Digging is an activity that dogs love. Dirt, water, and even products can be impacted by their love of digging. Since we don’t exhibit the same behavior, it is baffling for humans. Especially if you just splurged on a cute new bed, only to find they destroyed it. What causes this behavior?
The first thing you must know is that this behavior is common and normal. You will find dogs of all ages and breeds that will try to dig in their beds. Ignoring the behavior will not get them to stop either. Some signs that your pet is about to dig include: circling the bed area, trying to create a tunnel with blankets, or piling items. This behavior is built into the natural psychology of the dog. Wild dogs, the predecessor to your current pet, were infamous for pilling dirt, rocks, and leaves to make a bed. This is part of a wild pack animal’s nesting process. Your dog is following this instinct, even though it has a pre-made bed. Grabbing blankets or other items is also a natural instinct. Scratching is also a territorial action. You may see your dog try to mark its territory while on walks. Digging is a similar action because it ingrains the scent of the dog into the bed. Female dogs will also tend to want to mark territory for their young to find.
Now that you know the reasoning and history behind the action, strategies can be deployed to stop it. Dogs are less likely to scratch softer or more comfortable environments. Make sure that your pet loves the bed it sleeps on. There are many manufacturers out there will different product types. Find one that works best of your pet. There is also the training and behavioral modification method. Make it clear that every time you see your dog digging on the bed, that you are disappointed. Reward them if the behavior stops for a few days or a week. This will encourage better habits through positive reinforcement. There are many chew-proof and chew-resistant dog beds available, but ideally these should be purchased as a last resort.
Another strategy is to allow them to engage in their natural instinct in a more appropriate spot. You could train your dog that they are allowed to dig, but only in a designated spot. This allows them to soothe, while not destroying your house. A typical suggestion is to find an area of the backyard. This area might have dirt, not be noticeable, and will be away from plants, trees, and grass. The reward of digging outside will show them that inside the house must be respected. This method may not work as well if you leave the dog bed outside. Also, more digging in dirt may require more grooming of your pet. If that method does not work, there is one other alternative. Scratch-resistant beds exist. Look at different materials to decide the best match. Lastly, medical checkups can eliminate other factors that made your dog engage in destructive behaviors. Many disorders, including thyroid, can cause a dog to act out.
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