Why Do Dogs Scratch Their Beds?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionWhy do my dogs scratch their bed before going to sleep for the night? (Bob Lopez - Colorado)


Most dog owners will be familiar with this behavior, which is often accompanied by spinning, rotating, head-butting of blankets and other amusing behaviors. This is akin to other apparently compulsive behaviors in dogs that are in fact usually instinctive, such as when a dog has defecated he will often briefly dig with his back legs as if to cover it, even if he's not actually making any difference. For most dogs, scratching at the bed or floor before lying down to sleep is what they would do in nature, where they would gather leaves, moss etc into a comfortable nest. Much like when you go to bed you might plump your pillows or flap your duvet, dogs are simply trying to make sure their bed is comfortable. Normally this is not indicative that they do not have enough comfort, but adding extra blankets or cushions might decrease this behavior.

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