I’ve seen her circle over them and trample them underfoot countless times. If your Lab loves to dig up his blankets, let us know in the comments box down below! Now, let’s dig deep debunk the myths behind why your dog might be doing this in the first place. 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. Odendaal, An ethological approach to the problem of dogs digging holes, Applied Animal Behavior Science, 1997. Melvin Peña In short, denning is very natural for dogs and is a difficult behavior to break if yo… But if you’d like to reduce normal digging, we can help you with that in our next section. Giving her more outdoor time, in the yard or at the dog park, may help her fulfill a basic need. 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. Dens are also a good place to hole up in (sorry, couldn’t resist) when the weather is bad. 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. Again it is a natural instinct for a dog to bury food to survive. Doing so allows a dog to survey his spot before settling in. The feline equivalent of digging in bed is kneading. It needs to be somewhere she feels completely secure, comfortable, and unthreatened. The Myths. Because dogs have limited sweat glands, when it is very hot outside, dogs may dig nests, exposing a … The dog is inside, after all! But here’s a reason which specifically answers the question “why do dogs dig in blankets?”. Dogs will do strange and sometimes destructive things when they get bored, such as tearing apart papers, toys, or chair cushions. I draped it over her two other blankets and carefully tucked it to conform to the shape of her bed. More germane to the matter at hand, dog paws also feature scent glands. One of the most surprising reasons behind dogs digging in their beds is because they have seen another dog doing it. Domestic dogs still have a leftover instinct to prepare a place to rest in this way. 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.  |  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. They are one of the few surface areas on a dog’s body that have sweat glands. Digging, like scratching, is another pre-sleep habit that dog owners notice. The obvious work-around from their point of view is – hide the thing they know you’re not going to let them keep. 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. Comfort makes a difference to my sleeping ability and quality. These Are the Experts Every Dog Owner Needs, Here’s Why Your Dog Always Wants to Sleep With You. Jun 24th 2020. They know it’s wrong. There may be simple explanations as to why some dogs may engage in this behavior. 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 come by their love of digging holes naturally. All rights reserved. Next time I went to visit her, she’d removed the new cover, dragged it halfway across the room, and left it there. 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). Suddenly, when we ask ‘why do dogs dig in their beds?’, we’re not just curious. Unless it’s destroying our yard, it’s not something we typically worry about either. Get tips and exclusive deals. It’s an easily recognisable part of ‘dogs being dogs’. It may be part of the instinctive bedtime ritual, associated with her favored resting spot. Revenge Find out why your dog is peeing on your bed and what you can do about it from AKC's dog training experts. Which is why lots of owners report that their dog digs in their bed right before settling down to sleep in it. Scratching may serve a similar function, physically marking and claiming a spot. Have you tried doing anything to stop him, or do you let him get on with it? Dogs naturally seek the shelter of dens. 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. If you’ve ever smoked a cigarette in a high school bathroom or didn’t come to … Who can’t picture a dog digging a hole in the yard to bury a juicy bone? Why do dogs in their beds? Chances are your dog’s behavior is due to the following reasons. 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. 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. 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. So she’ll adjust it, adjust it again, and adjust it some more, right up until the birth. All of the reasons above can apply equally to digging in the yard, on the bed, and in their beds. So, we’ve seen that dogs dig in their beds for all kinds of reasons, most of which are normal and harmless. In the wild dog’s world, digging and circling shifted sticks, rocks and grass into more comfortable or uniform positions. So if they’re hiking for miles everyday, but still restless at home, it could be that they need more mental stimulation. Dogs’ wild ancestors buried surplus food to stop other animals eating it before they had space to finish it. Beaches are the obvious choice, but hiking trails through deciduous woodland with lots of leaf litter on the ground make a great substitute. Digging works some muscle groups that might not have been flexed in a while, and channels pent-up energy into purposeful activity. then you could try one of these ideas to change or deflect their behavior. 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. 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. Also called denning, your dog’s digging in her bed is due to natural instinct, rather than her misbehaving. By digging in the dirt a dog will churn up moisture; the deeper the hole, the damper the soil. Some dogs specifically like to dig in their beds more than anywhere else – and there are many reasons for this as well. This happens when dogs form an unhealthy or compulsive relationship with doing it. I thought it looked like a warm bit of bedding that my dog could use for her nesting. 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. Dogs dug up some of their surroundings so they had a place to sleep free from predators. Exercise your dog.  |, Lynn M. Hayner The first step is to move their bed to a more private location. But a lot of the instincts which cause dogs to dig up their bedding are universal to all breeds. It also needs to be warm enough for her babies, and cosy enough to keep them hidden. We’ll see why in a minute. Other times it may be an interesting smell that compels your dog to dig at a particular location before he rolls in it, much as he would do outside in the dirt. 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. 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. Surely, dogs can differentiate between the ground outside and your favorite comforter, your bed, or the floor of her own crate. 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. Circling, scratching and digging are all things dogs do before settling into bed. Circling is also a security measure. 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. It might happen because they’re stressed or anxious, and they’re seeking a way to channel those feelings. Encourage them to use it by hiding toys and treats in it for them to uncover. Modern dogs don’t usually have to worry about where the next meal is coming from. 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. After all, the earth is pliable, and a dog can dig until she’s satisfied. This behavior does not mean what you think! 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. In cold weather, curling up in a self-fashioned pit helps to concentrate available body heat. Where sleep is concerned, digging into bed can be habitual and instinctive, or related to temperature. Sometimes it may be as simple as him scratching to dig up that single crumb of food that fell in between the carpet threads. Some dogs love to dig because humans made them that way. Labs are strong dogs with heaps of energy. While this behavior is no longer needed for dogs who live indoors, you still might see it from time to time. In nature, digging at beds serves as a method of extreme temperature control. Scatter some treats or a kibble meal in on top, give the whole thing a little shake, and hand it over. Why do dogs dig in their beds? In the wild, dogs will instinctively hide and sleep in areas that are comfortable and protected. Dogs dig for lots of different reasons, and some dogs breeds are hardwired to enjoy it more than others. But physical exercise isn’t the only kind of activity dogs need. The material makeup of the dog’s bed is of less consequence than the action. But occasionally digging in their bed can become an abnormal behavior. 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. As a low tech alternative, scrunch sheets of newspaper or magazine pages into balls and use them to fill a cardboard box. Circling several times imbues a place with the dog’s scent. Having a dog who digs means needing a dog bed that can withstand their paws and claws. A common example of dogs copying other dogs is puppies copying older dogs. 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. Physical activity like walking, running, swimming, and playing fetch with a ball or frisbee are great ways to exercise your lab. Recently, I found a thick throw rug at a thrift store. Marking and comfort are two reasons that dogs dig and scratch their beds. If I happen to be away from home, I always wake up earlier than I do when I’m in my own bed. To get them, it helps to start by asking why dogs dig at all. Read Next: Here’s Why Your Dog Always Wants to Sleep With You, Paul J. Kearney This means different things for different dogs. Sometimes, dogs will dig on furniture out of boredom. Asking them to stop would be rather like asking a Labrador to stop bringing you stuff in their mouths! The Donut. What motivates her to spin about before coming to rest? 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. 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. Labs are working dogs at heart, and they have a strong desire to be occupied with some kind of job. This happens when dogs form an unhealthy or compulsive relationship with doing it. Alternatively, try to include regular walks in places where they can dig. Fun Fact: Some archeologists think that digging by dogs or teams of dogs might account for some of the unexplained pits at dig sites. Some breeds or types of dogs, terriers and hounds among them, are accustomed to digging and burrowing, whether for prey, security, or scent discovery. Stay informed! But what about dogs digging in their beds? If she’s scratching her bed on a hot night, she’s just trying to cool it down so she can sleep better. Which also gives us more insight into their earliest domestication. Your dog’s wild ancestors scratched at piles of leaves, dirt and pine needles to create a comfortable mound of bedding. Dogs do not care about the aesthetic integrity of your home furnishings. If you’re worried that your dog has formed a compulsive relationship with digging in their bed, a professional behaviorist can help you work out why, and how to help them. In fact more than one dog sharing a yard will quite often team up to work on a big dig! 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. Are these dog-nesting behaviors instinctive? If your Lab digs up their blankets to stash food underneath, take up any leftover food at the end of meal times. Wild dogs store food by digging a hole and burying it. Lots of dogs dig a little, or a lot, at some point in their lives. Here’s another reason why your dog might have started digging specifically in their bed. Indoors, modern dogs mimic that behavior. If you frequently take things off your dog, without incorporating a reward for letting it go. Dogs who scratch at carpet may do so as part of sleep preparation. Disturbing the ground shakes up more odor particles, so your dog can build up a better scent ‘picture’. Body Temperature Regulation; Do you notice that your dog pants when the day is … Are these dog-nesting behaviors instinctive? Some breeds are more hardwired to do it than others. But occasionally digging in their bed can become an abnormal behavior. 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! 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. Often when dogs catch an interesting scent above soft ground, having a little dig about to find out more is the obvious next step! Digging may be an instinctual behavior from before dogs were domesticated. A dog’s paw pads have a couple of little-known or heralded features. Also called denning, your dog's digging in her bed is due to natural instinct, rather than her misbehaving. 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. In nature, circling a chosen spot is one method dogs employ to ensure the exclusivity of their sleeping place. This explains why many dogs actually prefer their crates when left alone at home or to sleep in at night. I thought it looked like a warm bit of bedding that my dog could use for her nesting. Your dog may be digging for … Regardless what time of year, it never ceases to fascinate me when I watch my dog circumnavigate her chosen sleeping spot. 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. Dogs digging in bed is the result of a natural instinct and not a sign of misbehavior. Remember, the number one reason dogs dig at their bed is for survival. (Photography via Pixabay). Let’s answer some questions about dog nesting behavior, including: Sleep preparation is more involved than a dog lying down. The surface she is scratching at, whether it’s carpet, tile, or hardwood, is not a malleable material. Finally, digging is usually a normal part of dogs being dogs. It’s easy to conjure up a mental image of a dog digging outdoors. I know we all get busy from time to time, but there isn’t an excuse not to exercise … I found her curled up, sleeping on her older quilts. 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