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Dog Behaviors 101: Why Do Dogs ‘Nest’?

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Misty Fleming

Continuing our new series explaining common canine behaviors, this week we’ll be exploring a common question many people have: “What is nesting behavior in dogs?” As a business that’s passionate about everything related to our four-legged friends, we believe it’s crucial to understand why our canine companions act the way they do, so we can both better care for their needs and better train them.

What is Nesting Behavior in Dogs?

Nesting behavior in dogs is a natural and instinctive action deeply rooted in their ancestry. You may have observed your furry companion engaging in this behavior without even realizing it. Nesting behavior involves a dog’s inclination to create a comfortable and secure resting place, or “nest,” where they can relax and feel safe.

Here are some common aspects of nesting behavior in dogs:

Gathering Materials

Dogs often gather soft materials like blankets, pillows, or even clothing items to create their nest. They might carry these items to their chosen spot, demonstrating their preference for certain textures and scents.

Scratching and Digging

You’ve probably noticed your dog scratching or digging at their chosen spot before settling down. This behavior mirrors their wild ancestors, who would dig to create a comfortable and secure sleeping area.


Dogs may appear restless when attempting to nest. They might walk in circles, nuzzle at the materials, or even bark to get your attention during this process.

Nesting Sites

Dogs choose their nesting sites carefully. It could be a corner of your living room, a specific chair, or even their crate. The chosen spot should provide a sense of security and protection.

How to Support Your Dog’s Nesting Behavior

As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to respect and support your dog’s nesting behavior. Here’s how you can do that:

Provide Suitable Materials

Offer your dog soft and safe materials like blankets, pillows, or a cozy dog bed to create their nest.

Designate a Nesting Area

Set aside a designated area in your home where your dog can nest without interruption. This could be a corner of a room or a comfortable crate.

Maintain a Clean Environment

Regularly clean your dog’s nesting area to ensure it remains a clean and comfortable space.

Observe for Changes

If you notice sudden changes in your dog’s nesting behavior, such as increased restlessness or compulsive nesting, consult with your veterinarian. It could be a sign of an underlying health issue or anxiety.

More Reading About Canine Behaviors

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