The Root of the Behavior
Dogs often dig at the ground, floor, furniture, and their dog bed or your bed before lying down as a natural instinct. Dogs are den animals that would dig a hole in the ground large enough to comfortably sleep and protect themselves from harsh elements and predators. While this was a necessary task in the wild, your dog doesn’t necessarily need this instinct or skill while living his safe and happy life as a domesticated dog. Your dog might be trying to make his dog bed a bit warmer before he goes to sleep. The scraping of his paws on the dog bed causes friction and warms up the bed a little which helps him avoid the shock of the cold fabric on his skin. It’s similar to when humans jump into a pool of cold water. Wouldn’t it be nice if the water was heated at the perfect temperature to avoid the shock of the cold hitting your skin?
Some dogs are quite pampered and like to fluff their cozy dog beds before lying down. It provides maximum comfort for dogs that like to feel cozy. In this case, your dog will do this on a regular basis, compared to dogs that are just feeling cold and want to warm their beds. Boredom is the reason dogs do a lot of things. While digging at his bed might be an instinct that is embedded in his DNA, he also could just be bored. Dogs that are bored can express themselves in a variety of ways such as digging at their bed. If your dog expresses this behavior on the furniture and any other surface around the house, he could be showing you he’s bored and needs the entertainment to distract him. This type of excessive behavior can be prevented in a variety of ways.
Encouraging the Behavior
As a pet parent, you might want to discourage this behavior if it leads to excessive behavior that results in your furniture getting damaged. If you feel that your dog is digging holes simply because he is bored, you can do your best to discourage the behavior. Your dog may just feel like he has nothing to do even if he has a dozen toys around him. Dogs like to be busy and work for their owners to please them. If your dog is bored and keeps himself entertained by digging at his bed, your furniture, or worse, it’s time to distract him.
First, observe your dog and write down what is happening in the moments directly before he starts digging. Is he being ignored? Are his toys in another room where you can’t get them? Is he hungry? Is his bed clean? These are all questions you need to answer to help determine the cause of his boredom. Once you see a pattern or pinpoint the triggers that spark his digging behavior, you can then assess the situation. If he is being ignored, try to spend more time with your dog. Are hunger pains causing his excessive digging on his bed? Make sure you are feeding him the right amount of food according to his height, age, weight, and health status.