← Back to Journal

Understanding Your Dog's Bed Digging Behaviour.

21/05/23 – Dog behaviour

Dog behaviour.

At Holler, we believe that understanding your furry friend is the first step to a blissful and thriving companionship.

Have you ever caught your dog in the act, their little paws scratching away at their bed or perhaps your own? If you've found yourself puzzled and asking, "Why does my dog dig on my bed?" or "Why do dogs dig in bed?" – you've come to the right place.

Let's journey into the fascinating world of canine behaviour to unravel this mystery.

The Bed-Digging Phenomenon Explained

Dog bed digging is more than just an endearing (or sometimes, a slightly annoying) habit – it's a behaviour ingrained in their DNA. It harks back to their wild ancestors, who used to dig to find comfort, safety, and even stow away their treasures.

Comfort and Temperature Control

Wild dogs dug into the earth to create a comfortable space that was cooler during sweltering summer days or a cosy spot to curl up in during chilly winter nights. So, when you ask, "why do dogs scratch their beds?" the answer lies in their instinctive pursuit of comfort. They're just trying to fluff up their sleeping area and make it 'just right.'

Nesting and Safety

Another reason why dogs scratch their beds is to create a sense of safety and familiarity. The digging action helps to release their scent from their paw pads, marking their territory and making the space feel more like home.

Hiding Treats or Toys

Have you ever wondered why your dog hides treats in your bed? It’s the same digging instinct at play. Dogs often bury their food or toys to hide them from potential predators, a behaviour that remains with them even though they're now living the good life with plush beds and an abundant supply of treats!

The Science of Digging: How Dog's Paws are Designed for Digging

Dogs are naturally equipped with the perfect tools for digging – their paws! Understanding the structure of your dog's paws can provide valuable insights into why and how they dig.

Strong Nails

The most noticeable tools on a dog's paw are their strong nails. These robust, curved structures act like tiny shovels, allowing dogs to scoop up dirt, snow, or whatever material they're digging into efficiently. Regular nail trimming is crucial, not just for maintaining your dog's comfort but also for preventing damage to their beds and other items from enthusiastic digging.

Webbed Feet

Certain dog breeds, like the Labrador Retriever, have webbed feet. This structure provides an added advantage when it comes to digging. The skin connecting their toes helps move more material, making their digging more effective.

Thick Paw Pads

The paw pads act like a built-in shock absorber and protect the rest of the paw from the impact of digging. They also offer extra traction, helping the dog gain a better grip when they're digging in challenging terrains.


Often overlooked, the dewclaw is the fifth, somewhat 'thumb-like' digit on a dog's paw that doesn't touch the ground. While they're not directly involved in digging, they can provide additional grip and stability when a dog is digging enthusiastically.

Dealing with Excessive Bed Digging

While bed digging is an instinctive behaviour, excessive digging can sometimes lead to damage to their beds or your own. At Holler, we're all about preserving those favourite cosy spots for our furry friends. So, here's what you can do if your dog's bed-digging behaviour becomes a little too vigorous:

Provide Suitable Toys

One of the solutions is to provide your dog with suitable toys that satisfy their digging instincts. Choose from various options available like digging mats or interactive toys. Remember, these toys not only entertain your dog but also work wonders in curbing excessive digging.

Regular Exercise

An abundance of pent-up energy could also lead to excessive digging. Ensure that your furry friend is getting enough physical exercise throughout the day. Regular walks, playtime in the park, or even a game of fetch in your backyard can help expend their energy and keep them content.

Training and Positive Reinforcement

Training your dog to understand the command 'No Dig' can be beneficial. Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praises when they obey. Remember, patience is key when it comes to training any new behaviour.

Proper Bed Care

Choosing a durable, high-quality bed like the ones available at Holler can withstand your dog's digging behaviour. Additionally, regular care and maintenance of the bed are also essential. Regular washing not only removes any hidden treats but also keeps the bed fresh and inviting.

A Deeper Look into Digging: Understanding Other Dog Digging Behaviours

While we've been focusing on bed digging, your dog's digging behaviour isn't limited to their beds. You may have noticed them digging in your backyard, their favourite park, or even on your carpet. Understanding these other forms of digging can provide you with a more comprehensive view of this instinctive behaviour.

Unusual Dog Bed Behaviour

While bed digging is common and harmless, some bed behaviours may need your attention. For instance, why do dogs lick their bed? The answer could range from normal cleaning behaviour, enjoying the texture, to anxiety or health issues.

If your dog is excessively licking or digging at his bed or shows signs of restlessness, it might be worth a visit to the vet. Sudden changes in behaviour are often signs that your dog might not be feeling well.

Can Certain Breeds Be More Prone To Digging?

While digging is a behaviour common to all dogs, certain breeds may be more prone to this behaviour. Breeds like terriers and dachshunds, originally bred for hunting and burrowing into dens, might have a stronger digging instinct. Understanding your dog's breed can help predict and manage these behaviours.

How Does Age and Development Stage Affect Digging Behaviour?

Your dog's age and stage of development can play a significant role in their digging behaviour. Puppies may dig out of curiosity and to burn off energy, while older dogs might dig to find a cooler or more comfortable spot to rest. Recognizing these patterns can help you address any potential issues effectively.

Why Can't My Dog Jump on The Bed Anymore?

Changes in your dog's ability to jump on the bed could indicate age-related issues, joint pain, or other health problems. It's crucial to consult with your vet if you notice any sudden changes in your dog's mobility. Consider providing them with specially designed dog stairs or ramps to assist their movement.

How To Redirect Your Dog's Digging Behaviour

If your dog's digging has moved from the bed to your backyard, redirecting their behaviour might be necessary. Consider creating a designated 'digging zone' in your yard filled with soft sand or soil. Training them to dig in this spot can save your garden while allowing them to follow their instinct.

Creating a Dog-Friendly Space with Holler

Understanding your dog's behaviours and needs is crucial in creating a comfortable, dog-friendly space. At Holler, we're not just about providing top-quality dog accessories; we're about fostering a lifestyle that prioritises your dog's wellbeing.

While you can't stop your dog from digging in bed altogether (it's in their nature, after all), you can certainly manage this behaviour. Provide them with the right environment, exercise, and bed, and they'll have everything they need to be their most comfortable, content selves.

If you've ever asked why dogs dig at their beds before lying down, now, you understand it's more than just a cute idiosyncrasy. It's a part of their rich, fascinating canine world that we get to share. And isn't that part of the joy of having our furry friends in our lives?

In the journey of understanding and loving your pet, remember that Holler is with you every step of the way. Providing love, care, and quality products for your fur buddies is what we do best because we believe that every wagging tail deserves the best.

holler  holler