Exercise and Fitness

Breaking down the exercise- The Sit!

Written by Jennifer Rouse, DVM CCRP CVSMT Nov 19 • 1 minute read

Confessions of a Sloppy Sitter (why and how to fix it)

The first thing that everyone thinks about when discussing canine rehab exercise is underwater treadmill. The second thing, however, is sit to stand. It is true that sit to stand is a great exercise if performed correctly with proper form BUT what if your dog has a sloppy sit to begin with?!?

 First things first, if your dog cannot sit squarely, then your dog can’t do a proper sit to stand. There. I said it. Regardless of your dog’s structure, a proper sit is with your dog’s rear end on his/her heels, both rear limbs in a fully flexed position, and with both feet placed squarely and evenly with one another. When viewed from the back, they should have a straight spine perpendicular to the floor- not cocked to one side or the other. Reasons for sloppy sitting include weak core muscles, pain, restrictions on range of motion of joints in the area, and general lack of body awareness. 


Poor body mechanics and muscle imbalances go hand in hand. Asymmetrical muscle strength can lead to injuries and strains. Encouraging good posture can help improve body awareness, muscle strength, flexibility and encourage efficient motor patterns.

One easy way to encourage and shape a square sit is practicing your dog’s sit on a perch. The area should be small enough that they recognize that slouching off the side would not be ideal. It only needs to be a few inches above the ground to be effective but should be sturdy and non-slip. Dogs that can’t hold a sit under these conditions may need to be checked for physical causes.
Things that can prevent holding a straight sit can include dysfunction in the sacroiliac, lumbosacral, hip, stifle (knee,) and hock joints.

Does your dog have a sloppy sit? Do they seem to avoid staying in that position for any amount of time? If so, contact your veterinarian or our office to determine whether there may be a physical issue and how to best help your pet!

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