If you’ve ever come home to find your dog has been digging in your bed, you’re not alone. This behavior is surprisingly common, and there can be many reasons why your dog might be doing it. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common reasons why dogs dig in beds, and how to approach this behavior.
Why Is My Dog Digging on My Bed?
Dog digging behavior originates long before your pup was even able to get a good night’s rest in your bed. In the wild, dogs would dig dens to protect themselves from the elements and predators. This instinct is still present in domestic dogs, even though they no longer need to worry about such things.
Here are some reasons why your dog is returning to this ancient behavior:
Your Dog Feels Anxious
This instinct is a deep survival response and is often difficult for dogs to control. When your dog is feeling anxious or stressed, they may turn to this behavior as a way to cope.
Take some time to consider what may be making your dog feel anxious. Has there been a major move to a new home recently? Is there a new baby in the house? Have you been working long hours and not spending as much time with your dog as usual?
There are many things that can trigger anxiety in dogs, and it’s important to be aware of them. If you can identify the source of your dog’s anxiety, you can work on alleviating it.
Another common reason for bed-digging is simply boredom. If your dog is left alone for long periods of time, it may start to dig in their bed as a way to relieve boredom and pent-up energy.
If you think about it, it’s not very different than when a human gets bored in their home environment and decides to do a spring cleaning or remodeling. It’s a very natural instinct to change the home environment for stimulation and security.
In some cases, a dog may dig in their bed as a way to assert dominance over their territory. This is most common in households with multiple dogs, but can also be seen in single-dog homes.
Dogs have glands on their paws that release a scent when they dig. This scent is their way of claiming their territory and telling other dogs to stay away.
If your dog is digging in its bed as a way to assert dominance, you will likely see other signs of dominant behavior such as aggression, marking, or mounting.
They Found Something
Your dog may be digging for an entirely different reason – they may smell or see something in the sheets! This could be anything from a crumb to a toy that fell under the bedding.
They’re Hiding Something
Dogs will also dig in their beds as a way to hide something from you. This could be a toy, a bone, or even something they stole from your trash can! If you notice your dog is being extra secretive and hiding things around the house, this may be why.
To Get Your Attention
In some cases, your dog may be digging in their bed as a way to get your attention. If you react to this behavior in a way that your dog perceives as positive (for example, by scolding them), they may continue to do it in order to get a rise out of you.
They’re Imitating Another Dog
Do you have another dog in the house that digs in their bed? If so, your dog may be doing it as a way to imitate their behavior. Dogs are highly social creatures and often learn from each other. If they see another dog in the household engaging in a certain behavior, they may start to do it themselves.
A Pain Response
Finally, it’s important to rule out any medical reasons for your dog’s bed-digging behavior. In some cases, dogs may dig into their bed as a response to pain or discomfort. If you notice your dog is only digging when it’s in its bed, and not in other areas of the house, this may be why.
They may want to contour the spot where they’re lying just right to minimize any pain on their joints or any other areas where they are experiencing discomfort.
Your Dog Is Pregnant
If your dog is pregnant and is looking for a nesting spot, it’s common for her to dig. This is most common in the later stages of pregnancy, but some dogs may start to nest much earlier on.
What to Do About My Dog Digging on My Bed?
You should take your dog to the vet for a check-up to rule out any medical causes. If there are no medical causes, you can work on addressing the behavior it home. Here are some great ways to help your dog:
If the digging behavior is a result of stress or anxiety, more physical activity can often help. This will help to release some of the pent-up energy and frustration that may be causing the behavior. You can take your dog on longer walks, give it more outdoor time, or invest in toys that make your pup more active.
Start a Calming Bedtime Routine
If your dog is digging in their bed as a way to get your attention, you can help to calm them down before bedtime with a routine. This could involve some light cuddling, a small bedtime treat and trying to set up your dog’s bedtime spot for them so it’s comfortable and ready to go. In addition to this, make sure to avoid any rough play or activities before bed, as this can increase your dog’s energy levels.
Get a Bed for Your Dog
In some cases, getting a bed for your dog can help to address the issue. This gives them their own designated spot in the house and can make them feel more secure. It’s important to get a bed that is comfortable and supportive to help reduce any pain or discomfort they may be feeling.
Trim Your Pup’s Nails
If your dog’s nails are too long, this can cause them to tear sheets or fabric when they dig. This can be painful for your dog and bad for your home decor! Regularly trimming your dog’s nails can help to minimize the damage they can do when they dig.
Talk to a Trainer
If you’re having trouble addressing the behavior on your own, talking to a professional trainer can be a great option. They will be able to help you come up with a plan to address the problem and teach you how to properly execute it.
Don’t Use Negative Reinforcement
It’s important to remember that this isn’t “bad” behavior, and is simply a way for your dog to communicate. Yelling, hitting, or scolding your dog will only make the problem worse. This can cause your dog to become anxious and stressed, which may lead to more digging behavior. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement methods like treats or praise when your dog is behaving well. This will help in the long-run better than resisting the behavior.