Annie has a large personality. She makes sure that she is known to the world, despite her small size. Yet, you have noticed she has gained a new habit of hiding. Although this seems odd to you because of Annie’s large presence, it is quite a normal behavioral trait in small Chihuahuas. Annie loves to burrow herself in the blankets that sit on the couch and hates when they are taken away from her. In fact, she now does it quite often. Due to this, you now have decided to search for the truth of why Chihuahuas burrow in blankets, so you may better understand your dog, Annie.
The Root of the Behavior
Chihuahuas are animals that love to be seen but sometimes they avoid that tendency and burrow themselves into blankets. In fact, all dogs are considered to be “denning” animals, which means it is their natural instinct to hide, sleep, and relax in small spaces that feel safe. This may be why many recommend that you crate-train your dog and use your crate when you need to leave your dog alone. There are many different reasons why your dog may burrow under blankets, especially if your dog is a Chihuahua. Annie may burrow under the blankets that sit on the couch for one reason while her Siberian Husky companion, Casey, loves to burrow for another reason. Yet, what exactly are the reasons why Chihuahuas burrow? Chihuahuas are small dogs and they do not have heavy coats, which means they can get cold easily. Annie may choose to burrow herself under the blankets on the couch because she is cold on a winter morning.
Yet, there may be other reasons that are a bit more complex for your dog’s burrowing. Dogs are prone to anxiety and small spaces calm that reaction. Anything from loud noises to being left alone too long can trigger anxiety in your dog. Blankets act as a form of security and safety, and anxiety may be only one reason why your dog needs to burrow. Your dog may be fearful, stressed, or have other abnormal issues going on. Finally, your dog may be burrowing because it is just really comfortable, especially if the blankets are near you because dogs love to bond and spend time with their owners. Chihuahuas specifically have this tendency because they are small dogs and they were bred to be loving companions to their owners. Being alone, cold, or in a chaotic space does not make for comfortability or safety in Annie’s world, but being burrowed in a safe stack of blankets near a fireplace where her owner sits makes all the difference in the world. It is the Chihuahua nature to react to their surroundings by burrowing. Don’t be alarmed if your dog loves to cuddle up!
Encouraging the Behavior
It is essential that you give your dog comfort and safety. Regardless of the breed, it is universal for dogs to desire safety, comfort, and an occasional time to bond with their owner. Yet, it is important to know that environment is everything. If Annie is in a quiet room with her owner sitting next to a fireplace, she will be ecstatic and may burrow up to make her time even better but if Annie is in a chaotic room with many people, she may burrow up in the blankets to hide because she is scared. You are going to need to watch over your dog and observe her environment and decide what works for her and what does not. For one dog, a loud noise may be an issue but for another dog, it could be complete silence while they are left alone. Once you decide what your dog needs, you can then make decisions on how bothersome their behavior is.
Yet, for the most part, your dog will use burrowing as a comforting ritual. Don’t be alarmed if your dog makes burrowing a ritual each night. Annie may burrow in her blankets and take around five minutes each night finding the right spot for it but her companion Casey may take a few minutes, finding the perfect burrowing spot on a cold afternoon day. You may also find that your dog uses burrowing as a form of digging and hiding. This can equate to similarities of a wild dog because they would hide their food or even themselves at times. Yet, you definitely are not going to want your dog digging in your yard or making a mess while they burrow. Most dogs that do this have high energy levels and exercise will be extremely important. Take your dog out for daily walks or to the park to play whenever you can. You can also train your dog in basic obedience commands to help with any chaos that is occurring.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Just as we love to feel like we are home in our comfortable space, so do our dogs. If you feel like your dog is having issues with chaos or anxiety in the home, burrowing may be the option. Yet, you may want to add in your dog’s crate. Many puppies are crate-trained and it is wise to continue that training as your dog gets older, especially if there are tendencies to need small and confined spaces. In fact, your dog may even enjoy their crate if they love to burrow. It is a small and safe which may block out loud noises, anxiety, and any chaos that your dog is feeling. You can even cover their crate up if they can see out of it. This will give them the illusion that they are alone in a small space. If this does not help your dog’s behavioral issues, you may want to take your dog to the veterinarian or see an animal behavioralist.
Annie is a beautiful canine who loves the world she lives in. Yet, sometimes she has the tendency to burrow in the blankets that sit on the couch. Although this seems odd to you, Annie is doing it because it makes her feel better. It brings safety, comfort, and satisfaction into her life. As owners, it is important that we take care of our dogs and help them in any way that we can, even if it means letting them cuddle in our blankets.
By a Golden Retriever lover Erika Seidel
Published: 04/06/2018, edited: 01/30/2020