The Naptime Ritual of Digging and Doing Circles

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Hello everyone, CEO Olivia reporting. When I go to bed, there is a ritual I must go through. huMom always finds it amusing because she says I get very intense about it all. First I need to “dig” the bed a bit, this can take a while & sometimes I have to be warned to not rip the sheets. Next I turn. And turn. And turn. At least three times but up to ten times.

This is hardwired dog behaviour. Both behaviours can be traced back to our wolf like ancestors who lived in the wild.

Digging can smooth out or dig a small bowl in the ground. On a hot day this would be to get at the cool earth & in cold weather, it’s a good way to keep in a tight ball to conserve body heat.

But there’s another purpose as well. We good dogs have scent glands in our paws & digging at the ground or on a bed will leave a scent marker saying, “This is my spot, go find your own”.

I generally only dig on the bed. I need the cats to understand this is my bed. If I smell that a cat has been on the bed, I dig with more intensity. However, I’m happy to share the dog bed by the woodstove or the couch. I don’t dig on either of them. I’m only territorial about the bed clearly.

Why good dogs circle around before lying down is a bit less understood. There are many theories. For example, it may have to do with wind direction, a nose facing the wind will quickly detect a threatening scent. Another theory is that we are aligning our bodies with the magnetic field. It is also theorized that we are having a last look around for predators before sleeping. But maybe we’re just nest making. Pack it down, get your scent on it & you have a perfect sleeping spot.

Whatever the reason, it’s a nightly ritual in my home. I’ll even wake up in the night just to turn around a few times. What does your good dog’s bed time ritual look like?

CEO Olivia

 

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