See Your Vet If Your Dog Has Trouble Sitting

Updated on December 22, 2016
Sloppy sits with the legs placed sideways rather than under may be a sign of a dog with trouble sitting
Sloppy sits with the legs placed sideways rather than under may be a sign of a dog with trouble sitting | Source

What is "Trouble Sitting" in Dogs and Potential Causes?

So why is your dog having trouble sitting? First off, a disclaimer. As a dog trainer, I am not qualified to diagnose or treat any dog medical conditions as doing so is stepping over professional boundaries; however, it's good to be aware of signs of potential medical conditions so if I spot something that is out of the ordinary, I may point it out and recommend a vet visit. Several times, my recommendations have turned quite helpful since the owners reported back to me that, indeed, what seemed to be a behavioral issue turned out being a medical issue.

For instance, one dog I was training, out of the blue, started sitting "sloppy". In dog training lingo, "sloppy sits" are those where the dog keeps the rear legs sideways rather than under, almost as a lady riding a horse with the legs placed sideways. This position, which is often chalked up to "laziness,'' often denotes some sort of physical problem. So, I recommended a vet visit and the vet did end up finding a medical cause. In the next paragraph, we will some causes for dogs having trouble sitting.

Possible Causes for Your Dog's Sitting Problems

So what is causing Scruffy to sit sloppy or sit and then flinch back up again? There are many possibilities. This article is not for the purposes of diagnosing your dog but to simply provide a possible explanation and help you identify a potential problem. Following are some common causes for your dog having trouble sitting.

  • Hip problems. From hip dysplasia, to arthritis and perhaps simply a temporary inflammatory response, these conditions may play a role in your dog's slopping sitting. In order to sit, your dog will need to flex those joints and bones which can be sore just as you would feel if your hips hurt you and you had to sit on a chair.
  • Knee pain. In this case, it could be caused by luxating patellas, a condition common in small breed dogs. Again, just as it would hurt you to bend your knees to sit, it would hurt your dog. If your dog is sitting sloppy with his leg to the side and is limping on a rear leg, suspect a torn cruciate ligament.
  • Back pain. Even in this case, if you ever have back pain, you may find it painful to sit, and so does your dog. In particular, some dogs may have trouble sitting when they are developing intervertebral disc disease or a herniated disk. This condition is common in Dachshunds.
  • Dog Anal Gland Problems. Because your dog sits on his bum, those anal glands may sure hurt if they are inflamed. These two glands are located at the 4'o clock and 8 o'clock position around the rectum.
  • Painful Tail. Some dogs develop a condition where the tail hurts known as "Limber tail" this condition is temporary and often seen after the dog goes for a swim.

As seen, there are many causes for trouble sitting in dogs. If your dog is suddenly sitting sloppy do not assume your dog is being lazy or is being stubborn since she is not sitting promptly as she normally would. Please see your vet to confirm or rule out a potential medical problem causing trouble sitting in your dog.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Tounya Halsey 

        6 weeks ago

        Thanks for the info; our lab went swimming and of course she was tired but all of a sudden I ask her to sit for a treat and she could not sit; your information is extremely helpful; the night of the swim she licked herself a lot around her anal area, and her feet, we just thought it may have been the sand; but she also is keeping her tail down; so we are thinking it is limber tail, we will watch closely; if she is not better in a few day we will go to the vet. Again thank you for the info.

      • Bob Bamberg profile image

        Bob Bamberg 

        5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

        Very informative hub, alexadry. My knee-jerk reaction was hip problems, never realizing the other possibilities you offered. A salute to you, also, for recognizing your boundaries. I feel I know just enough to be dangerous (the real meaning of "jack of all trades, master of none"), which is why I spend a lot of time doing research to confirm my information. Your training and experience serves us all well. Voted up, useful and interesting. Regards, Bob

      • lrc7815 profile image

        Linda Crist 

        5 years ago from Central Virginia

        Great information. We can never have too much knowledge when it comes to our pets since they are not always able to make us understand when things go wrong. I appreciate that you don't claim to be capable of diagnosing but you are a wealth of knowledge and information. Keep up the great writing. You are a valuable resource.

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