Dogs, like people, frequently adopt pre-bed activities. You might relax with a good novel before turning in, and your sweet pooch, on the other hand, might dig around for a minute in his bed. Although this digging behavior might seem like a totally meaningless action, it isn't.
A lot of canine behavior harks back to their wild ancestors. By digging around in his bed while preparing to sleep, your pet might be instinctively working to get his resting spot as cozy as can be. 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. 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.
By digging in his bed, your pooch might be trying to manage the temperature. If he feels a little too cold or warm, he might root around in his bed as if to access a part of the "dirt" that is just a tad more moderate. In some instances, this might be your cue to adjust the temperature in your dog's sleeping environment.
Claiming His Territory
Bed digging also can be a means of claiming territory and saying "stay away" to other canines in your home. If your dog digs in his bed before retreating to it, he's possibly trying to ensure that his turf is clearly labeled. Dogs' paws are equipped with sweat glands that give off their own personal, identifiable odors.
Other Possible Causes of Digging
Your pet's digging might not have anything to do with his bed. It could just be one place in which he enjoys doing it. Dogs dig around for lots of potential reasons, even if there's not much to "dig" on your rug or on his bedding. Perhaps he's bored and finds the activity fun. Perhaps he's trying to stash away one of his most beloved chew toys before he turns in for the night. Note, too, that digging is especially prevalent in certain varieties of dogs -- think terriers. Terriers were developed for digging purposes, after all.
- ASPCA: Digging
- Animal Humane Society: Digging
- Idaho Humane Society: How to Solve Digging Problems
- The Humane Society of the United States: Dig This - How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging
- Indiana Public Media: Why Dogs Turn in Circles Before Lying Down
- SPCA of Texas: Why Dogs Spin Before Lying Down
- Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats; Karen L. Overall