Why Dogs Dig Before Laying Down

Why dogs dig before laying downMy dog has a ritual that makes the entire family groan. Just when we’re all settled in to watch our favorite movie or TV show, it begins……scratch, scratch, paw, paw……pause…..(not done yet)…..scratch, scratch, paw, paw, PLOP! The inevitable sounds of our dog scratching away at the floor of his crate before laying down.

It’s only a mere 15 seconds, but long and loud enough to miss an entire segment of our TV program, thus the groans from family. The mute and pause buttons on our TV remote are highly utilized.

Instinctive Ritual

The reason why dogs dig before laying down is most likely due to hard-wired behavior from the days when dogs slept in the wild. Unfortunately, our dog’s ancestors didn’t have comfy, cozy beds provided to them by humans, so they had to make their own. They would use their paws and nails to smooth the surface, scratching away any sticks, stones, or other outdoor elements.

Digging would also create a shallow groove where they could lay, and find comfort in the cooler dirt below. In the colder months this shallow bed could provide some warmth.

why dogs circle before laying downCircling Before Laying Down

Spinning circles before laying down is another form of an instinctual behavior from our dog’s former days in the wild. This provided a means of stomping down the grass, leaves, weeds, or snow prior to settling down for a nap.

Snakes, bugs, and other pests were abundant, so circling could also be a way to rid them from the area and make it safe and secure.

This Is My Territory!

It’s possible that digging and circling were used to claim territory, leaving behind flattened grasses, and a scent, signifying to other dogs that this space is taken!

Our dogs may now be domesticated, but there are certain behaviors that remain a part of their make-up nevertheless. In my opinion, this is what makes them quite amusing creatures to watch and observe.

Does your dog display any unusual nighttime rituals? If so, we’d love to hear them, so please leave a comment below!


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