A Slouch or a Slump is Not a Sit

A slouch is not, and will never be a sit. It doesn’t matter if most Staffords sit that way, nor if your breed has given it an endearing name such as the Stafford Slouch or the Pug Slump. And best of all, I can show you why. 

First let’s define a sit.

A sit is a stationary position where the dogs bottom is lowered to the ground and it’s weight is resting on the phalanges, metatarsals and tarsals (i.e. the back feet to the hock is on the ground). The front end remains upright bearing weight just on the toes. 

Next let’s look at all the process of sitting and how it differed from the typical slouch:

Front End
The dog's weight is shifted back.Weight is first shifted forward, then shifted back.
The core muscles are engaged to maintain control of the back and stability of the body through the sit.Core muscles are engaged and the front end pulls the body forward, while trying to maintain the top line.
Rear End
Hip flexes.Hip flexes.
Stifle flexes.Stifle remains extended.
Tarsus/hock flexes.Tarsus remains extended.
Bottom lowers to the gorund in a controlled fashion. Bottom lowers without control and plonks on the ground.
Toes and hock bear the dog's weight.Pelvis is weighbearing and rolled

We can also look at how the dog moves back to a stand from the sit.  The dog has to throw its weight forward to offload its pelvis and then either tuck its feet under the body and use them to push the body into the stand, or carry 100% of its weight on the front legs to raise the spine into a horizonatal position and then place the back feet into the correct position. The normal sitting dog pushes up with his hind legs and shifts only part of his weight forward.

Hopefully you can see why I argue that a dog slouching or slumping is VERY different to a dog sitting. As with all abnormalities we have to look at the long term picture. Slouching means:

  1. Extra weight on the front end.
  2. Front end being used to pull the body forward multiple times a day.
  3. Stifle and hock/tarusis not being flexed.
  4. The pelvis is rolled.

There are more abnormalities but they are the most obvious ones. 

While your dog is young, strong and flexible it will likely compensate well. However, I want dogs to be comfortable and independent for their entire lives The slouch will speed up the deterioration of rear end strength, cause deterioration and over work issues in the front end and means joints don't go through full range of motion which can contribute to joints losing their flexibility. 

We have conditioning exercises we can use to re-train a dog who is slouching how to sit properly. If you are worried about how your dog sits, please contact me and we can discuss if we can help your dog. 


Dr Jaime Jackson