Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Nesting Experience

Everyone knows I have a doggie cam, right? Well, I bop in every now and then just to see what the girls are doing. It's usually the same answer - sleeping! I joked with folks after I got the camera working that it was a total waste of money and time (specifically, the 4 hours or so I spent with tech support in India) because all they ever do is sleep, sleep, and sleep some more! I don't know what I was expecting but now at least I am comfortable leaving them crated during the workday, knowing they are safe and sound, sleeping all day!

But, both yesterday and today I checked in on the girls and both days, I caught Remi doing the same thing - nesting. It's hysterical to watch her dig and turn, dig and turn, and dig and turn, I mean, for minutes on end! I don't know how many times she does this before she decides everything is just perfect enough that she will then lay down and sleep. All the while, Sugar and Lucy are sound asleep.

So after watching this two days in a row my curosity was peeked. What is it that makes these dogs do this little ritual every time they lay down? So, of course, I Googled it! Here is what the SCPA of Texas says:

Why Dogs Spin Before Lying Down

For a dog owner, watching your dog chose a spot to lie down is often at least as amusing as the morning comics. For some reason, your dog will circle an area two or three times before lying down and sighing with contentment. Why, dog owners wonder, does my dog do that? Does the carpet change so much in the second it takes to circle around?

This behavior appears to be related to the dog's ancestral tendency to dig its own shelter. Owners often describe the ritual of lying down on a carpet similar to that of a wild dog lying down on the grass of the prairie: first, the dog will sniff at his chosen spot, then perhaps dig with front paws, his toenails extended. After some digging the dog will turn several times, lowering his body into a semi-crouch, then "nest" into his imagined hole.

In some cases the dog will turn several times, dig again, turn some more, and repeat the process until asked to lie down by an exasperated owner. When outside, dogs often dig into cool soil to escape hot weather; by digging and then turning several times they can direct their bodies into the curled posture that will best take advantage of the depression's coolness.

Thus, the turning behavior seen in our homes is most likely derived from the denning behavior of our dogs' wilder relatives. So, like other members of your family, your dog is making himself at home.

This sounds logical to me so I'm going with it - at least until someone else comes up with a better explanation! :)

Obviously Remi is quite the nester. She will even nest in my bed. I'll go into the bedroom and she will have the blanket, comforter, and sheets all piled together with her on top! I guess, as the article suggests, she is just making herself at home! Now, if I could just teach her how to MAKE the bed! Pin It


Addie said...

I would have never thought to Google this question, but of course I've wondered what the nesting is all about.

Hoover, like Remi, is a nesting pro, and it's just so funny to watch him in action. Not only does he dig and spin, fluff blankets and turn, and lots of other variations on the theme, he also flings himself down with a loud grunt once he has everything just right.

I can't help but think life would sure be dull without our pets to make us laugh!

Patti said...

Yep, life would be so boring. Lucy has this "issue" walking from the shower mat to the rug in my bathroom. She tries to play frogger but inevitably as she tries to jump from one to the other (without touching the tile floor), she will skid off on the shower mat, basically peeling out, which is what is scaring her half to death to start with! If she would just walk normally!! It's hysterical!