Most dog owners love to see their dogs jumping up into their beds at the end of a long day to snuggle – but the incessant digging before lying down can just be plain obnoxious. Not only does it disrupt your routine, it disrupts your sheets, your comforter, and let’s face it, your patience, no matter how much of a dog lover you are!
Wondering why your dog engages in this digging behavior and how to get them to stop? Just keep on reading!
The Most Common Reasons for Digging
Digging behavior is frequently the result of your dog’s wild roots. When sleeping outside, ancient wild dogs learned to dig down into the ground a bit to make their beds. This behavior provided them with multiple benefits.
For one thing, it made them harder to spot from a distance, which helped keep them safe from bigger predators. It also protected them from the wind, making them more able to sleep comfortably. Finally, it also provided them with shade when the weather was hot. Over time, dogs developed the natural instinct to dig before going to sleep; some keep doing it even today.
Just because this behavior comes from your dog’s wild ancestors doesn’t mean that boredom cannot play a huge factor. Often, dogs dig because they’re bored, and they may be feeling the need to keep active and do something useful. And preparing a sleeping pit is both staying active and doing something useful! Active dog breeds like border collies are most prone to this sort of behavior.
If your dog is frequently digging on your bed, and are acting generally hyper, try getting them some more exercise. If they’re digging because they’re bored and need to burn off some extra energy, this could take care of the problem.
Getting your dog some new toys can also help quell boredom and improve mental stimulation. Dogs love toys and will spend a significant amount of time playing with new ones, getting rid of their boredom and tiring them out at the same time.
If your dog is feeling anxious, they might be trying to dig themselves a sleeping shelter in order to feel more safe and secure. If your dog shows any of these signs in addition to digging on the bed, you should suspect an anxiety issue:
- Refusing food
- Aggressive behavior
- Urinating in the house
- Loss of appetite
If your dog is showing signs of anxiety, you can do things to help. Not only can spending more time with them improve their anxiety, but there are calming beds, Thundershirts, supplements, and more that have all been designed to help improve your dog’s mood. If you are unsure, talk to your vet about the right supplements for your pup. Your dog may specifically be dealing with separation anxiety, which is surprisingly common.
Digging behavior can sometimes be an indication that your dog is in pain. If they are hurt in some way, especially with arthritis, it can be challenging for them to get comfortable. The digging may be an attempt to make a more comfortable bed for themselves. If your dog exhibits this behavior often, especially if they toss and turn frequently after lying down, it may be time to schedule a vet appointment.
Dogs also dig to hide their treasures. Your dog might be digging on the bed to keep other dogs from finding their favorite toys or bones, not understanding that this approach won’t work on a bed. When you notice your dog digging on your bed, look around. If you see a dog toy or bone nearby, your dog may simply be trying to hide it.
If your dog seems to be trying to bury their treasures in your bed, you could try helping them bury their treasures in a more appropriate location. Make a note of which items your dog has when digging on the bed. The next time you let your dog outside, put those items outside with them. This will give them a chance to bury them in the yard. Once they do that, they should feel no more need to dig on your bed.
Dogs have scent glands in their paws, and digging leaves their unique scent behind. It could be that your dog is simply trying to mark the bed as their territory. This is especially likely if you have multiple dogs.
Giving your dog their own dog bed may solve the problem or at least save your bed from the obnoxious digging behavior. Purchase a good quality dog bed that will not easily tear, and it may just become your pet’s new favorite place to be.
Yes, that’s right – your canine companion may just be digging to find out what’s underneath your cushy comforter! Sometimes your pup is just curious and may wonder if that lump under the covers is a toy or food they’ve left behind. Curiosity isn’t just for cats, you know!
If your dog doesn’t stop digging on your bed no matter what you try, it may be time to consider taking your dog to a dog behavior specialist. The specialist should be able to get to the root of the problem and suggest some alternate methods for dealing with the problem that may be better suited for your specific pup.
At the end of the day, most of us don’t want to discourage our furry friends from giving us a cuddle at the end of a long day. If you find that your pet just won’t stop digging on your bed and it’s disrupting your routine (not to mention your sheets!), try the above methods. On the contrary, now that you know why your dog is engaging in this behavior, you might not mind it as much.