What to do when your dog destroys their bed – from a professional trainer

June 29, 2022
June 29, 2022

You come home and it’s happened again. Your dog is sat beside a bed that’s ripped apart. Your dog likes to destroy their bed.

Short of buying your dog a new bed each and every time or denying your dog a bed forever – what can you do?

This is something we’ve actually struggled with with Lucy, she’s done a couple of beds, and a sofa (before me and Mr Rebarkable were together!) and it is one of those things that I just cannot tolerate. Because I like a nice home and a comfy sofa, and I don’t want to come home to this!

First we need a place to start. And that? As always with modern training is looking at the reason behind the behaviour, and fixing it from the ground up! Because the reason behind your dog’s bed mysteriously exploding is your key to solving it.

So what I’m going to do, is list the top reasons that a dog might be digging their bed, and what you can do about it.

a dog who has destroyed their bed, but it doesn't have to be this way.

Your Dog Loves To Nest

Whether you’re home, not home, or somewhere in between – your dog will turn, and dance, and boogie their way into their bed with all appropriate rearrangement. This sort of dog may dig their bed to get comfortable.

Sometimes? Your dog’s bed might just not be up to this (certainly my sheets are not when Lucy decides to nest in our bed!) so as they dig, and as they create a hole, and a hold is something that must be explored.

The Solution for Nesters

There are two solutions here for dogs who love to nest and accidentally make their bed explode along the way…

1 – Add blankets.

This is my favourite solution, because it’s affordable, and so, so easy. When you consider your dogs bed, we just need to pop a comfy, easy wash blanket in on top of their bed. This way, when your dog digs and wiggles and nests into their bed, they dig and move a blanket – that moves anyway and is easily replaceable if they do tear it.

So far? This has kept Lucy from exploding any more beds (along with a bunch of my clients dogs!)

2 – Opt for Dig Resistant beds.

Did you know these exist? Well here’s your news, they absolutely do. One example of this, is the Big Barker Bed which my woofs adore – and has so far stood up to the wear and tear of 3 big dogs, and two diggers. As you can see, I do still use an extra blanket – but it’s very much worth it.

Lucy in the big barker bed, with a pillow and extra blankets
Lucy digs beds, she digs sofas, and she’s destroyed 1 sofa, a number of dog beds, and bed sheets! But the Big Barker bed stands up to her, especially with a couple of little blankets to nest in.

It’s when you’re not home

This may be separation anxiety.

If every time that you leave, that’s when a bed gets destroyed, then Seperation Anxiety could well be what it is. This is the sort of thing that you probably want to get a professional trainer involved, but before you do?

The solution for when your dog misses you

Get footage. Grab a puppy camera, and watch what happens, this will give you really great insight into your dogs behaviour when you’re absent. And your trainer will thank you too! And then, ensure that you’ve already taught your dog to be comfortable at home.

The solution if your dog is bored…

This and the separation anxiety option sometimes can be confused (that’s why I said to get footage!) but if your dog loves to dig, and has excess energy, sometimes this can totally result in a bed (or sofa) that goes bang.

You may need to increase their exercise or mental stimulation! Things like Kongs can be great for this!

dog sleeping soundly in their bed

Natural desires

Some dogs were bred to dig – this category most often includes terriers, beagles, coonhounds, malamutes and others. But, if this desire is not regularly met, then it can result in them digging inappropriate surfaces.

The Solution For Natural Born Diggers

Satisfy their need! You may want to consider ‘destruction’ style enrichment, or even a dig pit! these things are easy to set up, and you can grab a kiddie pool, and a bunch of ball pit balls, or sand depending on what you’d like to do! Then, hide some toys in their (or hard treats!) and give your pup the outlet they need.

What not to do…

Whilst it’s tempting, don’t just buy stronger beds, or buy a stronger crate, or whatever it is. It’s not a case that the bed is not sturdy enough. There’s more to it. So, please do look into the true reason behind it.

No matter what? There is a reason, just keep looking and you’ll find it. If you’re struggling? Just get in touch and let’s see how I can help!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!


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