The digging behavior of dogs originates from their ancestors. While living in the wild, dogs developed certain essential habits for their survival, such as shelter and protection. Moreover, dogs would dig a shallow hole into the soil to protect themselves against the environment. But dogs are not wild anymore. So then, why do dogs scratch their beds?
Well, their ancestor instinct makes them continue the traditional digging work. Jokes apart, but this is the main reason. However, there are other reasons too. So let's dig in to understand why do dogs dig in their beds and how to stop them.
Territorial marking is the way dogs show other dogs that a particular place is now their 'territory.' To mark territory, dogs secrete a pheromone gland by urinating at that spot, and the other dogs can smell the gland and stay away. Dog scratching bed is similar to the habit of scratching the ground. Do you know why dogs dig in blankets? It is to show that now it is his belonging and no one should touch it. The habit of digging can be due to insecurity, assertiveness, or the curiosity to know about a new place or thing through investigation.
Marking The Space Safe
During wild days, dogs would ensure the place's safety. For example, they would turn in circles and scratch at the ground to ensure there was no danger. Also, it was a way to scare away snakes, rotens, and other crawling creatures.
Dogs would protect themselves from predators by creating a space below ground level. Then, they would scratch the ground with their fingernails to investigate if there was something that could harm them. Similarly, dogs scratch the bed due to their instinct to investigate the new place. This way, they make sure the marked space is safe for them.
Dogs need comfort! While living with the wildlife, dogs would make their sleeping space a comfort zone. Scratching helped them soften the hard surface by moving leaves and underbrush to cover the dirt. This soft place allowed them to sleep peacefully.
Thus, due to this instinct, a dog scratching the bed is normal. Moreover, the shallow hole made it easy for dogs to hide from predators. Thus, like their ancestors, dogs tend to get the bedding material underneath them to feel safe and comfortable.
Have you ever wondered why do dogs dig in blankets? Dogs habitually scratch or dig their blankets in search of warmth. Scratching the bed is due to the instinct to dig the ground and sleep on leaves, sticks, and dirt. It was a warming up or cooling down process by the wildlife creatures. By sleeping below the ground level, their body temperature would regulate the earth's temperature. And dogs would get the much-needed warmth. If your dog digging at bed is seen more often in the winter, it's a sign that it needs warmth.
Dogs get anxious if they sense any change in their regular place or see any new family member. They scratch or dig the bed by getting restless and aggressive. It would be best if you tracked their behavior regularly. Trying to calm them down by patting their back with love will bring down their anxiety. If not, consulting a vet practitioner should be considered.
If a dog scratches the bed by jumping on and off, playfully or anxiously, it might have smelled something underneath the blanket. Even a slightly different noise may spark curiosity, eventually leading dogs to their natural instinct of scratching. Due to a strong-smelling sense, dogs love to explore and get into complex situations. Thus, they are always apt to wear an investigative hat and start digging a blanket.
4 Ways To Protect Your Dog's Bed Against Scratching
Try these 4 simple ways to protect your dog's bed against scratching.
Trim Your Dog's Nails
Digging the bed before sleeping is a ritual for dogs. But if they have long and sharp nails, it may harm the bedding area. Also, their nails may get injured and infected. Hence, it's necessary to trim their nails regularly. Trimming their nails will prevent the furniture and bedding area from getting damaged.
Give Them Other Ways To Play
Dogs might often feel restless while digging or scratching the bed. However, your dog might lack stimulation if this habit is more than a normal ritual. Provide your dog with some physical and mental activity to boost its energy. Divert their attention by giving them other ways to play.
Exercising like walking, swimming, or engaging them in some motor skills will evoke their enthusiasm. Dogs love to be challenged and are curious masters. For mental stimulation, provide them with some puzzle toys, gundog training, nose work games, obstacle courses, etc. This way, dogs will feel more relaxed and sleep instantly without trying to scratch your bed.
Invest In A More Durable Bed
You may try enormous ways to stop your dog scratching the bed. But, due to instinct, it's a hard-to-die habit for dogs. The least you can do to mitigate the damage is invest in a more durable bed. Various tough, chew-proof, and dig-resistance dog beds are available in the market. In addition, investing in comfortable orthopedic or memory foam dog beds will surely give you peace of mind.
Provide Them with Suitable Temperature
One reason dogs scratch bed is to regulate their body temperature as per the atmosphere. Make sure to provide them with a fan or air conditioner to keep them cool in a hot climate and a blanket or a heater for warmth in a cold climate. It will lessen their habit of scratching too much.
Now you know the origin and scratching habit of your canine friend. Though it's impossible to stop your dog digging at bed completely, you can implement the above-given ways to mitigate their bedtime ritual.
If your furry friends are anxious and stressed during bedtime rituals, consult a vet practitioner and care for them with lots of hugs and love. Taking care and providing love and shelter to others, especially dogs, is the natural origin of human ancestors!