Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who
partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Sitting with the legs placed sideways rather than under may be a sign of a dog
with trouble sitting.
alexadry all rights reserved
Why Does My Dog Act Like It Hurts to Sit?
In dog-training lingo, “sloppy sits” are those where the dog keeps the rear
legs sideways rather than under, almost like a lady riding sidesaddle. This
position, which is often chalked up to “laziness,” often denotes some sort of
So, what is causing your dog to sit sloppy or sit and then flinch back up
again? There are many possibilities.
5 Reasons Your Dog May Have Trouble Sitting
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.
1) Hip Problems
From hip dysplasia to arthritis, and perhaps simply a temporary inflammatory
response, hip problems may play a role in your dog’s sloppy sitting. Similar
to humans, sitting (or getting up from sitting) requires your dog to flex
joints and bones in ways that can cause pain and soreness.
2) 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. This is what may female Rottweiler
in the picture above turned out to have.
3) 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.
4) 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.
Scroll to Continue
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5) 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.
Don’t Make Assumptions!
As can be seen, there are many causes for trouble sitting in dogs. If your dog
is suddenly sitting sloppy, do not assume your dog is just being lazy or
stubborn since she is not sitting as promptly as she normally would.
Please see your vet to confirm or rule out a potential medical problem that
could be causing your dog to have trouble sitting.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It
is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription,
or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.
Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a
© 2012 Adrienne Farricelli
Tounya Halsey on September 03, 2018:
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 on November 01, 2012:
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
Linda Crist from Central Virginia on November 01, 2012:
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.