Why Do Dogs Like to Burrow Under Blankets?

Small-prey hunters, like terriers and Dachshunds, tend to show their heritage of flushing out small animals from their tunnels by burrowing in blankets.

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Take your dog to the vet if you think their burrowing behavior is obsessive and damaging their mental (and sometimes physical) health. Photo: reneeviehmann

According to some pet experts, dogs are “denning” animals: It is a dog’s instinct to sleep or relax in a small and protected space to feel warm and safe.

This explains why many dogs actually prefer their crates when left alone at home or to sleep in at night.

Give your dog a comfy, sturdy bed with a couple of towels or small blankets to burrow in, and they will do what comes naturally.

Does Every Dog Burrow?

Small-prey hunters, like terriers and Dachshunds, tend to mimic their innate behavior of flushing out small animals from tunnels by burrowing.

Larger burrowers, like Huskies, live in extreme temperatures that make the instinct to burrow under the snow crucial for staying warm.

Stil other dogs enjoy burrowing, too — regardless of their breed.

Burrowing can also be a sign of hunting behavior. Dogs also like to bury things for later, such as a bone or toy.

Anxiety

If your dog’s burrowing seems obsessive, try to observe if anxiety is triggering it and find ways to ease the anxiety causing the activity.

Is your pet being left alone for long stretches of time? If so, hire a dog walker or give your dog more exercise and things to occupy them when nothing else is going on.

Take your pet to the veterinarian for a checkup to make sure they’re in top health. You can also find certified dog trainers or behaviorists.

Check out this video of a little Dachshund digging his way to a comfortable sleeping position:

My Dog’s Digging Ritual

Every night when I turn out the light to go to sleep, I hear the rustling sound of Lenny, my terrier-mix rescue dog, burrowing in the blankets.

He was with me for a few months before he started tunneling under the covers, but now it’s a nightly ritual.

He digs and turns and noses under his bed for a couple of minutes before circling around a few times and finally settling into his curlicue sleeping position.

Lenny seems to enjoy his nightly ritual, and once he finds the right spot and has his bed the way he likes it, he sleeps happily through the night right next to my own bed.

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Clarissa Fallis

View posts by Clarissa Fallis
Clarissa Fallis is a canine behaviorist and trainer from Upstate New York. She has attended Bergin University of Canine Studies, State University of New York at Cobleskill and Animal Behavior College. She is competent in training all breeds and ages of dogs, though she prefers hounds because of the challenge they present.

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