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Why does my dog not sit still?

Why does my dog not sit still?

You’ve just settled in for the night. You’ve got a cozy blanket, a steaming mug of tea, and a good book. It’s raining outside, your home is quiet, and you’re ready for some well-deserved time alone, reading, sipping tea, and relaxing. 

Nothing throws a wrench in laid-back evening plans quite like a dog that cannot sit still. But, of course, we love our canine friends. We spend billions on them every year. If they can’t calm down when it’s appropriate, however, we’ve got a problem on our hands. 

If you have a dog that blatantly refuses to sit still, you’re in good company. Unfortunately, dog owners all over the globe are consistently faced with the same problem: their dogs can’t, or won’t, relax and sit still for most of the day. 

Yes, dogs are supposed to have endless energy. They grow in literal leaps and bounds. They love to play, act silly, and run in circles. Still, even the most energetic breeds should be able to wind down and relax every single day. 

When you’ve got a pup that won’t hold still, there could be a deeper problem taking root. Please don’t get too worried; it’s likely that you simply need to take an extra walk or ensure that your restless canine gets more exercise. Let’s take a look!

Why does my dog not sit still?

Before we dig into why your dog might not want to sit still, you need to assess if this behavior is typical or an unexpected change. For example, if you have a six-month-old Labrador Retriever, chances are, he never sits still. 

On the other hand, say you’ve got an English Bulldog that’s always been a little on the lazy side, which is true for the breed. But, now, he suddenly refuses to sit still. In this case, you might have issues to address. 

Lack of exercise

So often, dogs that can’t sit still or lay down for a lovely afternoon nap are not getting enough exercise. So before you adopt or purchase a puppy, ask yourself if you’ve done the proper breed research.

Having a busy corporate job and a high-energy dog breed typically doesn’t mix. A dog that doesn’t get enough mental or physical stimulation is miserable. If you can’t provide it, hire a dog walker or care provider that will! Also, doggy daycare is an excellent option in these situations. 

Fleas or worms

Routine vet care will prevent either of these buggy infestations from happening, but hey, we’re human, we’re busy, and sometimes we can’t make it to the vet. Also, fleas and worms will cause restlessness in any dog because of the overall uncomfortable and itchy feeling that comes along with them.

Fleas are usually easy to diagnose, even on dogs with thick fur. They will be visible to you, and you might even find them on yourself and around your home. Worms, on the other hand, might be trickier. 

Worms are just as annoying as fleas and will cause your dog discomfort and unrest. A simple fecal test conducted at the vet will determine if worms are the culprit. 


A dog that goes from relaxed to restless could be in pain. First, take a visual assessment of your dog. You spend the most time with him, and if you pay close attention, you’ll notice if something is off externally. 

Next, it’s time to call the vet. Even if you don’t notice anything right off the bat, there could be internal issues at hand. A vet visit is best for all involved in this situation.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety, usually a long-term condition that doesn’t manifest overnight, will cause your dog to pace, whine, and rarely sit or lay down. Typically, this type of anxiety will need to be addressed by both a veterinarian and a professional trainer. 

Separation anxiety is a massive cause of canine stress and should be taken care of as soon as possible. The constant fight-or-flight your dog is experiencing is not good for him or you! No worries, it’s common and can be treated!

Learned habit

Medical, emotional, and mental issues aside, sometimes not sitting still is nothing more than a learned habit. Dogs like routines, and if your dog made not sitting still part of his daily routine, then you’re stuck with it until you ease him into a new one!

The good news is, you can teach old dogs new tricks. In fact, old dogs love to learn new tricks! So, by showing him that he doesn’t have to constantly be roaming the house and providing enough mental and physical stimulation, you’ll slowly but surely experience a calmer, happier dog. 

How do I get my dog to sit still?

First, you’ll want to consider the age and breed of your dog. Puppies don’t sit still often and usually go from running around to dead asleep. There is rarely an in-between.

Adult dogs are different. Breeds with a lot of energy will sit still less than low-energy breeds. Also, age and physical health are something to consider as well!

Speaking generally, and assuming that your dog has seen a vet to rule out any medical issues, exercise, training, and games are the best ways to get your pup to sit still! Work out his body and mind, and you’ll see quick results. 


A daily walk or two usually isn’t enough to satisfy the amount of exercise that many dogs require. So instead, try playing a game of fetch or sprinting uphill. You could also visit your local dog park and let him have a romp with new friends. 


Even fundamental training can be mentally exhausting for our canine friends. They use their brains to learn to associate words with movement and try and decipher what you want from them. A good training session will keep your dog satisfied and feeling a little sleepy!


From agility practice to a simple game of catch, your dog is always willing to engage in play with you, so let him! Set aside time to make sure your dog is mentally and physically engaged, allowing him to take the rest of the day to relax, recharge, and above all, sit still. 

Why is my dog suddenly restless?

If restlessness is a sudden issue, it’s vital to seek help from a veterinarian. The problem could be as minor as fleas or nervousness and as prominent as a brain tumor or loss of eyesight. 

It’s impossible to tell, so before you worry yourself needlessly or allow a medical condition to get out of hand, see your vet. Not only will you come away with your mind at ease, but you’ll have a diagnosis and a treatment plan as well!

Why is my dog so unsettled?

Dogs are resilient creatures, but it usually doesn’t take much to unsettle them. A recent change in the environment, like a move across town (or the country), will upset their routine and leave them feeling restless or worried. 

Even an incident such as witnessing an argument in the household or adding a new pet can cause them stress. If nothing has changed in your life, make an appointment with your vet. 

Why is my dog restless and panting?

There are various reasons that your pup is restless and panting. They range from observing a squirrel or neighborhood cat outside the window to medical conditions such as bloat. 

Please note how long the restlessness and panting have gone on and whether or not it appears to subside. If you can’t get your dog to relax, take him in to see the vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.