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How Bitches Behave When In Heat

The behaviour of an unspayed female dog will sometimes change dramatically when she is in season, and as it is recommended that female dogs are not spayed until after they have had their first season, this is something that all owners of female dogs or puppies will have to deal with at least once!

Not only will un-neutered male dogs be actively trying to seek your bitch out and potentially making a nuisance of themselves, your female dog will also have breeding on her mind too, and might hinder rather than help your endeavours to keep her away from males! If you are wondering how to deal with your bitch’s heat cycle, or what behavioural changes she might undergo as part of it, read on to learn more about how bitches behave when in heat.

When do bitches come into season, and for how long?

A bitch’s first heat cycle will begin when she reaches sexual maturity, which can vary from breed to breed and from dog to dog. The first season will usually begin between the ages of six months and two years of age, and will last for between two and three weeks. Left unspayed after the first season, bitches will continue to come into heat around twice a year, or once every six months.

The focus of her attentions

When a female dog is in season, she may undergo a range of personality changes for the duration, which can range from subtle to very pronounced. She may become more clingy than normal and be very demanding of attention, or on the other hand, she may become grumpy and snappy and wish to be left alone! She will also find it hard to concentrate on normal activities such as training and listening to you, and may fail to come when called or otherwise seem to be ignoring you. During the season is a poor time to try to introduce any new training commands or work on new skills, as your bitch will find it very hard to concentrate!


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Sexual behaviour

The behaviour of the bitch in season will likely become overtly sexual as well, and she will welcome the approach of un-neutered male dogs. She should be closely supervised during this time to ensure that she does not come into contact with an un-neutered male dog, and bear in mind that she might go to quite some lengths to find one! You should ensure that she cannot dart out of the door when you open it, and that your garden in both escape-proof and capable of keeping other dogs out! Walks outside of the home should be undertaken with great care, on the lead only, and preferably at a time of day when there will not be other dogs around.

Urine marking

Bitches in heat give off strong pheromones to let male dogs know that they are ready to breed, which is almost like walking around with a big target painted on her back to male dogs! She may also begin to scent mark around the home and garden during this time, something that can be unpleasant and inconvenient, but is a natural response to being in season.

Escaping

The drive to reproduce when in season is incredibly strong, and not only will you have to contend with male dogs trying to get to your bitch, you will also have the issue of her being as keen to get to them too! If your bitch is aware of the presence of un-neutered male dogs in the neighbourhood, she may be keen to escape, and will become very cunning at doing so! You should take great pains to supervise a female dog in season, to ensure that she cannot escape.

She is unlikely to return when recalled out walking if she identifies the presence of a male dog, and of course, she will also be at risk when outside of the home of male dogs seeking her out. Keep her on a short, secure lead when out walking, and if possible, take someone with you to help you to manage your bitch if trouble arises. Bear in mind that your bitch may be keen to escape from the home or garden to go off and mate as well, so don’t assume that you can relax when you are at home!

Spaying

Bitches cannot be spayed when in season unless it is an emergency, but you should seek to get your bitch spayed as soon as possible after her first season is over, unless you are planning to use her for breeding and manage her cycle on a regular basis! Spaying removes the urge to breed from the female dog, and also means that she will not be targeted by amorous male dogs twice a year as well!


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