The behaviors of our faithful canine companions can sometimes seem strange and intriguing. One of these behaviors, in particular, has an evolutionary reason based on self-protection. In this article, we explore this and other fascinating canine behaviors.
Dogs and their sleeping habits
Dogs sometimes have very peculiar behaviors. Although they share many habits with us humans, due to cohabitation and imitation of their masters, there are attitudes that seem innate to their species. Compared to other pets, such as cats, dogs stand out.
One of their specificities is their love for sleep, which brings them very close to us, although we generally sleep less. Their life often consists of playing, eating and sleeping. And it is precisely in this last point that you may have noticed that they like to make a repetitive and somewhat maniacal movement when they lie down: they curl up as if they were forming a zero.
Why do dogs curl up to sleep?
This behavior might seem like a simple matter of comfort, but according to Margaret Gruen, a professor of behavioral medicine at North Carolina State University's School of Veterinary Medicine, it's actually an evolutionary reason. “When dogs sleep in the wild, especially in cold places, they dig a nest and curl up in it,” she explains on the website Vet Street. “This keeps them warm, as it's like curling up in a ball to conserve body heat. This position also protects their most vulnerable organs from potential predators.
In fact, this is similar to what we humans might do on a freezing winter night or when we are very cold and get into bed. Instinctively, we cover ourselves well and bend our knees toward our torso, as if protecting ourselves from a threat. According to Gruen, the behavior of dogs originates in this protective response.
Creating a nest with their own body
Another explanation put forth by Gruen, as cited by Mental Floss, is that dogs somehow create a nest with their own bodies. Even if they are safe at home, their survival instincts often resurface when they are about to sleep, as this makes them particularly vulnerable. They don't always do this, but it happens frequently. If you'd like to learn more about the fascinating behavior of these pets, feel free to continue your research.
In short, dogs adopt this curled up position for reasons of self-protection and conservation of body heat. This curiosity, like many other canine behaviors, reminds us that our faithful companions have deep-rooted instincts that have endured through the ages. So the next time you see your dog curl up before bed, you'll know it's proof of their evolutionary heritage and natural survival instincts.
I'm a big fan of short stories about people – I'm a pro at tech and smartphones, serial literature, and writing in my spare time.