You take your pup’s freshly washed blanket out of the dryer and arrange it nice and neatly on their bed. As soon as you turn your back, Fido has grabbed the neatly arranged bedding and made it into a messy pile. Does this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. Dog owners around the world deal with the same blanket rearranging dilemma. Digging, scratching, and moving their bedding around is a common behavior among dogs both young and old. But why is it exactly that your dog is moving his or her blankets around so much? And is it something you should be worried about?
The Root of the Behavior
A dog's natural instinct plays a large role in many of their behaviors. Some experts feel this is the case when it comes to your pup moving and scratching at his or her blankets. One such instinct comes from your pup's wild ancestor's habit of scratching at piles of leaves, dirt, or pine needles. The act of moving the materials around is to create a comfortable mound of bedding. By moving his or her blankets around, your pup may actually be trying to create a snug nest in which to sleep. Another behavior you may have noticed with your pup is them acting territorial. By scratching at and moving their blankets, Fido may actually be marking his or her territory. When a dog scratches at something there is a distinct scent left behind. This is due to a special gland that is located on dog's paws and in between their toes. Claiming territory is very common among both male and female dogs alike.
If you have a female dog, the act of moving blankets around could also be a maternal instinct. Female dogs do what is known as 'nesting' in order to get ready for new puppies. Your expectant mother may carry her blankets, dig at them over and over, and even drag them to another location. This is all in preparation for her new babies' anticipated arrival and making sure there is somewhere nice and comfy to give birth. There are some smaller breeds who are historically used for small prey hunting who move their blankets around to create 'tunnels.' Terriers and small hounds may burrow into their blankets from an instinct to flush small animals out of their tunnel homes. This need to burrow can also be seen in larger breeds in order to stay warm or find a safe place to sleep.
Encouraging the Behavior
Making sure that your pup has a comfortable place to sleep is essential. And as long as there is nothing medical related causing issues letting Fido drag, scratch, or tunnel his or her blankets shouldn't be a concern. If you do decide to try and lessen the behavior, there are a few things you may consider. One is to place a large, heavy blanket on top as the cover of your pup's bedding. The heavier blanket on top may deter your dog from wanting to drag it around, especially for the smaller breed dogs. Adding more blankets may also be a solution. This creates a softer texture for your pooch to lay their precious little head when sleeping. If comfort is the issue, a thicker place to sleep could help Fido be able to relax more quickly without all of the extra effort. Being able to snuggle down into the cozy nest you have created may just satisfy their instinctual need for a den-type area. We have all heard the phrase "location, location, location" before. The same holds true for your dog's sleeping area. It may be that Fido is just not happy with where you have put the dog bed. Moving their bed to another location could be a simple solution to the blanket moving and dragging.
Other Solutions and Considerations
You may notice that your pup circles excessively when moving around his or her blankets. If your pup can't seem to get comfortable and cries when lying down, it could be a sign of some underlying medical condition. Dogs suffering from arthritis may exhibit these behaviors when trying to lower themselves down to rest. Getting Fido to the vet for a full exam can determine if it is indeed arthritis or another medical issue that needs treatment. Even us humans get up and down more slowly the older we get. It is only natural that the same applies to your fur baby as well.
Your dog's ritual of moving, nosing, or tunneling into his or her blankets is just another adorable quirk to love. As long as Fido is not being destructive, you should just relax and enjoy the show. Letting our dogs give in to some of their primitive instincts is important and can make for a happier fur baby in the long run.