Why do dogs dig on beds and couches? Have you ever been relaxing watching TV at night, and your Westie goes over to lie down in its bed, only to start digging incessantly at it?
It can seem frantic, not to mention the noise and how destructive it can be.
If you are fed up with beds getting dug up, torn apart, and ruined, then you may be looking for answers.
In this guide, we will talk about why dogs dig on beds and couches, where the behavior comes from, and how you can prevent it.
Common Reasons Your Dog Digs On Beds And Couches
For many dog owners, digging can potentially be a problem.
You may be buying more beds than you realize, and the bills start adding up.
With this kind of behavior, it can stem from a variety of causes. Some of these are below:
Preparation For Napping
Wild dogs would naturally dig for a comfortable space to lie down to sleep.
This is to keep safe from other animals in the area, and can make the ground softer to nap on.
While your Westie will have a nice comfortable bed to sleep on, and is not sleeping in the wild, it may still have digging instincts before napping.
This is commonly shown when your Westie digs or circles around the bed before sleeping.
Looking For Food
Your dog may also dig at its bed or couch when it can smell something there.
They could be digging for food or looking for fallen crumbs underneath the cushions.
Dogs can also do this on carpets and rugs in the search for lost food.
Some dogs may enjoy hiding items in order to protect them.
They may dig at their beds or on couches to hide a ball or a favorite toy within the folds.
Some dogs, such as Westies, may also hide their food and kibbles in these places and will dig to do so.
Enjoying the Scents
If any scents from soil, dirt, or debris have been carried around the house, your dog may dig at certain places to captivate those smells.
Scents can excite dogs, and you may not realize that there are smells on the couch or the bed that can invite your dog to start digging.
Dogs can get stressed and anxious just like we humans do.
When dogs become stressed, they may exhibit unwanted behaviors which are a way of dealing with that stress.
Some dogs bark, some whine, some dig, and some chew.
When your Westie feels overwhelmed or stressed, they may start digging, scratching or damaging furniture.
Their beds are often the first port of call as it is the nearest thing to them, but if they are allowed on human furniture, they may destroy this too.
Anxiety and stress is the leading cause of destructive behavior in dogs.
To Cool Off
Again, in the wild- some dogs would dig holes to cool down in.
Digging is a means of finding shelter from hot temperatures, so if your dog is hot, it may dig at its bed to cool down.
Attention or Boredom
Dogs know when a behavior gets a reaction out of us.
If you have scolded your dog before for digging, they may do it when bored to get your attention and incite you to chase them.
Even if it is negative attention, such as you running after them and shouting at them, they will still do it because it gets attention from you.
Preparing For Birth
Finally, another common reason for digging at beds and couches is to find a safe place to give birth.
Dogs will start nesting and begin looking for a den to give birth in when pregnant.
Some may prefer confined spaces, whereas others may prefer to dig and create their own den.
Is Digging An Instinct For Dogs?
It is important to note that this is not a naughty behavior.
It is simply unwanted by humans. We humans have different standards to dogs.
For dogs, digging is a natural instinct and a behavior that comes naturally to them.
It is an instinct for dogs to want to dig at their bed as this is what they are born to do in the wild.
Dogs would dig holes and create a comfy, safe environment to rest in the wild.
However, if your dog just digs a little on their bed or on the couch before resting, this is not really an issue.
It becomes an issue when your dog is scratching and digging at beds and couches, as this can be destructive and cause damage that costs money to fix.
So, you will want to prevent this unwanted behavior.
How To Stop Your Dog Digging On Beds And Couches
How you prevent your dog from digging at beds and couches depends on the cause of the problem.
For instance, if you think that your dog does this when bored, then it is vital that you provide ample mental stimulation and exercise for your Westie.
Try offering new toys and playing with your Westie bestie more often.
If you think that your pup is making a den to give birth, then it is best to introduce and provide them with a whelping box or a safe space for them to relax and have their puppies.
If you think your dog is doing it to create a better bed for themselves, or to be territorial, then it could be time to limit access to furniture.
Provide them with a bed or a crate that can be ‘their safe space’ where they can go when they want to sleep.
You will have to start training your Westie not to go on the furniture with place training.
You can encourage your Westie to go onto its bed and reward them with positive reinforcement.
If your Westie is destroying things out of anxiety or when left alone, you may have to try crate training.
Crate training encourages your dog to relax and unwind when it is in its own place.
A crate is a cozy den for your dog, not a punishment, and should only be used as such.
If the digging persists, it could be time to speak to a dog trainer or behaviorist.
To summarize, we hope this article has provided insight into why your Westie is digging at beds and couches.
With a little training and a lot of positive reinforcement, you can limit this behavior and enjoy cuddling up on the couch once again!