Lets Take a Look At Why Dogs Do What They Do
Indoors, my dog, Baby, has a hard plastic-bucket bed. Her bedding is made up of layers of quilts and rugs I find at thrift stores. When it’s time for her to settle in for the night, she’ll scratch at or dig into the covers, circle the bed several times and then finally curl up to sleep. Outdoors, by the end of each summer, there are at least two spots in the yard that she’s converted into little sleeping pits.
No matter your dog’s size, breed or age, most seem to perform one or more of these strange bedtime rituals. A patchy lawn is one thing, but it can be a different matter when we discover holes in our furniture cushions or duvet covers or scratches on our hardwood floors. Let’s take a look at why dogs do what they do.
Why do dogs walk in circles before lying down?
The size of Baby’s bed doesn’t give her much of a turning radius, but I’ve watched her circle is countless times. Like a police helicopter hovering around a crime scene, my dog circles the same spot repeatedly then lies down. She does it for a similar reason to establish a secure perimeter.
In the wild, dogs had to be certain their sleeping area was safe from pests and predators. Walking in circles creates enough commotion to startle any snakes or rats from their chosen sleeping area. While we know our homes aren’t likely to play host to these sorts of guests, it doesn’t cost a dog anything to double-check.
Why do dogs scratch at their bedding?
We can’t see or sense it, but when dogs circle and scratch at their beds, they are actually staking a personal claim to that special place. One surprising feature of a dog’s paw pads is its scent glands. When dogs get ready for bed, their feet serve two purposes.