Why Do Dogs Dig on Beds and Couches? Facts to know

Dogs are fascinating creatures with a diverse range of behaviors, some of which can puzzle and even frustrate their human companions. One common behavior that many dog owners encounter is the tendency for dogs to dig on beds and couches. 

This behavior can leave us scratching our heads and wondering why our furry friends engage in such seemingly destructive activities. 

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind why dogs dig on beds and couches, delving into both instinctual and environmental factors that contribute to this behavior.

Instinctual Behavior

Digging as a Nesting Behavior: Digging is an instinctual behavior deeply rooted in a dog’s ancestry. Wild canids, such as wolves, foxes, and wild dogs, often dig dens or burrows as a means of creating a safe and comfortable space for themselves and their young. 

This instinctual behavior can still manifest in our domesticated dogs, leading them to dig on beds and couches as they attempt to create their own cozy nests.

Maintaining Temperature and Comfort: Digging behavior can also be attributed to a dog’s natural instinct to regulate their body temperature. By digging, dogs can create a cooler or warmer spot depending on their needs. 

The surface of a bed or couch might feel more comfortable to them, allowing them to dig and create a cozy space that suits their temperature preferences.

Territorial Marking and Scenting

Claiming Ownership: Dogs have a highly developed sense of smell and use it to gather information about their surroundings. By digging on beds and couches, dogs can leave their scent behind, essentially marking the area as their own. 

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This behavior is an instinctual way for dogs to establish their territory and communicate their presence to others, both canine and human.

Seeking Familiar Scents: In some cases, dogs may dig on beds and couches due to the presence of familiar scents left behind by their owners or other animals. 

Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell to navigate and understand their environment, so digging on these surfaces might be a way for them to seek out the comforting scent of their human companions or even other animals that have previously occupied the same space.

Boredom and Lack of Stimulation

Excess Energy: Dogs are energetic creatures that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. When they don’t receive enough physical or mental activity, they may engage in destructive behaviors such as digging. 

Digging on beds and couches can be a sign that your dog is trying to release pent-up energy and find a way to entertain themselves.

Seeking Attention: Dogs are social animals and crave interaction and attention from their human caregivers. If they feel neglected or bored, they may resort to behaviors like digging to gain attention. 

Even if the attention they receive is negative, such as scolding or reprimanding, it can still reinforce the behavior, leading to a cycle of digging and attention-seeking.

Anxiety and Stress

Coping Mechanism: Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety and stress. Digging on beds and couches can serve as a coping mechanism for dogs dealing with emotional turmoil. 

The repetitive and physical nature of digging can help alleviate stress and provide a temporary distraction from their anxieties.

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Comfort-Seeking Behavior: For some dogs, digging can be a way to create a sense of security and comfort. Nesting and burrowing behaviors can help dogs feel more protected and alleviate feelings of vulnerability. 

When they dig on beds and couches, they may be trying to create a safe haven where they can retreat and find solace.

Addressing the Behavior

Provide Suitable Alternatives: To redirect your dog’s digging behavior, it’s essential to provide them with appropriate outlets for their instincts. 

Offer them a designated digging area, such as a sandbox or a designated spot in the yard, where they can satisfy their natural instincts without damaging furniture. Encourage and reward them when they dig in the designated area.

Increase Physical and Mental Stimulation: Ensure that your dog receives enough exercise and mental stimulation to help alleviate boredom and excess energy. 

Engage in regular play sessions, provide interactive toys, and consider training activities that challenge their minds. A tired and mentally stimulated dog is less likely to engage in destructive behaviors.

Create a Comfortable Environment: Make your dog’s sleeping area comfortable and inviting by providing cozy bedding and blankets. This can help satisfy their nesting instincts and discourage them from digging on other surfaces, such as beds and couches. 

Additionally, try to minimize anxiety triggers in their environment and provide a safe space where they can retreat during stressful times.


Understanding why dogs dig on beds and couches requires a deeper exploration of their instincts, environmental factors, and emotional needs. 

By recognizing the underlying motivations behind this behavior, dog owners can take appropriate steps to address the issue and provide their furry friends with the necessary outlets and comfort they seek. 

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With patience, consistent training, and a focus on meeting their physical and mental needs, we can help our dogs find healthier and more constructive ways to express their natural instincts.