Digging with her front paws


I have never owned a dog. Pixie Bella Star, 11 wks old today, is a docile, loyal, and healthy little belle. Your website is very helpful and interesting. I have a question for you--what does it mean when she does a digging with her front paws when she is on my bed, or when she is on the couch, or when I was trying to potty train her in a litter box (I am now potty training her outside and she does quite well--we both enjoy being outside)? She would really "go to town" in the litter box. Does this mean she is nesting because she is tired, or has to defacate, or frustrated? I am most interested to find out what this motion is for her and telling me. Also, she doesn't seem to like her puppy food much (Natural Choice), but there is always "room for desert" (a couple treats a day and little kiblets for reward when she goes potty). I wet her food with a little water. Is there a puppy food that puppys love? She is on Nutri-Cal 3xs a day also. I anxiously look forward to your reply and thank you in advance.


Graham & Allan
Hi Vicki, Our Maltese is seven months old and her name is Salty. From the time we got her we noticed that she would love digging in the couch and especially in her basket. We don't know what it means either, but would love to find out. She seems to have outgrown it now. She likes eating IAM's Eukanuba (it's expensive, but very healthy)

Carina J. Rock
My two babies Cloud and Clancy dig at furniture and carpets every so often. It does seem to be a nesting thing since they usually do it just before they lay down in that spot. Another peculiar habit I've noticed with my Maltese (and with their Maltese friends) is that they love to take their food one kibble at a time from their dish and bring it over to the carpet to eat. They also like Iam's, but they will always be ready to eat anything that comes directly from my hands whether they are truly hungry or not. The "desert" is fed from your hand, right?

I can't believe someone else's Maltese does that too. I thought mine were the only ones. They both take 1 kibble at a time and run into the living room and up on the couch, eat it, and back into the kitchen and get another. Over and over again. Very strange. I wonder why?

Laurie, I too thought it was an odd characteristic of Cloud and his mother when I first saw them do the kibble on the carpet thing, but since then I've yet to meet a Maltese (that is allowed to) who doesn't do it at least once in a while. Clancy (our rescue Maltese) did it the first night we brought her home. It just seems to be one of the many things that is unique about these wonderful dogs. But if anyone has a guess why I'd love to hear.

Laurie & Carina, I stopped using a bowl except for her water. I noticed she would eat the food if it fell on the newspaper. Now I use a a saucer plate. She will eat better off of that. I notice too that she'll go over to the dining room carpet (why not--we eat there--ha) and chew what she has in her mouth. Seems to be an innate thing if others are doing it. Maybe it has something to do with their hunting nature. I've seen animals take their kill somewhere else to eat it alone. Only a guess.

My maltese "Baby" also has taken her food out of her dish, pranced over to the living room where the carpet is....one kibble at a time..Of course we thought we had the dog with the cutest habits in the world!! I keep forgetting all Malteses are terrific. She also does the digging, nesting thing. My friends maltese takes her kibble (one at a time) and plays with it, throwing it up in the air, rolling over it, playing with that one kibble for 10 minutes. It takes her all day to eat!!!!!!!

Marylin, How hillarious! I'd love to see that. I wonder what a pet behaviourist would have to say about that one.

And I thought I had the only digging dog!! One of my Maltese, Piglet, loves to dig but only on certain items- like pillows or things that make a little noise when she digs. My other dog, Swinky, doesn't care and just watches her, amused, I think as I do. But they both take one kibble at a time, run to the carpet, eat it, and run back for more. It's funny to watch them- but they seem to be enjoying themselves- guess that's all that matters, right?!

Copyright 1996, 1997© Maltese Only All rights reserved