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Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Beds? The Secret Behind This Behavior

Written by Eddie Toy — August 24, 2021

Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Beds? The Secret Behind This Behavior

You love your dog, but sometimes your furry friend exhibits less than desirable habits and behaviors.

Most pups love to dig. That’s nothing new, but their digging can be destructive. We've all seen the dog that wrecks the yard, house, and even the place that’s supposed to bring them comfort and rest - their beds!

The reason dogs dig in their beds isn't a complicated one. However, as a dog owner, it is important to understand. If your dog is tearing through dog beds faster than you can buy them, it's time to find out why and what you can do to stop it.

What Makes Your Dog Dig?

We should first understand why dogs love digging.

Some dog breeds like to dig more than others, but all dogs will dig to some extent. Digging is a natural dog behavior, like barking, so they will never stop altogether.

There are a variety of different reasons your pup could be digging.

Entertainment: We don't know about you, but when left alone, we get bored. Your dog also gets bored when left alone. Digging can just be something to do to pass the time.

Comfort and protection: If it is hot, cold, or windy outside, a dog might dig a nice little hole for it to lay in to protect it from the elements.

Hunting: Your dog might be trying to catch an animal or insect that is burrowing in your yard.

Escape: The grass always looks greener on the other side, right? Your dog might dig itself out to explore greener pastures, or maybe it saw another dog it wants to play with.

Buried Treasure: Some dogs will bury anything they can get their paws on. For example, they won’t just bury a bone, but a favorite toy or anything they feel needs safekeeping. Later, they will dig again, this time looking for that buried treasure. If you don’t want to keep having to purchase toys, maybe have designated inside only toys. Inside dogs might also bury their food in their beds or under furniture around the house.

One way to prevent digging is to make sure your dog is getting proper exercise. Built-up energy can come out in several ways, including digging.

If your dog just likes the simple act of digging, you can consider simply providing a dedicated dig sight. For example, you can give your dog a sandbox with a few buried treats. They can be trained to dig only in the sandbox. However, you can't exactly make their bed inside a sandbox.

So we know why they dig in general, but why are they digging in their beds specifically?

CordaRoys Dog Bed

What Makes Your Dog Dig In Their Beds?

A dog's desire to dig doesn't always stop when they are inside. Sometimes other factors can trigger your dog's dig instinct. If you just bought a really nice dog bed, this can be disheartening.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons dogs dig in their beds.

Temperature and Comfort

A dog only has so many ways to control its body temperature.

Just like your dog's instinct outside is to dig a hole to protect itself from the elements, they have the same urge inside. If it's during the winter, your dog might be trying to create a nice pit in its dog bed to nest in to keep warm.

They also might find a pit to be more comfortable when sleeping.

Nervous Behavior

If your dog is digging a lot and scratching, it could be a sign your dog is under stress or is feeling anxious. Anxiety can be at the root of a lot of problem behavior in dogs.

Is your dog experiencing separation anxiety? Is your dog in a new place? Have you changed your dog's daily routine? There are a multitude of things that could be stressing your pup out.

Dogs thrive on familiarity, and they like knowing what to expect. As soon as their environment changes, they can become stressed out. Some dogs deal with change better than others.

A dog that is unfamiliar with its surroundings or unsure about what is going on around it can feel uncertain about its environment. This uncertainty can turn into anxiety or nervousness. A dog that is feeling uneasy can use digging as a way to cope.

Be aware of what may be triggering your dog to better help them find productive ways to comfort themselves.

Safety Check

You have probably seen the dog that turns in a circle once or twice before bed. When the dog feels good and satisfied, it stops turning, lays down, and settles in.

Dogs do this because this is how their ancestors would make their beds. Your dog may be domesticated, but they still might display some of these basic survival instincts. For example, a wild dog would dig into the ground to hide from dangerous predators while sleeping.

A dog might also want to check its surroundings and create a proper place to sleep by moving the materials around them into a better position or burrow under them to keep warm.

Digging goes hand in hand with the behavior of your dog's wild ancestors.

Territorial

Often dogs have the desire to mark their territory by leaving their scent.

Your pups’ footpads have glands in them which leave an odor behind that is specific to them.

Before bed, your dog may want to let everyone know their area is theirs. If you just purchased a brand new bed, your dog digging could be a good sign! It means they love their bed and don’t want anyone else on it.
<h2>How To Stop the Digging</h2>
So you know why your dog is digging, and now you're probably wondering how you can get your dog to stop digging.

First, because most digging is instinctual, it will be hard to have it stop altogether, but it can be redirected.

These are a few things you can try:

Old Blankets: If your dog's desire is to make a nest for it to sleep in blankets on top of its bed can be an easy solution.

Cool Down: Your dog may also dig when they are looking to cool down. If your house is hot, think about placing your dog's bed underneath or fan or air vent.

Relocation: Try moving your dog's bed to a more quiet or private place that your dog will feel safe and secure in.

No Means No: When your dog starts digging at its bed, always say "no!" Your dog needs to be verbally told to stop. When they listen, give them a toy or a treat as an award for stopping.

While you are trying to figure out what the issue is, consider only allowing your dog access to its bed while they can be supervised. Once your dog has stopped digging, you can finally invest in that visually appealing bed you've always wanted to give them.

Why Dogs Dig in their Beds

What Your Dog's Habits Say About Them

Your dog’s digging may be habitual. If bedtime is most likely when this unwanted digging happens, you might want to schedule some time to redirect your dog during this time.

Just like people, it takes some time for dogs to learn a new habit. After a month, if your dog has not been digging in their bed, odds are a new habit has been formed. Once these habitual behaviors have changed, it takes little effort to maintain them.

While some people already view their pups as their children, you can really compare the two in a few different ways. For instance, like children, dogs will sometimes do things for attention, even if it's negative attention.

If your dog is digging when they know they're not supposed to, it's possible your dog is asking for some quality one-on-one time.

In Summary

Your dog might love to dig, even in their bed. This is an instinct.

Your dogs' wild ancestors used to scratch and dig to move rocks and sticks around to create a place to lay. All that digging and circling made their beds more comfortable and safe.

Many domesticated dogs still show signs of the habits and behaviors of their ancestors.

If you want to save the bed you purchased from damage, there are a number of things you can do.

Offer your dog some old blankets to go along with their bed. Your pup might enjoy burrowing, and that is why they are digging in the first place.

Be patient when trying to redirect this behavior and make sure your dog feels happy and safe in their environment.

Finally, you should make sure you're buying a bed made from high-quality material that won’t be destroyed easily. If you’re not sure where to look, CordaRoy’s has soft, beautiful ped beds that would make the perfect addition to your home.

SOURCES

How to get your dog to stop digging | Humane Society

Anxiety in Dogs | Care to Adopt

Why Do Dogs Walk in Circles Before Lying Down? | Live Science