Recently, I found a thick carpet in a thrift store. I think it looks like a warm bedding my dog can use to build a nest. I put it on her two other blankets and carefully stuffed it up to fit the shape of her bed. The next time I went to see her, she took off the new quilt, dragged it to half of the room, and left it there. I found her curled up, sleeping on her old quilt.
I don't know you, but I have many bedtime rituals. Many of them have become so accustomed that they are now close to instinct. For example, regardless of the temperature, my sheets and blankets must be arranged in a certain order. If I happen to be away from home, I always get up earlier than when I am in bed. Comfort will affect my sleep ability and quality. Does our dog observe a similar bedtime ritual? Let's answer some questions about dog nesting behavior, including:
- Why does the dog spin around before lying down?
- Why do dogs scratch the floor?
- Why do dogs dig holes in the bed?
Sometimes her turning radius is as small as her 3 x 2 foot dog bed in winter, and at other times as wide as a point on the fence outside in summer. No matter what time of year, when I watch my dog surround her chosen sleeping place, it will never stop fascinating me. What motivated her to spin before taking a break? Just like my own unique bedtime ritual, walking in circles can build dog comfort in several different ways.
Long before the dog can snuggle in our bed or have its own suitable dog bed, hovering is a safe and comfortable method. In nature, surrounding selected locations is a method used by dogs to ensure the uniqueness of the place where they sleep. Trampling on tall grass or leaves will cause enough disturbance to expel any creatures that might be hiding there, such as strange snakes, rodents or insects.
Circling is also a safety measure. The dog's paw pads have several little-known or predictive characteristics. They are one of the few surface areas on the dog's body that have sweat glands. More closely related to the problem at hand, dog paws also have odor glands. A few turns around a favorite sleeping area-whether it's a piece of mud or a suitable bed-effectively tag it with the smell of a dog. If you have watched an old western movie, a group of pioneers "circling the wagon", the dog circling may play a similar defensive role. This allows the dog to investigate his location before settling down.
Why do dogs scratch the floor?
There are many variations of this question; for indoor dog owners, one of the most popular and confusing questions is, "Why do dogs scratch carpets?" This is a question that always plagues humans. After all, the dog is inside! The surface she was scratching, whether it was carpet, tile or hardwood, was not a malleable material. We are frustrated because the carpet is torn or damaged, and those other surfaces may need to be polished or polished, or worse, retain claw marks.
Cat owners buy their pet cat trees and scratching posts, but our puppies and dogs rarely have such regulations. Some of these breeds or types of dogs, terriers and hunting dogs are accustomed to digging and burrowing, whether for prey, safety or smell discovery. If your dog is a cave dog, but spends most of the time indoors alone, then her basic identity is denied. Giving her more time outdoors, in the yard or in the dog park, may help her meet her basic needs.
A dog scratching on the carpet may do this as part of preparing for sleep. Dogs don't care about the aesthetic integrity of your household items. Like turning or circling, scratching has many practical uses, at least one of which is related to sleep. This may be part of an instinctive bedtime ritual, related to her favorite resting place. Hovering several times will fill a place with the smell of the dog. Scratching can play a similar role, physically marking and declaring a location. Dogs are habitual animals just like us. I have seen my own dog rehearse the entire pattern: scratching, circling and resting.
Why do dogs dig holes in their beds?
Digging, like scratching, is another bedtime habit noticed by dog owners. This is another habit or behavior that cat owners are accustomed to, even if they don't know anything about the basic principles behind it. Cats digging on the bed are equivalent to kneading. Just like a dog scratching and digging to create a comfort zone, regardless of its effect on your sofa, bed, or carpet, cats knead at their resting point, even if it means stab your leg in the process.
Although the amateur gardeners among us sneered at this, it is understandable that dogs dig holes in the garden. After all, the earth is flexible, and the dog can dig until she is satisfied. Of course, the dog can distinguish the ground outside from the floor of your favorite quilt, your bed, or her own crate. The material composition of the dog bed is not as important as the movement.
As far as sleep is concerned, lying on the bed may be habitual and instinctive, or it may be related to temperature. In nature, digging in the bed is a way to control extreme temperatures. Because dogs have limited sweat glands, when it is hot outside, dogs may dig nests, exposing a larger body surface area to cool soil. In cold weather, curling up in a homemade pit helps concentrate the available body heat.
Does your dog hover, scratch or burrow on or near his bed?
After doing research for this article, I realized why my own dog abandoned her new blanket in favor of her dilapidated nesting materials. It is because the old is dilapidated. I have seen her hovering over them and stepping under their feet countless times. I have seen her scratching them with her claws and going deep into them repeatedly.
In fact, she marked these things enough to use them as her bedding. I am disappointed that my dog is dragging the new warm blanket is not her problem. This is a foreign element invading her comfort zone. Only when she uses her mouth to tear the new one with her claws, and gives her her own odor, it is suitable for use.