Does your dog seem to scratch, paw, dig or fluff their pillows and bedding before laying down? Have you ever wonder why your dog has the need to fluff their bedding? It almost makes you want to laugh. Is your dog picking up on human behavior? I assure you this is not the reason they attempt to rearrange their bedding behavior laying down.
There are several reasons why your dog exhibits this behavior. It’s perfectly natural and you shouldn’t be very concerned at all with this behavior. Dogs have natural instincts and comfort levels just like humans do. Some of these types are just inbred into them.
The Root of the Behavior
The main root of a dog pawing and fluffing his pillows or bedding is from their ancestral roots. These wolves and wild dog instincts have too many reasons behind them. First, it is because wolves and wild dogs dig a den to be secure and safe. So this behavior is based on them feeling secure. The other reason is that their instincts tell them to conceal their bedding from predators. So this may look like fluffing, but it is a habit that just allows them to feel secure from others while they sleep.
Another reason why your dog may fluff or scratch at his pillow is for temperature control and comfort. Just like humans move pillows, smooth out sheets, and do other things with their bedding at night, dogs are the same way. Pawing or fluffing could help to warm the area or make the sleeping area a little more comfortable for them.
A big reason why female dogs do this is due to nesting. If a female dog is pregnant, scratching her bed, and circling, she may be getting ready to have birth. Keep an eye on her so that you can help her through the birthing process.
A final reason for this behavior may be due to separation anxiety. If you are gone for long periods throughout the day, your puppy may have issues with separation anxiety. A way to remedy this might be to add one of your old blankets or shirts to his bedding. Your scent will help calm this anxiety.
All in all, this is totally a behavior based on instincts and pack mentality. Dogs are creatures of habits and will form sleeping rituals that may not always make sense to you. Don’t let their odd behaviors worrying you too much. Most of the time it is just a natural response to their environment.
Encouraging the Behavior
Most of the time fluffling pillows can be a harmless issue and you can just let dogs be dogs. However if this fluffling, pawing or scratching leads to your dog tearing through there bedding or even your bedding you may want to address this issue. First you can teach your dog to ‘leave it.’ Be sure to reward him for positive behavior with a treat or praise. You can also get strudier bedding for your dog that may be harder for your dog to tear through. Or can remove the bedding all together and have him sleep on the floor. Just be careful and make sure he won’t tear at your carpet.
If your dog is needing a more safe or secure location, you may want to think about cage training. Cage training really gives your dog a place to feel secure and may stop him from ripping up his bedding. It is very hard to change instinctual behaviors in dogs. It takes patience and proper training. Be sure to be consistent with any training method you use and always follow up with praise and treats when appropriate it. Don’t use anger while training your dog. This can make your dog feel more insecure and will not help the situation.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If your dog is fluffing or pawing at his bedding for comfort and warmth you may want to try several other things such as: moving his bed to a warmer area, buying new bedding that is more comfortable for your dog or giving him a changing the thickness of his bed. Sometimes a bed may be too frumpy or too thin, which leads to a level of discomfort. Talk to your local pet store and see what beds most dogs seem to like. Your pet store has a wealth of knowledge that can help you choose the right bed for your beloved pet.
Dogs will be dogs. While some habits we can change, sometimes others we should just let be. As long as your dog is not being destructive or harming himself, let this one be. If it does cause problems, then take appropriate action in training your dog.Having healthy sleep patterns is vital to have a healthy dog.