Home / Blog November 02, 2022

Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Beds?

Every dog deserves a comfy space to sleep. But dogs have different sleeping habits than we do: many dogs scratch at their beds before lying down, mimicking the behavior of digging in the dirt. Some dog beds aren’t durable enough to hold up to digging, and it might seem like you should train your dog to stop doing it. Here, we’ve outlined why dogs dig in their beds, so you can understand why it’s important for your pup to have a perch that can stand up to the wear and tear.

why do dogs dig in their beds

Bearassentials

Digging is a natural instinct that helps dogs get ready for sleep

Destructive digging is sometimes a sign that dogs are not receiving enough attention or mental stimulation during the day

Investing in a durable dog bed is one way to make sure that your dog can dig to their heart’s content before drifting off to dreamland 

Did you know?
Dogs dig naps — even after a good night’s sleep, dogs often sleep up to 37% of the day!

Just like people, dogs need quality rest to live their happiest lives. But dog sleeping habits aren’t always what we expect. While most people like to have a cozy, neat space for sleeping, our dogs often “ruin” their beds by scratching or digging in them before they doze off.

The truth is, though you might find this behavior frustrating, it’s actually an important part of how dogs create a comfortable sleep environment. When dogs have a bed they can dig in, they’re able to get comfortable in a way that’s natural to them, even though it might seem unnecessary to us.

Dogs Need to Dig!

Why do dogs dig holes? Because it’s in their nature! So if you’re wondering how to stop dogs from digging in their beds, you may be asking the wrong question.

Dogs dig for many different reasons. They might dig for entertainment or to hunt small prey. But one of the primary reasons why dogs dig is to create a comfortable space for sleeping. Just like we fluff our pillows and air out our sheets, dogs dig to make their beds cozy and comforting.

To us, it might seem like digging doesn’t make a dog’s bed much more comfortable. But the instinct to dig holes before sleeping comes from a much more practical need.

When dogs sleep outdoors on hot days, digging a hole is one way to get out of the heat and into the cool. On the other hand, when the weather is cold or rainy, digging helps dogs find some much-needed shelter.

This is a built-in instinct, so even if your dog has a bed that’s just right, they might still feel the need to dig a bit when they get into it. So go with the flow! Rather than asking how you can get your dog to stop digging in their bed, you can invest in a durable dog bed that stands up to the scratching.

Your dog shouldn’t need to actually dig holes in their bed in order to feel like they’re digging. The right fabric and material will allow them to “dig” without actually ruining the bed. This way, when your dog scratches their bed they can actually shape the material a bit to fit their bodies.

dog looking for his bed

What Dog Breeds Dig the Most?

Certain dogs are more prone to digging than others, based on what they were bred for in the past. Some hunting breeds like terriers and hounds used to be raised specifically to dig out prey from the ground. These dogs can be particularly eager to dig, and you may even spot them routing out small animals like mice on your daily walks.

Should You Train Your Dog to Stop Digging?

If your dog does seem to be digging excessively (and not just to get comfortable!), they might need a little help fulfilling their mental and physical needs elsewhere. It’s not about how to train your dog not to dig: it’s about teaching them when and where they’re allowed to dig.

If you’re not a big fan of your dog digging up your yard, there are other ways they can get in some much-needed dig time. Some people dedicate a particular corner of their yard or garden for digging, encouraging their pup to dig in this area and not in others. A sandbox can also be a helpful tool.

When your dog has a dedicated digging space, you may find that they don’t bring that destructive energy into the house – or across the rest of your backyard.

Enrichment Activities for Dogs

In other cases, dogs dig because they simply have too much pent up energy. Destructive digging can even be a ploy for attention. Just like us, dogs get bored and restless if they don’t have social interaction and activities to occupy their minds.

Dogs need both physical and mental enrichment to stay happy and healthy. Luckily, there are lots of ways to provide this, from walks to playdates to puzzles.

Taking your dog for daily walks is an important part of your job as a dog owner and caretaker. It’s recommended to take your dog for at least one outing per day. This does more than keep your dog physically fit: it also gives them a time to explore new scents and sights.

If your schedule has recently changed and you’re having trouble finding the time to walk your dog often enough, you can always ask for help. Friends, neighbors, and family members are often happy to help out with a walk once in a while when life gets busy. And there’s always the option of hiring a professional dog walker.

Most dog owners know the importance of walking their dogs, whether or not they walk them enough. But what some fail to realize is that enrichment goes beyond walks.

Dogs are social creatures, so if your pup is an “only child”, you’ll want to allow them opportunities for off-leash playtime with other dogs. A local dog park can be a great place for this. If you have friends or family with dogs, arranging playdates is a convenient way for everyone to catch up, humans and pups alike!

Dogs also like mental challenges to keep them occupied. Interactive games like tug-of-war and fetch, coupled with solo challenges like food puzzles for when you’re away, can help keep smart pups occupied. Every dog likes different activities, so don’t be discouraged if one particular toy or game isn’t catching on.

If you follow some of these tips to meet your dog’s physical, social, and mental needs, you may find that destructive digging becomes less of a problem.

furry friends in their bed

Why Do Dogs Spin Before They Lay Down?

Lots of dogs like to turn around in circles before they settle down to sleep. Sometimes this behavior can go on even longer than expected, leaving your dog spinning in circles! It’s not just a cute quirk: turning in circles before lying down is actually a dog survival instinct.

There are many different theories as to why dogs turn in circles before lying down. Some say this behavior is left over from when wild dogs would make beds in tall grass, walking around in circles to pack down the vegetation. Others believe that this behavior carries over from the pack environment, where wolves might turn around before sleep in order to make sure all pack members are present and accounted for.

Whatever the exact origin, we can take a pretty good guess that this circling behavior originated in the wild, where dogs need to make their own beds.

If your dog likes to sleep supported by multiple blankets or pillows, you’ll likely notice them shifting the bedding around to create a more comfortable nest. Turning in circles is one version of this “rearranging” instinct. Our dogs are practically interior designers!

Conclusion

Why do dogs scratch their beds before lying down? It’s all part of a dog’s natural digging instinct. Digging is essentially a dog’s way of making their bed, creating a comfier space to lie in. If your dog’s digging is becoming destructive, though, there are several steps you can take to address the issue.

By investing in a durable dog bed, providing enrichment activities, and creating designated “dig spaces” you can help make sure that your dogs are resting in comfort and peace when they lie down to sleep.