Do you wake up to find your bedding being scratched by your dog and wondering why he is doing so?
Did he do that just to get your attention or is there more to that?
Let’s find out the hidden reasons for his scratching behavior.
Your dog will scratch on your bedding for various reasons, such as investigating the food scent from the bedding, making his nest, seeking warmth, marking his territory, hunting insects found on the bedding, relieving his boredom, alleviating his itchiness, a bad behavior he had picked up or just a maternal behavior.
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Food Scent From Your Bedding Attract Him
Do you have the habit of eating food in your bed?
The aroma of the food residue that you have left on your bedding could have attracted your dog.
He will probably think that there is food “hiding” in your bedsheets and that will make him curious and start scratching the bedding looking for it.
So make it a habit not to bring any food to your bed and to have your bedding washed regularly.
Making A Nest For Himself
It is common to see your dog digging a hole in the garden to prepare for a good spot to rest when you let him out for a play.
That is a natural instinct for dogs to survive in the wild when the weather gets too hot or cold.
They will dig to search for a comfort spot for them to “take cover” either from the changes in weather conditions or from their predators.
This is what your dog is doing on your bedsheets. He is scratching to make a nest for himself.
Seeking Warmth From Your Bedding
Your dog is trying to get to the underneath of the bedsheets by scratching on them as he believes that would get him more warmth.
This is based on the belief that he had when he was digging a hole in the garden for his resting spot.
The deeper he digs, the cooler the spot.
Seeking Familiar Scents
Your bed sheets and blankets often carry your scent, which helps your dog feel at home and comfy. Your smell makes your dog feel secure and less anxious.
By scratching and digging on these items, your dog is just trying to make the area even more cozy with your scent.
Marking His Territory
Your dog will scratch your bedsheets as a way to mark his territory.
This could be the case when you have another pet on your bed and your dog senses his smell on the bedding and will try to mark it and claim his space.
It is advised to keep your dog away from your bed by installing a baby gate to prevent him from entering the room or to wipe down the bedding using a deodorizer that your dog hates.
You should also work on correcting his possessive behavior.
He Is Hunting Down His “Prey”
Your dog has seen insects such as lizards or cockroaches running around your bedding, and he is trying to get hold of them.
He will scratch the bedding in an attempt to get them out of the bedsheets.
If your dog belongs to hunting breeds such as Beagle, Golden Retriever or Jack Russell Terrier, you will find him more likely to perform this “hunting” behavior as it is a natural instinct that is inherited from his ancestors.
It is important that you understand your dog’s behavior so that you can take action to stop him from continuing this “hunt”.
He Is Trying to Relieve His Boredom
When your dog is feeling bored, he is likely to do something destructive.
For instance, your dog might scratch your bedsheets or start chewing on your furniture or even his own crate!
So make sure that you have plans for some activities to keep him busy and help him release his energy.
Physical games such as fetching, tug-of-war, playing hide-and-seek or chasing after bubbles are great ways to help your dog let off his excessive energy.
As the saying goes, “A tired dog is a good dog” and this statement certainly holds!
Also, get him some chewing toys or bones that he can get his mouth on whenever he feels bored.
To Alleviate Itchiness Feelings
Your dog feels discomfort (itchiness) when he sits on your bedding and that makes him scratch his coat and your bedsheets as an attempt to ease his itchiness.
This can possibly be caused by bedbugs or an allergic reaction to the material of your bedding or the detergent that you have used to wash your bedsheets.
In fact, it is not a good idea to allow your dog to sit in your bed as that might cause his dominance behavior.
You see, when you are at the same “level” as your dog in the bed, he will not see you as his alpha and will want to establish his position of dominance in the house.
This may result in his dominant behavior down the road.
A Behavior That He Had Picked Up
Dogs have a special connection to each other.
They learn from each other and exchange behaviors, sometimes even starting a whole new behavior themselves.
You can observe this phenomenon at the dog park.
When one dog starts the scratching behavior, the other will follow.
So, if your dog had seen your other pet scratching on your bedding, he would start doing it too.
Maternal Behavior (If you have a female dog)
During pregnancy, your dogs’ protective instinct is kicked into high gear, and she is probably preparing an area for her babies to stay in that is safe and secure.
She will feel that having a nest that is close to you will be the best choice as you will protect her and her babies because you are her Alpha.
She will start preparing her nest (by scratching your bedding) for her babies.
Tips for Managing Bed Sheet Scratching
Bed sheet scratching can be a frustrating behavior displayed by dogs, but with some proactive measures, it can be effectively prevented and managed.
Here are some strategies and techniques that can help address this issue:
Provide Adequate Exercise and Mental Stimulation
One of the primary reasons dogs scratch, paw, and dig on bed sheets is due to pent-up energy and boredom.
Ensuring your dog gets plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day can help reduce their destructive behavior.
Engage them in regular play sessions, provide interactive toys, and consider puzzle toys that challenge their minds.
Create a Comfortable and Stimulating Environment
Make sure your dog has a comfortable and cozy bed of their own. Provide blankets and pillows that they can dig and scratch on.
Adding toys or treats to their bed can also incentivize them to engage with their own space instead of your bed sheets.
Use Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement training can be highly effective in modifying your dog’s behavior.
Whenever you catch your dog engaging in appropriate behavior, such as resting on their own bed or playing with their toys, praise and reward them with treats or verbal affirmations.
This will help them associate positive experiences with their preferred behaviors.
Set Clear Boundaries and Redirect Their Behavior
If you catch your dog scratching, pawing, or digging on your bed sheets, firmly say “no” to interrupt the behavior.
Then redirect their attention to their own designated scratching post or a suitable alternative, such as a scratching pad or a stuffed toy.
Consistency is key in training them to understand the appropriate places to satisfy their scratching instinct.
Keep in mind that bed sheet scratching is not limited to a specific dog breed. It can be exhibited by dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages.
However, certain breeds with high energy levels or a natural inclination to dig, such as terriers or hunting breeds, may be more prone to engage in this behavior.