I find a great deal of amusement in watching Reef get settled down for the night. She has a bunch of comfy beds, but she insists on making them “comfier”. She turns in rapid circles, rotates in both directions, picks up her bed with her paws, fluffs it, fluffs it again and finally settles down into a small ball of dog. Some dogs have less intricate nesting routines, while others continue for a greater length of time. Have you ever wondered why your dog circles before lying down?
Photo by sour_snowflakes
The answer is actually quite simple and is linked back to the days when dogs were not domesticated, as this behavior is still seen in wolves. It is instinctively ingrained in the genetics of the modern dog. Your dog’s wild ancestors would find a patch of grass that looked like a good area to bed down for the night, but before they could do that they would get a good whiff of the area to make sure it was safe. Next, they would begin the turning process (the same one we see repeated in our living rooms on a nightly basis) to trample down high grasses and form a more comfortable spot for sleeping. The digging behavior has been observed in wolves more frequently during hot months as they desire sleeping in the cooler earth that is revealed during the process.
Photo by jrbrown206