Why Do Dachshunds Burrow?

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Why Do Dachshunds Burrow
By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | May 16, 2024
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Dachshunds, with their adorable long bodies and inquisitive personalities, are known for a behavior that sets them apart from many other dog breeds: burrowing. If you’re a dachshund owner, you’ve likely observed this behavior firsthand. Your little companion might be digging at your blankets, burrowing under pillows, or even tunneling through your laundry. But why do they do this? What drives these sausage-shaped pups to engage in such behavior? 

Dachshunds burrow due to their hunting history, seeking comfort, warmth, security, and territory. It’s an instinctual behavior ingrained from their past as badger hunters.


The Instinctual Roots of Dachshunds

To understand why dachshunds burrow, we must first look to their history. Dachshunds, which originated in Germany several centuries ago, were bred for a specific purpose: hunting badgers. Their name even translates to “badger dog” in German (“Dachs” meaning badger, “hund” meaning dog). These small but mighty dogs were designed to burrow into the underground dens of badgers, flushing them out so that hunters could capture or dispatch the prey.

This hunting heritage is deeply ingrained in the breed’s DNA, and even though most dachshunds today live in homes far removed from the hunting grounds of their ancestors, the instinct to burrow remains strong. It’s a behavior that served a vital purpose in their working past, and while they may not be hunting badgers in your living room, the drive to burrow persists.


Comfort and Security of Dachshunds

One of the primary reasons dachshunds burrow is for comfort and security. These dogs, with their elongated bodies and short legs, are prone to getting cold easily. Burrowing under blankets or pillows provides them with warmth and a cozy, den-like environment. In the wild, dogs and their ancestors would burrow into the earth or find sheltered spots to stay warm and protected from the elements. This behavior is a natural way for dachshunds to regulate their body temperature and feel safe and secure.

When a dachshund burrows into your bed or couch cushions, they are essentially creating their own little nest. It’s a behavior that brings them comfort and helps them feel more at ease in their environment. You might notice that your dachshund burrows more when they’re feeling anxious or unsure. By creating a snug hiding spot, they can alleviate some of their stress and feel more in control of their surroundings.


Dachshunds Territorial Behavior

Burrowing can also be a display of territorial behavior in dachshunds. In the wild, dogs would dig and burrow to create dens that they could call their own. This behavior helped mark their territory and establish a safe space for resting and raising their young. While your dachshund may not be marking their territory against other dogs in your home, the instinct to claim a space as their own remains.

When your dachshund burrows into your bed or favorite chair, they are essentially claiming that spot as their territory. This behavior is often seen as a way for them to assert their presence and feel more secure in their surroundings. It’s their way of saying, “This is my spot,” even if it’s right in the middle of your freshly made bed!


Seeking Shelter Behavoir of Dachshunds

Another reason dachshunds burrow is simply because it’s in their nature to seek shelter. In the wild, dogs would dig burrows to create safe havens where they could rest, hide from predators, or raise their young. This behavior is instinctual, and even though your dachshund is a pampered pet, the drive to seek shelter remains strong.

When your dachshund burrows under the covers or hides beneath the pillows, they are satisfying this primal urge to find shelter. It’s a behavior that’s deeply rooted in their DNA, and even though they may live in a safe and secure home, the instinct to seek out a cozy hiding spot persists.


Anxiety and Stress Relief

Burrowing can also be a sign of anxiety or stress in dachshunds. These sensitive dogs are known to be particularly attached to their owners and can become anxious when left alone or in unfamiliar situations. When they’re feeling stressed, burrowing provides a sense of security and comfort.

If your dachshund burrows excessively or in unusual places, it could be a sign that they’re feeling anxious. This behavior helps them cope with their emotions and provides a way to self-soothe. Providing your dachshund with a safe, quiet space where they can burrow when they’re feeling stressed can help them feel more secure and calm.


Fun and Games

While many of the reasons dachshunds burrow are rooted in instinct and behavior passed down from their ancestors, it’s also important to note that burrowing can simply be fun for these playful dogs. Dachshunds are known for their playful and curious nature, and burrowing can be an entertaining activity for them.

You might notice your dachshund burrowing into a pile of blankets or tunneling through your laundry with a wagging tail and a happy demeanor. For these dogs, burrowing can be a form of play and exploration. It engages their natural instincts while providing mental stimulation and entertainment.


Tips for Dachshund Owners

Understanding why dachshunds burrow can help you better care for and connect with your furry friend. Here are some tips for dachshund owners:

  • Provide Cozy Spaces: Offer your dachshund plenty of cozy blankets and soft beds where they can burrow to their heart’s content. A designated “den” area can become their safe haven.
  • Respect Their Need for Space: If your dachshund is burrowing, respect their space. Avoid disturbing them while they’re in their burrowed spot, as this can cause stress.
  • Monitor for Anxiety: Keep an eye on your dachshund’s burrowing behavior. If you notice excessive burrowing or other signs of anxiety, such as pacing or whining, consider consulting with a veterinarian or dog behaviorist.
  • Engage in Play: Encourage playtime with toys that engage their burrowing instincts, such as puzzle toys or toys that can be hidden in blankets for them to “hunt.”
  • Training: If burrowing in unwanted places becomes an issue, gentle training can help redirect this behavior. Positive reinforcement techniques can be effective in guiding your dachshund to appropriate burrowing spots.

Dachshunds burrow for a variety of reasons, all of which can be traced back to their instincts and behaviors inherited from their hunting ancestors. Whether they’re seeking warmth and security, asserting their territory, relieving stress, or simply having fun, burrowing is a natural and deeply ingrained behavior for these lovable dogs. Understanding and embracing their burrowing instincts can strengthen the bond between you and your dachshund, providing them with the comfort and security they crave in their home environment.


So next time you find your dachshund tunneling through your blankets or disappearing under the couch cushions, remember that they’re simply following their instincts – and maybe having a little fun along the way.