelings. It might happen because they’re stressed or anxious, and they’re seeking a way to channel those feelings. Are these dog-nesting behaviors instinctive? Circling is also a security measure. Often when dogs catch an interesting scent above soft ground, having a little dig about to find out more is the obvious next step! She’s making a … 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. There may be simple explanations as to why some dogs may engage in this behavior. It’s an easily recognisable part of ‘dogs being dogs’. I’ve seen her scratch at them with her claws and dig into them repeatedly. So, why do they do it? But physical exercise isn’t the only kind of activity dogs need. Digging … 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. This explains why many dogs actually prefer their crates when left alone at home or to sleep in at night. In fact more than one dog sharing a yard will quite often team up to work on a big dig! Who can’t picture a dog digging a hole in the yard to bury a juicy bone? Dogs do not care about the aesthetic integrity of your home furnishings. If your Lab digs up their blankets to stash food underneath, take up any leftover food at the end of meal times. Some dogs love to dig because humans made them that way. Dogs dig for lots of different reasons, and some dogs breeds are hardwired to enjoy it more than others. In hot climates, a nicely dug hole can protect you from the blistering heat (yes, even some scorpions and snakes will use this strategy in the sand) and in … 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. 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. 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. 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. Unless it’s destroying our yard, it’s not something we typically worry about either. Dogs will dig to warm up their beds in the wild or to find a more comfortable sleeping position, much like how humans fluff their pillows before sleeping. Scent work, puzzle toys, gundog training and training games are all excellent ways to engage and stretch their minds, so that afterwards they settle into bed without turning it over first. 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. Which is why lots of owners report that their dog digs in their bed right before settling down to sleep in it. Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall. In many ways this is an extension of hiding food. In short, denning is very natural for dogs and is a difficult behavior to break if yo… Finally, digging is usually a normal part of dogs being dogs. In the wild dog’s world, digging and circling shifted sticks, rocks and grass into more comfortable or uniform positions. Some pet parents report their dogs try to dig deep to bury favorite toys or a treat they’re saving for later. First, do consider whether they need to stop at all. Dogs are just as much creatures of habit as we are. Surely, dogs can differentiate between the ground outside and your favorite comforter, your bed, or the floor of her own crate. Nevertheless, a concerned owner can train a dog not to dig in certain areas so long as the dog has its own area in … 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. To hide herself. 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. Having a dog who digs means needing a dog bed that can withstand their paws and claws. Dogs who scratch at carpet may do so as part of sleep preparation. In cold weather, curling up in a self-fashioned pit helps to concentrate available body heat. Labrador Retriever Life Span – How Long Do Labs Live? Physical activity like walking, running, swimming, and playing fetch with a ball or frisbee are great ways to exercise your lab. Lots of dogs dig a little, or a lot, at some point in their lives. All of the reasons above can apply equally to digging in the yard, on the bed, and in their beds. If you’d like to reshape their behavior though, we’ve also given you some strategies for doing that. 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. When a dog is digging his bed it is actually called “denning”. (Photography via Shutterstock). The surface she is scratching at, whether it’s carpet, tile, or hardwood, is not a malleable material. Let’s answer some questions about dog nesting behavior, including: Sleep preparation is more involved than a dog lying down. I thought it looked like a warm bit of bedding that my dog could use for her nesting. If your Lab loves to dig up his blankets, let us know in the comments box down below! I found her curled up, sleeping on her older quilts. Sarah Holloway holds a bachelors degree in Zoology and has a special interest in animal behavior and communication, The Labrador Site is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Canine Digging Behavior and Archaeological Implications, An ethological approach to the problem of dogs digging holes, Blind Dog – How To Care For A Dog That Can’t See, Stop Your Puppy Crying – Great Tips For Settling New Puppies Day & Night. Rather than fight it, it’s more sensitive, and frankly easier, to channel their instincts in a safe and acceptable way. Some breeds or types of dogs, terriers and hounds among them, are accustomed to digging and burrowing, whether for prey, security, or scent discovery. 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. 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. Let’s start by looking at those breeds who can’t help wanting to dig, and then move onto the reasons other dogs might enjoy it too. Modern dogs don’t usually have to worry about where the next meal is coming from. 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. Another common dog sleeping position is when canines curl up into a little ball, says Dr. … 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. According to the SPCA of Texas, both wild and domestic dogs have been observed following the same bedtime rituals: Sniffing is followed by digging with the front paws while claws are extended. Dogs dug up some of their surroundings so they had a place to sleep free from predators. The first step is to move their bed to a more private location. After doing the research for this essay, I realized why my own dog ditched her new blanket in favor of her ratty and well-worn nesting materials. 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. 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. Also called denning, your dog’s digging in her bed is due to natural instinct, rather than her misbehaving. Depending on the dog and the situation, circling behavior can be cute (or, if excessive, can be annoying -- especially if you're trying to sleep). It may be part of the instinctive bedtime ritual, associated with her favored resting spot. Encourage them to use it by hiding toys and treats in it for them to uncover. Which also gives us more insight into their earliest domestication. Cat owners buy their pets cat trees and scratching posts, but few such provisions exist for our puppies and dogs. The official term for this is ‘allomimetic behavior’.  |, Lynn M. Hayner 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. So before you ask the question, “my dog peed on my bed, what does that mean?” Read on. The Donut. If I happen to be away from home, I always wake up earlier than I do when I’m in my own bed. In nature, digging at beds serves as a method of extreme temperature control. Labs are strong dogs with heaps of energy. Jun 24th 2020. 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. A common example of dogs copying other dogs is puppies copying older dogs. The dog is inside, after all! Circling, scratching and digging are all things dogs do before settling into bed. Quite often a lot of money – American pet owners are predicted to spend an eye-watering $99 billion on their animals in 2020, and we won’t manage that without splashing out on a few luxury items! Sometimes, dogs will dig on furniture out of boredom. It might – joy of joys! Domestic dogs still have a leftover instinct to prepare a place to rest in this way. I’ve seen my own dogs rehearse the entire pattern: scratch, circle, and rest. 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. As much as the amateur horticulturists among us tut and cluck about it, a dog digging up the garden is understandable. But occasionally digging in their bed can become an abnormal behavior. Understanding Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds. Digging may be an instinctual behavior from before dogs were domesticated. It also needs to be warm enough for her babies, and cosy enough to keep them hidden. My disappointment at my dog dragging the new, warm blanket is not her problem. If you ever witness your dog digging into his bed or different areas at your home, you should not be concerned. Stay informed! I thought it looked like a warm bit of bedding that my dog could use for her nesting. Dogs come by their love of digging holes naturally. Jeske & Kuznar, Canine Digging Behavior and Archaeological Implications, Journal of Field Archeology, 2001. All dogs, to some degree or another, love to follow their nose. They know it’s wrong. Odendaal, An ethological approach to the problem of dogs digging holes, Applied Animal Behavior Science, 1997. All of which means we’re much more likely to view dogs digging up their bedding as a problem behavior, not just a quirk of being canine. 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. But what about dogs digging in their beds? Again it is a natural instinct for a dog to bury food to survive. Find out why your dog is peeing on your bed and what you can do about it from AKC's dog training experts. If you’ve ever smoked a cigarette in a high school bathroom or didn’t come to … – even unearth the source of the smell. There are several things you can do to help your dog feel safer. (Photography via Wikimedia Commons). 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. … We’ll see why in a minute. Your dog’s wild ancestors scratched at piles of leaves, dirt and pine needles to create a comfortable mound of bedding. If you frequently take things off your dog, without incorporating a reward for letting it go. Does the dog in your life have a cat in theirs? Doing so allows a dog to survey his spot before settling in. 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. 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. It is a foreign element that intruded itself upon her comfort zone. 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. The easiest way to … Although it’s not as noticeable in our domestic pets, wild canids still dig dens. Recently, I found a thick throw rug at a thrift store. The obvious work-around from their point of view is – hide the thing they know you’re not going to let them keep. A dog’s paw pads have a couple of little-known or heralded features. The Myths. This happens when dogs form an unhealthy or compulsive relationship with doing it. I don’t know about you, but I have any number of pre-sleep rituals.  |. I know we all get busy from time to time, but there isn’t an excuse not to exercise … Why do dogs dig in their beds? Your dog may be digging for … If your dog is scared, this frantic digging can be an attempt to find a safe and secure spot. Wild dogs store food by digging a hole and burying it. Like my own idiosyncratic pre-sleep rituals, walking in circles establishes a dog’s comfort in a few different ways. 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. Circling, scratching and digging are all things dogs do before settling into bed. Survival. For generations, small dogs like Dachshunds, Jack Russell Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and of course Rat Terriers were bred and kept for flushing vermin out of hiding, and killing them. Dogs naturally seek the shelter of dens. I draped it over her two other blankets and carefully tucked it to conform to the shape of her bed. More than that, letting your dog pursue natural behaviors like digging in their bed before settling down in it can form an important part of ensuring their mental well being. Question: I have a 3 1/2 yr old Border Terrier Who still pees in the house. Comfort makes a difference to my sleeping ability and quality. As with turning or circling, scratching serves a number of practical purposes, at least one of which is sleep related. One of the most surprising reasons behind dogs digging in their beds is because they have seen another dog doing it. Read Next: Here’s Why Your Dog Always Wants to Sleep With You, Paul J. Kearney Fun Fact: Some archeologists think that digging by dogs or teams of dogs might account for some of the unexplained pits at dig sites. 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. 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. This happens when dogs form an unhealthy or compulsive relationship with doing it. They also dig out big holes (or dens) for their puppies. What motivates her to spin about before coming to rest? 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. Boredom. Next time I went to visit her, she’d removed the new cover, dragged it halfway across the room, and left it there. In nature, digging at beds serves as a method of extreme temperature control. Or they might be bored, lonely, or under stimulated. 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. It’s precisely because the old ones are ratty and well-worn. She may even dig and burrow in your bed. Only after she’s rent that new one with her mouth, torn at it with her claws, and endowed it with her own peculiar smells will it be fit for use. Bed-scratching is a natural instinct. Giving her more outdoor time, in the yard or at the dog park, may help her fulfill a basic need. It needs to be somewhere she feels completely secure, comfortable, and unthreatened. If you have a big enough yard, set up a sand or dirt box which they allowed to dig in. Because dogs have limited sweat glands, when it is very hot outside, dogs may dig nests, exposing a … All rights reserved. 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. Buy A Durable Dog Bed. 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’. But if you’d like to reduce normal digging, we can help you with that in our next section. Their bed also tends to be permanently on display, somewhere prominent in our homes. © 2019 Belvoir Media Group. (Photography via Pixabay). Boredom can also cause dogs to dig at the carpet or couch cushions. So, we’ve seen that dogs dig in their beds for all kinds of reasons, most of which are normal and harmless. 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. If she’s scratching her bed on a hot night, she’s just trying to cool it down so she can sleep better. With turning or circling, scratching and digging are all common dog nesting behaviors single of... Health ( such as tearing off small pieces they might swallow or choke on ) behind... Tut and cluck about it from AKC 's dog training experts dig humans!, somewhere prominent in our homes dog doing it breeds are more hardwired do. May do so as part of a dog ’ s world, digging into bed not be.. And cluck about it, a dog lying down, take up leftover..., swimming, and cosy enough to keep them hidden that their dog digs in their to... They had a place to sleep in areas that are comfortable and protected reasons, they. 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