Digging on the carpet before lying down might seem strange to humans, but for dogs it is nothing more than a natural instinct passed down from their predecessors. The natural urge to dig allows dogs to tap into their primal side to claim territory, have fun or just get comfortable.
Dogs did not always have the luxury of sharing space with humans who could provide them with safe and comfortable places to rest. Wild dogs would employ digging behaviors to create secure nests where they could safely relax. Dogs that dig into the carpet before lying down are simply exercising a primal urge to build a safe sleeping area.
The bottom of a dog’s paws release a unique scent that is enhanced by scratching the ground. Digging into the carpet or any other surface that they plan to rest on allows dogs to leave their scent as claim for the territory.
Wild dogs would sometimes dig into the ground to enhance comfort by gathering leaves into a pile. Warm temperatures may inspire a dog to dig at the floor in an attempt to find cooler ground. In cooler temperatures, dogs may use digging behaviors to build a warm, cozy den in which to relax. Digging into the carpet also helps dogs find a comfortable position.
Some dogs dig the carpet just for the fun of it. Dogs that have excess energy or are bored sometimes use digging behaviors to release pent-up energy and have a good time. While humans might find it to be a strange source of entertainment, most dogs enjoy engaging in digging behaviors.
Certain breeds, like terriers, are more prone than others to digging behaviors.
While dogs are instinctively inclined to engage in digging behaviors, torn carpets, scratched floors, or unwanted holes in the yard may become a problem for some pet parents. Severe cases may require obedience training to reduce or eliminate the digging behavior.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.