Does your Yorkie have a strange bedtime ritual?
Maybe it spins around a few times in bed before getting comfortable?
Or perhaps it digs and scratches at its bed before it lies down?
Many Yorkshire terriers do both.
First of all, this is nothing to worry about. Your dog is perfectly normal.
But we do understand that it could be a problem. You spent good money on a dog bed and your little pup is slowly destroying it.
Is there anything you can do?
Keep reading to learn why Yorkies dig in bed and what you can do about it. There’s no reason you should have to keep buying new dog beds every few months.
Why Do Yorkies Dig In Bed?
Yorkies dig in bed, because it is their primal instinct. This instinctual behavior makes them feel safer and more comfortable in bed, prior to falling asleep.
It is common for Yorkshire Terrier Dogs to dig in bed before going to sleep. Not all Yorkies do it, but most do. Chances are that your Yorkie also likes to dig in bed.
The main reason your Yorkie might dig in its bed dog is instinct. But digging in bed can also be a sign of stress, anxiety, and other issues with which your Yorkie may be dealing. In most cases, this behavior does not indicate a problem and is nothing to worry about.
However, you may not like that your Yorkie is destroying its bed, since you had to pay for it and will have to pay for another one. We have a section below that will help you put a stop to the digging. First, let’s take a look at the main reasons Yorkies dig their beds.
Natural Dog Instinct
As mentioned above, the digging behavior in most Yorkies is the result of a primal dog instinct. You must understand the evolution and history of dogs to learn why your Yorkie digs in its dog bed.
Before becoming man’s best friend, dogs lived in the wild They developed specific behavioral habits to survive. Among other things, dogs needed to make a shelter to stay protected from the weather and other serious threats.
Digging was a part of making a shelter, so they develop a digging habit. While you may provide your Yorkie with a comfortable dog bed, the digging behavior is still imprinted in its DNA.
Another reason for dogs to dig in their bed is to claim their territory. There are two primary reasons why dogs like to mark their territory on a spot they love.
First, all dogs, including Yorkies, are descendants of wolves. Their distant relationship with wolves explains the scratching and urge to claim territory.
Usually, dogs like to mark their territory with their urine, but dogs don’t want to urinate so close to their bed. Instead, they’ll use their paws to mark their territory.
Additionally, like other four-legged creatures, your Yorkie has scent glands on the pads of its feet. Scratching and digging in bed stimulates the scent glands on the dog’s paw to release more distinct pheromones.
Basically, Yorkies, and other dogs, claim their territory and mark a sleeping place by using their feet to dig in it. The scent allows them to relax and sleep easily.
Most of the time, you do not need to be concerned about your Yorkie’s scratching habits, even if it digs in bed every night. However, there is always the possibility that something might be bothering your dog.
If your Yorkie looks frustrated when digging in bed, you should check if your dog has long nails. Sometimes dogs, and other pets, scratch their paws when their nails are too long or sharp, or when they are damaged. If this is the case, you need to take care of your Yorkie’s nails.
You can trim your Yorkie’s nails at home without needing a specialist. However, if you don’t know how to do it, you should take your dog to a pet groomer or a vet. Cutting the nails incorrectly can cause your dog pain.
Seeking comfort is one of the most common and obvious reasons why Yorkies like to dig in bed before sleeping. Like humans, dogs prefer softer, comfier beds over more rigid sleeping surfaces.
To that end, Yorkies often circle a dozen times and dig in beds to make them more comfortable. Doing so creates a hollow space in their dog bed, providing them with the space to help them find a comfortable resting position more easily.
Additionally, dogs in the wild used to create a hollow space to deal with changes in temperature. Your Yorkie might dig in its bed to cool down its sleeping place in the summertime, or to make it warmer in the winter.
Finally, dogs have an instinct to dig and hide. It is one way they can stay safe in the wild. Feeling that they are somewhat hidden while they sleep allows them to feel more comfortable and sleep a bit easier.
Your Yorkie should be able to sleep comfortably after scratching its paws and digging in bed. After all, it creates a comfortable space that doesn’t feel foreign. However, that may not be the case with all dogs.
Some dogs might get even more compulsive with rituals like circling and digging in bed. Digging in bed might also wind some Yorkies up rather than calm them down. If your dog displays disturbing behavior, it may be dealing with underlying anxiety.
In this case, you should consult a vet to find the cause of stress, unless it is an obvious cause. In that case, take steps to rectify whatever is causing your dog to feel stressed.
If your Yorkie is female and is expecting a litter of puppies, digging could be an attempt to create a nest for her soon-to-arrive puppies. In fact, female dogs will dig to create a puppy nest even when they are not pregnant.
How To Stop Your Yorkie From Digging In Bed
You can help your Yorkie stop its digging behavior using a few simple strategies. Of course, if the digging is due to anxiety or a medical issue, you will need to address those problems to stop the digging, The advice below will help with normal cases of digging, meaning it is due to instinct, comfort, etc.
Oftentimes, Yorkies develop digging rituals to release energy. When your Yorkie feels extra energetic, it is more likely to scratch and dig in its bed. To keep your stop your dog from digging, you need to ensure that it gets enough exercise during the day.
You could increase the number of walks per day to help your Yorkie expend energy. Or you could increase the duration of each walk, if they are currently on the short side. You don’t want to overdo it either, though. Generally, keep it to 30 minutes maximum.
You can also give your pup an additional exercise session per week like a game of fetch or tug of war. Basically anything that has your dog expending a lot of energy.
You can also use distraction training techniques to distract your dog from its digging ritual and break the habit.
Gather a collection of dog toys and divide them into four categories or groups. Then give your Yorkie with only a single group of toys. Make sure it can’t access the other group of toys.
When your dog begins to dig or shows signs of unusual behavior, you can expose it to a set of toys that is not usually available. This way, it will be easy to distract your Yorkie and switch its attention towards the toys.
Your dog is highly likely to forget about the digging behavior and get busy investigating the new toys.
Rewarding dogs is a one of the top strategies to encourage good behavior. Rewards build a sense of achievement and dogs are quicker to learn new skills this way.
It is always best if you can avoid yelling at your dog. It is counterproductive and can actually make it more difficult for your dog to learn new habits and break old ones. Rewarding good behavior is always better than punishing bad behavior.
If you have already taught your dog the 7 basic commands, then it will understand the “off” command. You can use that to tell your dog to stop digging, then reward when it complies. If your dog does not know this command, use the digging as an opportunity to teach it. Every dog should know it.
Scratch Resistant Dog Bed
If you don’t want to modify your pup’s natural behavior, but you also don’t want to constantly have to buy new dog beds, make sure your next bed is scratch resistant.
There are a lot of durable beds available for dogs that like to chew and scratch. They won’t last forever either, but they will last a lot longer than beds that are not designed to withstand this type of abuse. Buy the best dog bed for small dogs you can get, so that it can stand up to the digging behavior.
If your dog has long sharp nails, it will obviously do more damage to its bed. Trimming your pup’s nails more often will limit how much damage it can do.
Why Yorkies Dig In Bed: Conclusion
In most cases, Yorkies digging in bed is normal. It is something most dogs do instinctually. However, if you want to curb or eliminate this behavior, you can follow the suggestions we listed in this article.
In some cases, the digging can be due to a health problem or anxiety in your dog. If that is the case, you will need to treat the issue to curb the digging behavior. It is best to contact your vet for medical problems.
For anxiety, figure out what is causing your dog anxiety and fix it. Yorkies are prone to separation anxiety, so if you are leaving your pup home alone for much of the day, that may be the problem.