The Australian Terrier in this video is Grizz. Watch how he circles around in the middle of the bed, and makes digging motion before he finally settles down and lie down for a nap. He actually makes a little noise while he is making digging motions on the bed. Grizz is not unique in this sleep time ritual. It is a practice shared by many dogs. It’s an ancestral thing.
Why do some dogs circle around before they sleep?
Back to the days when they live in the wild. There are actually very good reasons for this ritual. Remy Melina writes in Live Science that this is not an uncommon behavior.
Dogs’ ancestors had to make their bed in the wild, which is their nest. To make their beds comfortable to lie on, they would walk in a circle to pat down tall grass so where they lie is comfortable for themselves and their puppies. In those days, doggie beds, doggie cushions, and pillows weren’t available. They had to make their own doggie beds the old-fashioned way.
Safety is one reason for this behavior
Remy referenced Leslie Irvine’s research in this article on the topic. There’s also a safety aspect to this practice. By circling around a few times and flattening tall grass or snow when they make their beds in the wild, if there are any snakes or large insects lying around, they would be scared away.
Territory is another reason for circling
One other benefit to this practice in the wild is probably a territorial one. By circling around and flattening the area where they are going to sleep, other dogs will see it as a signal that the space is taken, and will go elsewhere to make their bed. It is a orderly system. You can read the entire article by Remy Melina here. Enjoy watching Grizz doing his bed time ritual.
Article source: Remy Melina in Live Science