Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Scratch the Floor Before Lying Down

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Generally speaking, there’s nothing to worry about if your dog has a habit of scratching the floor before lying down. Here are the most common reasons that may explain the behavior.

1. Natural nesting instinct

Dogs might just be exhibiting a nesting behavior when they scratch before lying down to rest. This is a natural instinct where dogs try to make their resting spot a bit more comfortable before lying down. Think about dogs in the wild. They may try to scratch some leaves and dirt until they have a nice “den” to lie down in.

The part you might need to worry about is the floor, especially if it’s a wooden floor. Over time, the scratching might start to wear down the floor surface and create visually unappealing scratch marks. There is one simple solution to this if your dog likes to lie down in the same few spots. Place an old towel on top of the scratching spot. This way, your dog can scratch the towel all he likes before lying down to rest.

2. Spreading their territory

Dogs have scent glands in their paws. Scratching and digging allows them to mark their territory. The way in which they scratch and dig the floor might be slightly different to how they do it when they dig the ground outside. It’s more of a rubbing movement as opposed to an actual digging movement.

3. Anxiety and stress

Some dogs may scratch before lying down because they are slightly stressed or anxious. Perhaps the dog is anticipating an anxious event before bedtime. It might happen if your dog isn’t used to sleeping alone or it could also be a result of the frustration of not getting enough exercise and interaction. The dog might even be anxious about something he spotted on the floor. Perhaps he noticed some unwanted pests and he is scratching the floor to chase them away.

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