By Wednesday, August 17, 2022 6 No tags Permalink

Lawd help me, I’ve got a digging doodle! 

Every single time we go outside on the porch, I’ve got to watch reruns of this same ole show…

YouTube player

Recently this particular episode (which I affectionately call “Life with Jaxson”) occurred with friends and a full blown discussion erupted #hilarious


was the first question. Before I could open my mouth someone (without a dog I might add) said with ton’s of confidence…

He’s nesting – all dogs do it!

To which a quick rebuttal response of – 

He’s not a SHE – so HE can’t be nesting, that’s only for dogs who are pregnant.

By this time, I lost the power to contain my laughter, because the chatter is getting louder and funnier by the sentence.

At some point, they all stop talking, and ask me to define Jaxson’s behavior – which by the way, had long stopped.

I looked at each of them and as only an expert dog mom could say, I intellectually responded with…

I dunno, digging I guess


do they dig?

I really didn’t know! 

Much later (after they left) I wrote “digging doodle” on my kanban board because as they were talking I too thought of it as “nesting” which is synonymous with pregnancy and used for both humans and animals. 

Jax is a lot of things – but pregnant ain’t one of them #justsaying

I sat down with my main man of information – Mr. Greg Google and here are the questions I wanted to know and the answers I found – 

  • Why do they do it?a natural instinct from the days when dogs lived in the wild. They made an area that would be comfortable and also protect them when they slept. 
  • Is it normal? Very much so!  The digging, scratching and turning in circles for what seems like hours allows them to curl up like a baby and then sleep for hours.
  • What is it really called?Denning. 

I also found out how the two words (denning and nesting) get intertwined –

Dogs aren’t ‘denning’ animals, like groundhogs and other species that live underground, but mother dogs do create a maternal den of sorts into which they settle to give birth. It’s a comfort-seeking behavior, deeply ingrained from puppyhood. The digging and scratching gives them a comfortable surface to lie on.


After being so wrong about my dog regarding another canine habit, I continued to press on and learn more.


that I didn’t know – 

  • wild dogs did it looking for sticks, rocks or other uncomfortable objects to include predators like snakes or scorpions hiding underneath
  • some dogs do it to regulate their temperature during both hot and cold weather. Think sled dogs digging holes in the snow to curl up in to trap their body heat
  • dogs with arthritis or other musculoskeletal conditions may dig trying to find a pain-free position to lay in.

There are oodles of theories about what causes this behavior. No one can say with any degree of accuracy if some breeds are more inclined than others. it’s dangerously easy to fall down the internet rabbit hole with this topic. 

Harley is not a Digging Doodle- so I’m inclined to agree with the experts – it’s the preference of the dog!

Hope my porch partners come back soon, I’d love to drop some of this knowledge on them!

Thanks for reading…

They were wolves once, wild and wary. Then they noticed the sofa ❤️

  • Greg Reid
    August 17, 2022

    “Greg’s” are usually full of information as Mr. Greg Google was.

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 18, 2022

      I agree – I hang out with Greg Google a great deal – now I may not ALWAYS agree with the information he gives me, but he definitely can get me researching in the right direction! Good to hear from you my friend! Stay well.

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    August 18, 2022

    My Standard Poodle is a ‘den-er’ and does it on all of her beds as well as on the carpet. I was told it indeed was a holdover from the wild dog days when orthopaedic beds were scratched out of tree roots, limbs, grass. A lot of times, Elsa will also dig the cover blanket on one of the beds into a heap and then flop on the pile. I’m guessing it’s similar to that one spring that hits us in the wrong spot when we got to bed. Loved the video!

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 18, 2022

      I never thought about the predator piece – that was new news to me! How’s your pack doing these days?

  • Zen's Mama
    August 18, 2022

    I think – if I remember correctly – every dog I’ve ever lived with loved to dig at her/his bed before laying down on it or moving elsewhere to start over. I was about to say “especially Ducky”, but her favorite spot whenever hubby’s dementia reared its ugly head was under the table next to my chair…no room for digging under there.

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 18, 2022

      Hello Zen’s Mama, I used to think that too (before I got my Boys) because Harley nor Leo were digger’s! This is a Jaxson only kind of show around here. We all (to include Harley) just stare at him like he’s lost his marbles… Thanks for stopping by, come back again!