Updated at: 14-06-2022 - By: petstutorial


Kneading is often thought of as a cat activity, however some dogs also knead. The process is often associated with sucking and usually occurs during times when your pet is winding down, or anxious, or is preparing to go to sleep. Digging is an aspect of kneading for dogs. It could be part of the dog’s instinct and part of the routine, and can last for a lifetime. It is often viewed as adorable and not an issue, however if your dog’s habits are causing havoc to your garden or home, it is possible to seek the advice of a certified dog trainer to curb your dog’s destructive behaviour. While some believe it’s more prevalent among dogs who are not fully weaned, it’s actually frequent in pups who were raised by their mothers for an right period of time.


The Root of the Behavior

Dogs are known to knead the floor furniture, carpet, or bedding before lying down. This instinctual behavior stems as a result of both territorial as well as a security need. When in the wild, animals dig their holes or gather grasses and leaves to create their own bed. When they dig, they are transferring the scent of glands in their pads to the space and mark it as theirs and removing the risk of falling on a surface or animal that could cause harm to their paws. Even female dogs those who aren’t in either pregnancy or heat they will be able to knead their bedding to make nests as part of their instinct to be maternal.

Your dog is imitating the instinctive and inseparable behaviour when he is kneading. He is not necessarily interested in the material he is working with and doesn’t think about the fact that he is causing holes in your lawn or tears on your furniture that it is a mistake. He is unable to stop himself. He might also be kneading to lower the temperature. Dogs don’t have sweat glands as humans do, therefore it is necessary to knead them to increase the surface area in order in order to cool off. If he’s cold, he’ll use kneading to organize his body to form his body and create a warm cocoon.

Sometimes, dogs will be observed sucking on something as they knead, regardless of whether it is a lovie that they love or a blanket. Some believe that this is a an instinctual desire to behave as if that he’s receiving milk that his momma has given him. Every breed can display this behavior, however it is more common in working breeds such as Border Collies, hounds like Dachshunds and gun breeds like Springer Spaniels and terriers like Westies. Dogs with sensitive and sweet natures are more likely to the kneading or sucking behaviour.

Dogs that are stressed when left on their own may take items that smell like their owners in order to be surrounded by and create a knead. This reduces anxiety and makes them feel less lonely. Experts draw the analogy of the human thumb sucking habit that begins at an early age and is usually continued throughout the course of life. Humans frequently replace the thumb with other items such as chewing gum or pencils while dogs just stick to what they began with.


Is Blanket Sucking Harmful?

A few times of blanket sucking isn’t considered obsessive-compulsive, or canine compulsive behaviour, since it’s not so intense that it is unable to be stopped and dogs don’t engage in it at the expense of other pursuits for hours for hours. So, there’s no harm to doing it.
A sucking habit which can be detrimental for dogs which is known as flank sucking. Researchers have identified an inherited marker that causes certain Doberman Pinschers to perform this behavior. As per the Merck Veterinary Manual, “The problem may first arise as a displacement behavior when the dog is frustrated, conflicted, or highly aroused.”
It is said that the Doberman Pinscher Club of America claims that the tendency to suck on the flank in dogs is almost exclusively to Dobermans. “In some dogs it remains a mild coping relaxation behavior, and in others it becomes obsessive and chronic.”
“Dogs that don’t suck on their flanks, but instead on blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and other soft objects are doing it not to be destructive, but as a relaxation mechanism,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinarian officer. “They can be perfectly healthy dogs, who find that the sucking and licking provides comfort by releasing endorphins.”

What Should You Do?

If the Portuguese Water Dog sucks on his blanket the dog is calm and beg his tail. And it’s not uncommon for him to stop and appear when I ask him to come. However, it does seem to provide him some relief when I leave him by himself, and also helps him reduce his energy level before bed.
If your dog is comfortable and cuddles up on the blanket or toy to rest it’s not causing harm either to yourself or your belongings. There’s nothing wrong with what your dog is doing.
To ensure that your behavior doesn’t become more severe or signal a deeper issue If you want to ensure that the behavior doesn’t escalate, follow these steps:

  • Find triggers, like storms leaving, your departure, or guests.
  • Your dog should get plenty of physical and mental exercise.
  • Spend time with your pet, and bring your dog with you whenever you are able.


Other Solutions and Considerations

Dogs who are weaned off their mother too quickly could exhibit strange or unwelcome behavior. Dodging objects when kneading might be one of these. If you are considering adopting a puppy it is recommended to wait until he’s around 8 to 10 weeks old and well weaned before you bring him into your home. When you return him give him some of your previous clothes and beddings to make an inviting nest along with soft animals that you can snuggle. By creating objects that belong to him will reduce the chance of him ruining the flooring, other objects or even green spaces within your home. It is essential to understand that kneading while sucking is not an obsessive behaviour. Obsessive behavior, for example, the flank sucking of Dobermans could cause harm to the dog’s skin. They become more frequently while object sucking isn’t harmful.


Kneading is common in dogs , and it has both instinctual and behavioral roots. It is prevalent in working, crossbred guns, gun, hound, and the terrier breeds, as in anxious and sensitive canines. The dogs will knead in order to claim their territory, either as part of their wind-down ritual, to regulate their temperature or calm. Kneading should not be considered to cause problems with your dog’s behavior. Cut your dog’s nails in a short length and provide him with plenty of things to chew on and love to create a secure space and spend quality time outdoors with him to reduce the quantity of destruction.

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