I have noticed my Yorkie scratching his bed before going to sleep and this behavior wasn’t very consistent. I could not understand what was the root cause of my Yorkie’s scratching. It led me to reflect on the question: Why Do Yorkies Scratch Their Beds?
I had some help from my neighbor who had similar problems with her dog. She helped me understand why Yorkies scratch their beds.
Read this post on Why Do Yorkies Scratch Their Beds, to understand the underlying reasons behind this behavior and how you can help your Yorkie overcome this behavior.
Why Do Yorkies Scratch Their Beds? Top 7 Reasons
1. Your Dog Is Marking His Territory
Bed scratching can be a result of territorial behavior that Yorkies possess. Yorkies leave their scent on the things that they own to make a statement that other dogs should stay away from their territory.
When Yorkies scratch their bed, the glands in their paws leave a scent on their bedding that claims that the bed is now theirs. The scent helps them identify their spots and provides comfort to them.
The dog’s scratching can become intensified when you bring in a new pet or person in your house and your Yorkie feels threatened.
2. It Is A Learned Habit
Bed scratching is a learned habit that your Yorkie picked up from any other pet dog that you have in your house. Dogs learn from other dogs and when your Yorkie sees its fellow friend enjoy the circling and scratching, it will join in for fun.
After a point, it just becomes a habit that your Yorkie practices once in a while.
3. Natural Instinct
Bed-scratching is an instinct that a wild dog uses when it scratches leaves and pine needles to make comfortable bedding for itself. This dug-up place also served as a place to hide from predators back in the wild.
A domestic dog still retains this behavior from the dog’s ancestors of scratching and digging their blankets to form a comfortable spot for themselves. Your Yorkie is following the same natural instinct to create a safe space for itself.
4. Maternal Instinct
If you have a female dog that is pregnant and ready to give birth to its Yorkie puppies, its bed-scratching will increase as a part of the canine maternal instinct.
Your mother dog is scratching its bed to create a comfortable place for its pups to keep them safe and warm when they come out. This behavior is known as nesting behavior
5. They Have Long Nails
Another reason why Yorkies scratch their bed is that their nails have grown too long. The bed-scratching is an action to let you know that something is bothering your pet.
In this case, you should take care of its nails and cut them short. If you do not know how to trim your Yorkie’s nails, then you can take your Yorkie to a groomer.
However, if you want to cut your Yorkie’s nails at home, then you can watch this detailed video on cutting Yorkie nails to help you.
6. They Want To Release Pent-Up Energy
It is normal for Yorkies not to have enough exercise every day which leads to stored energy in your pet. That is the reason why your Yorkie scratches its bed sometimes as a way to release that stored energy.
Make sure that your Yorkie gets enough exercise daily or else your four-legged friend would develop some physical and psychological issues. You can take your dog for a run or play games with it in your yard.
7. For Comfort and Temperature
Yorkies scratch their blankets before going to bed to regulate their temperature and chill out the place they sleep in. This is another instinct that dogs pick up in the wild when they dig a hole in hot weather to stay cool.
Another reason is that they seek comfort in scratching their bed, just like we flip over our pillow ten times a night for comfort.
Why Do Yorkies Dig Before Going To Bed?
It is not likely for dogs to try and dig a hole in their bed, but some breeds like Yorkies do try to dig a hole in their bed or in the yard to create a comfortable place to sleep. You might have noticed that your puppy resorts to digging on hot summer days to stay cool.
When your Yorkie feels hot, it will sweat through its paws, and get rid of the sweat, it will start to dig a cool place for it to sleep in comfortably.
Another reason for digging the bed might be that your Yorkshire Terrier wants to mark his territory using its scent glands. This behavior might increase if you got your Yorkshire Terrier a new dog bed or a newly washed blanket to sleep in. Your pet will mark its spot with its scent and make the new bed a place for itself.
Why Do Yorkies Circle Around Their Bed Before Laying Down?
You might have noticed your Terrier circling around its bed before sleeping in it. This behavior comes from the ancient wolves who would circle around the place they slept in for self-preservation. This method was used to ward off any potential attacks before they went to their nice dog sleep.
Your Yorkie circles around the bed for the same reason. It also sleeps with its nose in the air so that it can smell any unfamiliar or threatening smell and protect itself and you as well.
Another reason why your Yorkshire Terrier does this is that they can level their bed and blanket to make it a smooth surface to sleep in before falling asleep.
How to Stop Your Yorkie From Digging and Scratching?
Tips For Managing Yorkies Scratching Behavior
The life of a dog owner would be so easy if simply making a comfortable bed for their Yorkie would stop the scratching. But that is not the case, so check out a few tips to help with your Yorkie’s scratching behavior.
- Add a few more blankets to your Yorkie’s bed to add a soft texture to it
- Get one fluffy and heavy blanket for your Yorkie
- Try putting your pet’s bed in a different location where it feels safer
- Consider training your Yorkie using the positive reinforcement technique
- Get nail clippers for your furry friend so that it can resist scratching the bed
- Get a high-quality orthopedic bed that provides comfort and support to your Yorkie
- Provide proper exercise to your Yorkshire Terrier so that there isn’t stored energy looking for a way to be released
Tips For Managing Yorkies Digging Behavior
- Increase your Yorkie’s exercise activities to release the extra energy
- If your Yorkie digs only in one area, then look under it, maybe your pet’s favorite toys are there.
- Try the distract dog technique by separating your Yorkie’s toys into four piles. Give your Yorkie different piles every time for digging so that your dog is excited to dig for a new toy. This will decrease the chances of your Yorkie digging its bed.
- Command your Yorkie with a firm “No” when it starts to dig. Reward your pet every time it does not dig. You can check out these treats for your Yorkie that it will surely like.
- You can also take some suggestions from your vet if the digging behavior gets severe
Does Scratching Bed Mean That Your Yorkie Has Anxiety?
If your Yorkie’s scratching and digging behavior have increased and it seems to make them more riled up rather than calming it down, then it can be a sign of anxiety. You should consult with your veterinarian and get some medications for your pet.
However, there are some situations when your Yorkie’s anxiety remains only until the situation persists. After the situation calms down, so does your Yorkie. Let us have a look at some of those situations.
1. Anxiety Rooting From Harsh Weather Conditions
It is also possible that there isn’t any underlying anxiety but just a sudden scare that leads to scratching. This can be a result of heavy rains or loud thunder sounds at night. It can also be an outcome of you sleeping away from your Yorkie at night and not giving it attention.
On harsh weather nights, make sure that your Yorkie sleeps close to you so that it feels safe and does not develop anxiety issues.
2. New Pet Anxiety
If you got another pet in your house, then it is possible that your Yorkie’s anxiety got provoked by that. Dogs have the need to be territorial and when you bring in a new pet, your Yorkie feels threatened and develops anxiety.
It is important that as a loving pet owner, you give proper attention to your Yorkie when you get another pet so that it does not feel left out.
This behavior can also be triggered when there is a new face in your house that your Yorkie has never met. The unfamiliar causes your Yorkie to scratch and dig a safe place to hide.
3. Separation Anxiety
Another type of anxiety that leads to scratching and digging is separation anxiety. It may be triggered when you leave your Yorkie alone for a few days or even a few more hours than you usually do. Your Yorkie will start scratching because being away from you makes them anxious.
If you are going to be away from your Yorkie for a long time, then make sure that you have a friendly face stop by every once in a while so that your pet does not feel alone. You can also hire a dog sitter that can play and spend time with your Yorkie so that it does not feel alone.
FAQs on Why Do Yorkies Scratch Their Beds
1. Why Do Yorkies Like to Burrow?
The most common reason for burrowing is to find warmth and comfort on cold weather days. Burrowing into a small space gives Yorkies warmth and safety.
Another reason why your Yorkie tries to burrow may also be that there is an unfamiliar face in your house and your Yorkie is hiding from it until it leaves your house.
2. Why Is My Dog Scratching The Wall?
If your dog is scratching the walls of your house, then it is probably because your pet is trying to burn the excess energy it has. Pent-up energy causes aggressive behavior in dogs and wall scratching is a way to release that stored energy. The best way to avoid this is to give your dog proper exercise.
If your dog is scratching the door, it means that it is probably suffering from separation anxiety and want to open the door to go find you. To avoid such anxiety, you can have to train your dog to be less reliant on you.
3. Why Does My Dog Rub Its Face In the Bed?
If your dog is rubbing its face in the bed, it is because he is trying to mark his spot with his scent and claim it as his possession. You must have noticed that this behavior is prominent when you provide a new bed or a new blanket to your dog.
Another reason why your dog rubs its face in the bed is that your dog finds the smell of the bed pleasing, and he wants to rub that smell on himself.
There are various reasons why Yorkies scratch their beds but the most common of the reasons is to get comfortable in their bed by marking it with their scent. It is a learned habit that wild dogs used in the forest to stay safe from predators and so this behavior is triggered when your Yorkie is threatened by something.
To manage this behavior of scratching, you should use the positive reinforcement method to train your Yorkie and stop the scratching and digging.