Dogs dig on beds and couches for several reasons. However, they usually only do it before they lie down in the spot they have been digging in.
Reasons why dogs like to dig before they settle down to sleep include:
• Making their bed comfortable, and ‘safe’. The digging is an instinctual habit passed down from their wild ancestors.
• To relieve separation anxiety: Again, the digging is instinctual and helps your dog feel safe and protected when he settles down in his ‘safe and secure’ nest.
• To mark territory: By creating a cozy bed by digging, your dog is also saying ‘this is my sleeping territory’. This is often a reason for excessive digging and scratching when there are other animals in the house. Especially if other pets want to sleep in their spot.
• Because they are bored or frustrated: Dogs confined to the house may dig in the bed because they can’t dig outside. If they are permitted to sleep in the bed, they will dig in the bed, then lie down – whether to sleep or sigh until you get home and let them out.
• Out of habit: Puppies who dig in everything and are not disciplined out of the behavior and will continue digging into adulthood. This can be digging in the garden, digging on their dog bed, or digging in your bed or couch.
• Some breeds are more prone to digging because the behavior is characteristic of their breed.
All dogs dig on beds, here is how to stop them:
The only way to stop your dog having a good dig in the bed or couch, is to not allow them to sleep on the bed or couch.
The best way to do this is to provide them with their own elevated dog bed, to retreat to when they need comfort or ‘time out’. Choose a dog bed that won’t turn to tatters if your dog digs in his bed.
Elevated dog beds are also a good choice for puppies that are being trained out of the digging habit. This is because they cannot dig into the taut material of the bed – and so soon lose interest in trying.
Digging and scratching (whether they dig in the bed or elsewhere) is a normal behavior. Excessive digging can be dealt with through training. However, even trained, grown dogs with impeccable house manners will dig at their bedding before they lie down to sleep.
Trying to stop digging completely may have adverse effects because it is a normal part of his dog behavior. This may cause confusion and anxiety. As a result, your dog may dig in the bed more – especially when you are not at home. This may happen even if your dog does not normally sleep on the bed. You sleep there – and he wants you (and your attention) so he’ll dig in your bed, or on the couch if you spend lots of time there too.