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Why does my dog dig on the couch?
By Dr. Ellie Bartos, DVM
As a veterinarian, I spend a lot of time treating dogs that live inside, but I can honestly say that one thing that surprises me more than anything else is the frequency with which they dig holes on furniture, the couch, the bed, etc. Usually, the only time I see this type of behavior is during the fall, winter and spring, and dogs that have access to the outdoors aren’t bothered by it. We’re talking about dogs that live indoors and dogs that live inside the car, so how does this behavior show up?
This type of behavior really bothers me, and for this reason I spend a lot of time researching this topic. I also spend some of my own time observing owners’ dogs in order to determine what triggers their digging behavior. Of course, a lot of people I work with are really surprised when they hear about this, since they can’t figure out why their dog would be digging. In this article I’ll explain some of the various aspects that cause this behavior, but first let’s focus on what some people mean by “digging”.
What is a Dig?
According to a recent article by the International Association for Canine and Feline Behavior and Rehabilitation (IACBFAR), the word “dig” can be used in a variety of ways, depending on who you’re talking to. There are two main ways that we typically use the word “dig”, and these are the “crate digging” and “trampling” types of digging. The second type is what some people call “hole digging”.
A lot of people use the word “dig” when describing crate digging, because many of them equate this behavior with simply opening a door to the crate and having the dog dig or “dig down” to the floor in order to explore. However, just because you can see the dog’s paw or nose in the crate floor doesn’t mean that they’ve actually dug there. When talking about crate digging, there is a lot of emphasis put on the fact that the dog is actively engaged in this behavior when they’re in the crate, rather than in the crate merely because they’re curious. As such, some people refer to this as a “desperate” type of digging, because it is only exhibited when a dog has nothing else to do with their time.
Trampling is a very common type of digging, but many people don’t consider it a type of digging. This is partly because this behavior is often exhibited when the dog is looking for something. When a dog “tramples” a location on the ground or floor, they usually “dig in” at least a little bit before searching for something. As such, trampling is one of the more common digging behaviors exhibited.
Grooming in dogs is typically a passive act. This is because many dogs can’t be bothered to groom themselves at the same rate that humans can. In dogs, grooming is usually something that a dog does while sleeping, when they’re bored, or when they’re on walks. In dogs, grooming is less likely to be exhibited when they’re feeling stressed. Therefore, if a dog is not displaying any other signs of stress when they’re grooming, it is very likely that this is a passive activity.
A dog’s bark is something that is typically more directed towards their environment, rather than their dog. Dogs typically bark in response to their environment, such as people, animals, and other dogs. In fact, many dogs will bark if there is even the slightest possibility that something outside is about to come through the door. For example, the dog is pacing in their kennel, trying to be heard over the sound of the person getting ready to come home from work. When the person opens the door, the dog will bark.
The barking is not directed towards their owner. It is directed towards the things outside, such as other dogs and people. Barking serves as a warning to get their attention or to get people to react to them. As such, it’s quite possible for a dog to bark at their owner to get their attention or to get something to do for them.
Dogs can dig. Digging is something that is often exhibited in dogs, but can also be exhibited in children and even adults. Sometimes digging can also happen when a person or dog is under stress, when they’re bored, or when they’re trying to get attention. When digging occurs, it can be quite damaging to the dog’s environment. Digging can result in the removal of soil from the home and the damage to carpet and bedding.
When diggers have a purpose behind their actions, digging may be a means to get the attention of their owners or to show off. For example, a dog that is curious and likes to be picked up will dig a small hole in an area of the yard and then jump into it. This is most likely meant as a game to get the owner to pick them up, and not as a means to be destructive.
Pacing is a very common habit of dogs. While pacing can be a normal activity for dogs, it can also indicate a problem. Many dogs exhibit a tendency to pace if they’re anxious or if there is a lack of appropriate stimulation in their environment. When dogs pace, they can go over a specific area and walk in a very consistent and repetitive pattern.
Pacing is a very common nervous behavior in dogs, and may not always indicate a serious problem. It can occur if the dog is in an unknown area, or if he or she is feeling overstimulated. If a dog begins pacing in a specific place or area repeatedly, then there is a possibility that the dog is anxious or nervous and is trying to cope with the situation.
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