Why do dogs dig on beds and couches? Have you ever noticed this behavior in your own dog? He’ll come in from outside, hop up on your furniture, and start digging with his front paws before he gets comfortable.
Maybe you think this habit is cute and just want to learn why it’s part of your dog’s routine, or maybe you find it extremely annoying and want to learn how to modify the behavior.
In this guide, we’ll take a peek at dogs’ habits and why they feel the need to dig in your furniture, and we’ll also talk about a few ways you can help eliminate the behavior.
Before scrolling down this guide, “Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds and Couches,” check out: Best Dog Bed For Diggers! (2023) and Why Do Dogs Sleep at the Foot of the Bed? 6 Reasons! (2023).
Digging on Furniture May Be Instinctive for Dogs
We’re going to start this exploration with a question: when dogs dig on beds and couches, is it part of an instinctual habit?
In short, it can be. When dogs were living in the wild, long before they had Kong toys and fluffy beds, they made dens. To make their homes more comfortable and warm, these canine ancestors would dig the earth beneath them before settling in for the night.
Your dog might be digging at your bed, couch, or even your carpet in an instinctual attempt to make their home for the night more comfortable. Of course, you have air conditioning and rugs so this isn’t really necessary. But your dog is just doing this out of an ancestral habit — he doesn’t understand carpets!
In addition, your dog’s great-great-great grandparents may have dug around in their earthy sleeping spot to conceal themselves. Hiding from predators was critical to the survival of dogs in the wild, so creating a more obscured den was crucial to longevity. Those instincts have remained, creating another reason your dog may be digging around in his cozy spot before he lies down for a nap.
As you can see, dogs dig on beds and couches naturally, but that doesn’t mean you appreciate the behavior. Later in this guide, we’ll talk about a few ways you can help your dog lose this habit.
Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds and Couches?
There are quite a few reasons why your dog may be digging into your furniture. It can lead to damage to your belongings, so you’ll want to stop the behavior as soon as possible.
To break your pup’s habits, though, you’ll need to know why he’s digging in your furniture. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for this strange, destructive activity.
Digging on Furniture for Temperature Control
When your dog is outside, he probably digs. As you probably know, the surface temperature of the yard may vary from the earth underneath. For instance, in the hot summer months, your dog may dig to find cooler ground beneath the sun-soaked grass. In the winter, he may “burrow” a bit to find warmer earth beneath the surface.
This is natural and normal, though you may not appreciate the holes in your yard. All this is to say that sometimes dogs dig on beds and couches for similar reasons. Your pup may rustle around some carpet, your couch cushions, or your bedspread in an attempt to cool or warm his space before taking a nap.
Thankfully, you can help your pup break — or at least minimize — this habit. A cooling dog bed or even a heated one can help him manage his body temperature, making it less likely that your pup will engage in this destructive behavior.
Crate your dog at night in a climate-controlled area of your house. While you’re away at work or school, find an area of the home that will be safe and comfy for your dog and contain him until you get home.
Even if your dog continues to dig, providing him with a crate or bed will help ensure that he’s digging his own space, not yours! Please note that it’s not a good idea to leave your dog crated all day. You and your vet can discuss comfortable and safe options for your dog if you need guidance.
Dogs Dig on Beds and Couches to Manage Emotions
Have you ever had a bad day when you wanted nothing more than to go home, grab a blanket, and curl up on the couch? Well, dogs nestle into cozy spots to help manage their feelings, too.
Your dog may use his digging instinct as a way to calm his nerves, manage anxiety, or alleviate boredom. It’s not meant to be destructive, and your pup doesn’t understand that you paid for that couch.
If you find that your pup is becoming destructive with his digging, you’ll need to take a look at the dog’s emotions and help him better manage them.
Providing toys for him to play with throughout the day can be a huge help. Hiring a dog walker or pet nanny to come by and play with your baby while you’re away can help him feel less anxious, too. Doggy daycares provide fantastic opportunities for dogs to socialize in a safe and fun environment.
Dogs Dig to Hide and Find Things!
Why do dogs dig on beds and couches? Well, they may be looking for something. Dogs have a habit of digging in the ground to bury and retrieve their toys and other little things they find interesting, so it makes sense that they’ll attempt the behavior in your home, too.
Alternatively, maybe it wasn’t your dog’s doing at all! Your dog has a very keen nose, and that popcorn you ate on the couch last night smells mighty tasty to him right now. Your dog may dig in the cushions to find those yummy little morsels you left behind.
The problem lies in the sheer fun of this activity. Let’s say, for instance, that your dog hops up on your couch and uses his little paws to nestle or to find a hidden treat. Suddenly, he hears the oh-so-enticing sound of your couch cushion tearing.
What fun! Your dog may get excited about this unexpected “toy,” and begin to dig to find out what else will happen. This, of course, is unwanted behavior. But please note that your dog doesn’t know that your couch isn’t a toy or a natural space that he can dig to his heart’s content.
Obviously, you’re going to want to curb this behavior in a hurry. Some pet parents find that they can all but eliminate the damage done to furniture by placing a thick blanket or chair cover over their furniture. Others choose to train their dogs not to jump on the furniture at all.
Dogs Dig on Beds and Couches for Attention
If your dog is a habitual offender, you’ve likely addressed the issue with him in the past. In other words, sometimes dogs dig on beds and couches for attention.
Immediately remedying this problem is simple — just give your dog attention. Use your “pet parent voice” to indicate that this is unwanted behavior, then divert your pup’s attention to more directed play or an appropriate toy. Bring him outside for a walk, or just toss a ball down the hall for him to chase.
Some trainers recommend that, when you hear the sound of your pup tearing up your furniture, you make a sudden noise to attract their attention. There’s no need to scare your dog — just let him know you have eyes on him.
Once your dog is listening, give him a verbal command such as “stay” or “sit,” and reward him for stopping his behavior. With time, your dog will get the hint that digging on your couch, bed, or carpet is not an acceptable activity.
Your Pregnant Dog May Be Nesting
If you have a female dog about to give birth, you may find her nesting on your furniture. This is absolutely natural but doesn’t have to be tolerated.
In this particular instance, it’s important to provide a safe, secluded area for your dog to give birth. A room with low traffic is best, as your dog will likely remain in place after her puppies are born.
Once your dog’s puppies are born, keep them all in their designated space, free from distraction and heavy foot traffic. Speak to your vet if you have any questions about which area of your home is best suited for this purpose.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Digging on My Furniture?
Now that you know the reasons for your dog’s digging, it’s time to learn how to lessen or eliminate the behavior.
- Train your dog. Teach him this isn’t acceptable behavior, and divert his attention when he does begin to dig. A firm voice and rewards for positive behavior will go a long way in eliminating the behavior.
- Make sure your pup has a comfy place to nest. Whether you supply a fluffy dog bed or a blanket designated just for your pup, your dog is less likely to dig when he has a special spot of his own.
- Lay down a carpet protector, nubby-side up, near your furniture. Leave the protector there until your dog learns to stay away from your bed or your couch.
- Don’t allow your dog on the furniture. Establish ground rules when he’s very young — the furniture is off-limits!
- Provide pregnant dogs with a comfortable and secluded place to nest.
- Provide your dog with entertaining toys to use throughout the day. If you leave home for work, leave these toys out and rotate them week by week.
- Pay attention to your dog’s social cues. If he’s bored, anxious, stressed, or nervous he’s more likely to dig on your couch or other furniture.
- Spend time with your dog! Your dog will be less likely to get bored, he will have positive behavior reinforced more regularly, and you’ll get to know your dog better. This means that you’ll pick up on his cues more quickly and will be better equipped to nip this undesired behavior in the bud!
- Give your dog a climate-controlled space. Remember that if your dog gets too hot or too cold, he’s more likely to dig in your furniture.
- Provide your dog with a crate, then crate-train him! While it’s not recommended that you crate your dog all day, a space of his own can make it less likely that your dog engages in destructive behavior while you’re away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dogs follow their instincts by digging to secure their spot and leave their scent before lying down.
Too much pent-up energy can cause dogs to go wild with the zoomies.
Older and weaker dogs can have issues sleeping in a bed with their owners, including getting on and off the bed without stairs or a ramp. Allergies, parasites, and fleas are also a concern. Additionally, it can be uncomfortable to sleep with a dog that takes up too much space in bed.
Conclusion for “Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds and Couches”
There are quite a few reasons your dog may start digging on your bed, couch, or other furniture. Emotional issues like anxiety or boredom are common reasons. Pregnant dogs will nest, and dogs will dig to regulate their temperature. Dogs dig on beds and couches to find lost treasures or just to play, too.
Your dog’s digging may be instinctual, but it’s certainly a behavior you don’t want to encourage. Pay attention to the signs your dog is giving you to determine the cause of his digging. Then provide distractions or environments that will help divert your dog’s attention to other activities.
If you find this guide, “Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds and Couches,” helpful, check out:
- Why Does My Dog Scratch the Carpet? (2023)
- Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets? (2023)
- Why Do Dogs Arch Their Backs? (2023)
Learn more by watching “Why Do Dogs Dig In Their Beds?” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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