If you have a dog, you’ve probably observed that dogs have peculiar sleep routines, such as whirling in a circle a dozen times before calming down or curling up with their favorite blanket. You may have even spotted your favorite dog scratching and digging at his or her bed (you may even have a pile of dog bed stuffing on the floor as proof!).
But have you ever wondered why dogs claw their beds in this manner? Ever pondered how every dog seems to accomplish it?
It’s a natural instinct for almost every dog to dig at their bed in order to create a nice, warm place to sleep down.
We’ll go through why dogs scratch before they lay down in more depth in this post, as well as how to keep them from trashing their dog beds in the process.
Digging’s Evolutionary History
To comprehend where this bedtime behavior originates, you must first comprehend the history of dogs. Dogs used to live in the wild before becoming our beloved canine housemates and family members. During this time, they acquired certain habits that may seem bizarre to us now, but were once necessary for their survival. This could explain why your dog’s digging and other damaging behavior is difficult to stop—his it’s natural instinct.
Learning to build a shelter was one of the most crucial skills a wild dog needed to survive. Dog behavior in the home often reflects this. Digging became a strategy for dogs living in very cold or wet climates to shelter themselves from the elements. They could dig a little hole in the earth to remain warm, or form a nest of leaves and soil to make a hard surface more comfortable.
Even though domesticated dogs aren’t out in the wild anymore—no, the dog park doesn’t count—and don’t need to dig for shelter to survive, their desire to dig still kicks in when they’re about to lay their heads down.
Other Reasons for Dogs Digging in Their Bed
Dogs dig at their bedding for a variety of reasons, including the natural impulse to make a shelter. Other causes of late-night scratching in domestic pets include:
To demarcate a territory – Dogs have scent glands on the bottoms of their feet, just like cats and many other four-legged species, that release a specific pheromone. Scratching at something might be a way for your dog to demonstrate to others that they have claimed a bed.
Curiosity – Dogs dig for a variety of reasons, including to investigate something. If they believe there is something intriguing hidden beneath their bed’s cushions, such as leftover food or a toy, they may dig to find it.
Worry – If your dog’s digging has become compulsive and appears to be energizing rather than relaxing them, it could be an indication of underlying anxiety. It’s important to visit a veterinarian if you’re concerned about this.
3 Ways to Prevent Scratching on Your Dog’s Bed
While your dog’s digging behavior is endearing, it can also be extremely harmful. Your new pet bed can rapidly devolve into a mass of filling and fabric if you’re not cautious. Even if you have a dog lover in your Instagram bio, dog scratching may rapidly turn into a pet owner’s nightmare.
The good news is that you can take steps to prevent this from happening so your dog can continue to enjoy his bed.
Trim your dog’s nails first
Regularly clipping your dog’s nails can help minimize the damage he may do to his sleeping area, so give him a nice manicure. Dogs’ nails should be clipped every 3-4 weeks. A regular trim can help keep their nails from becoming infected and causing damage to furniture or hardwood floors.
If your dog’s nails are still sharp after being trimmed, lightly filing them can help prevent any edges from forming.
Give them a variety of games to choose from
If your dog’s clawing at their bed has turned into a game rather than a relaxing bedtime habit, it could be due to a lack of stimulation.
Take them for longer walks or provide them with toys to keep them occupied.
Invest in a Longer-Lasting Bed
Your dog isn’t always the issue; it’s the bed they’re sleeping on. Fabric and stuffing-filled beds aren’t built to withstand a dog who digs and scratches every night. That is why it is critical to purchase a bed with a long-lasting cover. A comfortable bed may also reduce the amount of digging they need to perform to get warm. In that scenario, an orthopedic or memory foam dog bed could be beneficial to both you and your dog.
Here are a few pointers that may be useful:
Begin with a relaxing and a comfortable dog bed
If your dog’s bed is comfortable, you’ll have a better chance of success. Walk a mile in your dog’s paws before you buy. He’ll be averse to that idea if he’s been sleeping in your bed and is abruptly kicked to the floor.
That’s why you should get him a cozy dog bed to keep him safe. To figure out what will be most comfortable for him, look at how he sleeps. Is he curled up in a ball or sprawled out on the floor?
You’ll need a dog bed that’s somewhat larger than his body size if he curls up in a ball. This will make him feel safe and comfortable. If he sprawls all over your bed, one of those large, flat dog beds will likely be more comfortable for him.
The truth is that your dog’s comfort is crucial, and if he has a favorite bed, you’ll have a much easier time convincing him to switch from your bed to his.
Place Items in Your Dog’s Bed
Your dog isn’t simply looking for a cozy place to sleep, he wants to make it his own. After all, he’s your best friend, so make his bed a place he can call home while he sleeps. Toys or a special pet blanket that is all his own should be placed in his bed.
You may make your dog’s bed a place he wants to go rather than a place he has to go by filling it with his favorite items. Your dog’s bed will be a pleasant, warm, and secure environment.
Why does my dog dig in my bed? Include the essence of you
Your closest friend wants more than just his belongings in his own bed, he wants something that reminds him of his favorite person in the world – you! This is especially true if he’s already gotten into the habit of sleeping with you.
Try putting something on his bed that smells like you to give him the ‘essence of you’. You can use anything that has your fragrance on it, such as an old T-shirt or a blanket you’ve used before. It will make him feel as if you are in his new dog bed with him.
Use Positive Reinforcement and Basic Obedience to Teach
To avoid behavioral issues, you should always teach your dog basic obedience. While digging in your bed is not a behavioral issue, basic obedience dog training will assist you in getting him to go to his own bed.
You can walk over to your dog’s bed with him on a leash and place him down on the bed. Give him a treat when he lays down as positive reinforcement for performing what you desire. He’ll come to associate loving his own bed with a reward over time.
It’s also crucial to remember that food isn’t the sole option for rewarding your dog for good behavior. Another reward could be his favorite toy, as well as your praise.
You don’t want to have to reward him every time he gets into his own bed, but it can help him learn to appreciate it at first. You won’t need to give him a treat every time he does something good. If you love having your dog share your bed with you but despise the fact that he is constantly digging in it, it’s crucial to recognize that this is a natural instinct for your dog. He’s simply following in the footsteps of his forefathers in the wild.
When you look at things from his perspective, you’ll notice that all he sees you as is a beloved family member and an important member of the pack – someone he wants to cuddle with. Even yet, there are reasons why you should shift him into his own bed.
If you want him to sleep in his own bed, make it as comfy as possible and make sure it smells like you. Use positive reinforcement to train him to sleep in it, and you’ll both be sleeping like babies in no time!