This Dog’s Hilarious Sitting Style Is Paw-sitively Adorable

Introduction

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and they often sit in a variety of positions that may seem unusual or concerning to pet owners. While many sitting positions are perfectly normal, some can indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.

One common sitting position in dogs is the “frog sit,” where the dog has its rear legs splayed out behind it while the front legs remain upright. There are various possible reasons dogs assume this and other sitting positions, ranging from behavioral habits to discomfort from medical conditions.

The Frog Sit

a dog sitting in a silly position

The frog sit is a position that dogs often sit in where their rear legs are splayed out behind them, with their hocks (equivalent to ankles) touching the ground and knees pointing outwards. This sitting position resembles how a frog sits, hence the name “frog sit” (Pethelpful.com).

In the frog sit, a dog’s hindquarters are lowered closer to the ground with the hips and knees bent outwards. Unlike a normal sit where a dog’s rear legs are tucked under their body, the frog sit has the back legs sticking straight out behind (Topdoghealth.com).

While some dogs only do an occasional partial frog sit, others will fully splay their legs for extended periods of time.

Reasons Dogs Frog Sit

Dogs frog sit by extending their back legs straight behind them when lying down for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

Increased relaxation and comfort – The frog sitting position allows dogs to completely relax their back legs and hips, which many find very comfortable. It may help take pressure off their joints or stretch their hips and groin area (Source).

Joint or muscle issues – Dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis may frog sit to relieve discomfort in their back legs and hips. The position seems to help take pressure off the joints (Source).

Warming groin area – By splaying their legs out, dogs can cool down their bellies and warm up their groins. This may help regulate their temperature (Source).

Long-bodied dog breeds – Some dogs like Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and Corgis have very long backs but short legs. Frog sitting may be more comfortable for them than sitting with legs tucked under (Source).

When to Be Concerned

If your dog sits in the frog position chronically or it’s a new behavior, it can be cause for concern. According to one source, “If your dog suddenly starts sitting sloppily when they didn’t used to, that could be a sign that they are in pain or uncomfortable when sitting properly” (source). Signs like difficulty standing up, reluctance to run or play, or yelping in pain are also red flags.

The frog sit puts more pressure on a dog’s hip joints. If your dog is showing signs of hip dysplasia or arthritis, the sloppy sit could be their way of compensating for discomfort in their hips. Increased frequency of this sitting position warrants a veterinary exam to check for orthopedic issues that may require treatment.

Improving Comfort

You can help make your dog more comfortable while frog sitting with some simple measures. Providing soft bedding and warmth are two easy ways to enable your dog to relax while in this position.

Place blankets, dog beds, and pillows in your dog’s favorite resting spots. Opt for soft materials like fleece or microfiber. You can even use a heated pet bed or heating pad covered with a blanket to provide soothing warmth while your dog sits with their rear legs splayed out.

a dog resting on a soft blanket

Gently massaging areas that seem sore, like the hips and lower back, can also bring relief. Use short, circular strokes and watch your dog’s reaction to make sure you are not causing further discomfort. Apply a warm compress for 5-10 minutes beforehand to relax the muscles if your dog tolerates it.

While frog sitting may look concerning, simple measures to boost comfort can help dogs rest more contentedly. Ensuring soft, warm bedding and massaging tense areas shows dogs that their needs are supported when settling into this sitting position.

Exercising for Strength

Two great ways to build strength and improve flexibility in dogs that sit with hind legs straight out are swimming and walking. According to Top Dog Health, swimming allows dogs to move freely without putting pressure on joints. The water provides resistance that can strengthen muscles. Try taking your dog to swim in a lake, pond or pool for 15-30 minutes at a time. Start slow if your dog is not used to swimming and gradually increase duration.

Regular leashed walks are another excellent low-impact activity. Aim for 20-30 minutes daily. Walking strengthens muscles while improving balance and coordination. Let your dog set the pace and take breaks as needed. Going up and down hills or stairs during walks can further challenge muscles.

Targeted stretching and exercises at home can also be beneficial. For example, gently extending your dog’s hind legs back while they are laying on their side stretches the hips. Sit-to-stand exercises build strength in the hindquarters, according to Dogs4Motion. Just be sure to start slow and easy if your dog has pain or mobility issues.

Seeing the Vet

If your dog is frog sitting frequently or appears to be in discomfort when doing so, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian. The vet will be able to diagnose any underlying issues that may be causing your dog to sit this way.

According to pethelpful.com, an older dog that suddenly starts sitting with their legs splayed out should be examined by a vet who may refer them to specialists like a physiotherapist or orthopedic surgeon. The vet will check for signs of pain, mobility issues, arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other conditions.

If a medical issue is identified, the vet will recommend treatment options to help manage pain and improve mobility. This may include medication, joint supplements, physical therapy, weight management, orthopedic beds, or sometimes surgery. According to veterinarians.org, seeing a vet immediately can increase a dog’s chances of recovery from hip dysplasia or arthritis.

Regular vet visits are important, even as dogs age, to monitor their health and catch any problems early. Addressing physical limitations with an appropriate treatment plan can help improve quality of life for older dogs.

Managing an Older Dog

As dogs age, their mobility can become more limited. Fortunately, there are ways to make life easier for an older dog and improve their comfort. Here are some tips for managing an aging dog:

Ramps and Steps
a dog using pet ramps to reach furniture
Install ramps or steps to help your dog get onto furniture or into the car. This reduces the stress on their joints compared to jumping or climbing up. Look for ramps and steps with non-slip surfaces for safety. Gradually introduce them and reward your dog for using these aids.

Harnesses

Use a harness when walking your senior dog, rather than a collar. Harnesses distribute force across the chest and shoulders, supporting weaker hind legs. Choose a model that is easy to put on your dog’s body.

Joint Supplements
Nutritional supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids can help lubricate joints and reduce inflammation. Consult your vet on an appropriate supplement and dosage for your dog. This can provide relief from arthritis and improve mobility.

Making adjustments around the house and supporting your dog’s joints are important ways to keep them active and comfortable as they age. Work closely with your veterinarian if your dog is having increased difficulties with mobility.

When to Try Training

If frequent or inappropriately frog sitting occurs, training may be needed for the behavior. This can often be the case for young puppies who have not yet developed proper sitting habits. Some ways to train a dog to sit correctly include:

  • Using treats to lure and reward proper sitting positions
  • training a dog to sit properly

  • Gently pushing hips under to tuck legs if needed
  • Practicing sits frequently throughout the day
  • Only rewarding straight sits, ignoring sloppy ones
  • Using a verbal cue like “sit pretty” for straight sits

Consistency is key when training sitting habits. With frequent short sessions, most dogs can learn to tuck their legs neatly beneath them when sitting. Be patient, as it may take some time to re-shape sitting behavior in adult dogs. Checking with a trainer for hands-on help can also be beneficial.

Conclusion

The “frog sit,” where a dog sits with their back legs splayed out, is a common position many dogs find comfortable. While it’s often perfectly normal, it can sometimes indicate pain, muscle weakness, or joint issues. Key points covered include:

  • Dogs frog sit to relax and take pressure off their hips and knees. It’s very common in puppies and older dogs.
  • Muscle weakness, arthritis, hip dysplasia, and cruciate ligament issues can cause dogs to sit this way.
  • Try providing soft beds, ramps, joint supplements, and exercise to help comfort and strengthen dogs that frog sit often.
  • See your veterinarian if the behavior persists or worsens, to rule out underlying medical problems.
  • Some training, like luring into a proper sit, may help redirect the habit long-term.

While frog sitting alone isn’t necessarily a concern, it’s worth paying attention to patterns and when it happens. If it becomes excessive or is paired with signs of pain, check with your vet. With the right care, most dogs can be helped to sit in a healthier way.

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