Why Dogs Scratch Their Bed Before Sleeping?

They say a dog is a man’s best friend. Most dogs are domesticated and offer companionship and security to their owners. As much as this statement may hold true, the dog, before being domesticated, was once a wild animal. They therefore still exhibit elements of behavior associated with their wild ancestry. A dog will turn around just before lying down, sometimes scratch on the bed before lying on it. There are several explanations attributed to this behavior. Here are some of them.

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1. Natural Instinct

The dog is closely related to wolves, jackals, foxes and many other canine creatures that still live in the wild and dig out dens to hide their young ones. This usually serves as a security measure to safeguard them from predators and also to make them comfortable. It is this inherent instinct that domesticated dogs still exhibit to date. It is what the dog family has been doing for generations and even the presence of a comfortable bed wouldn’t deter them.

2. Increased Comfort

Similar to man rearranging pillows and smoothening the bedsheets before getting into bed for greater comfort, the dog has this same urge to be comfortable. The dog bed is usually not as big or sophisticated as that of man but they still have the need for comfort. Their wild ancestors used to shift small rocks, twigs and earth to sleep comfortably and that behavior has become vestigial in them to date.

3. Territorial marking

Like most animals, dogs are very much concerned with marking their territories. Some animals urinate around the area they want to lay a claim on, some fight for it while others like the dog sometimes scratch around to mark their territory. It is important to note that dogs also urinate to mark their spaces. However they also have sweat glands located in their paws such that when they scratch around their territory they leave their scent behind. Thus when you see your dogs scratching on their beds, it is a way of laying claim to that which they believe is theirs.

4. Coping with outdoor water conditions

When your dog sleeps outside, sometimes the weather conditions may not be favorable for him. He may dig and scratch around to make the sleeping area cooler or warmer, whichever is suitable for him. If it’s snowing he may scratch around to remove the snow and have a warmer surface to sleep while digging fresh earth might be an attempt to sleep on a cooler ground.