Behaviour of bitches in season.

Although we have covered this topic before, in this article Holidays4Dogs will focus on the specific behaviours to expect when your girl comes into season.

For first time dog owners, with a bitch in her first season, there may be many questions they might ask and some owners may be particularly concerned about changes in their dog’s behaviour.

The change in a young dog’s behaviour can sometimes be quite dramatic and can come as quite a surprise to owners!  Since it is not recommended they are spayed until after their first season, owners of female dogs will experience this at least once so it is always useful to know what to expect.

A bitches first season can vary depending on the breed but will usually occur anywhere between six months and two years.  Seasons happen twice per year and last for approximately two to three weeks.

A bitch in season may show quite marked signs of a change in her personality just before and during her season.  It is common for female dogs to become more clingy with their owners and perhaps develop signs of separation anxiety when left, but they can also turn quite grump and snappy and prefer to be left alone.  Beginning new training when a bitch is in season is often futile as her concentration levels and attention span will be low.

When she feels ready to mate she may become determined to escape and even if she had a previously good recall, may decide to make off in her search for a mate and ignore your calls, so it is really important to keep her on the lead at this stage.  Equally, it is important to make sure she cannot escape from the garden, especially if you know there are local male dogs in the neighbourhood and avoid leaving her unattended in the garden, as she could become quite frantic about escaping.

In order to let males know of their whereabouts, bitches will urine mark frequently and this might mean that house training takes a backwards step.  Make sure she can relieve herself frequently and refrain from scolding her if she does soil the house as this is only a natural and temporary response.

While she is in season it is best to keep her on the lead for walks and try and avoid as much as possible areas where other dogs walk.  It is possible to buy sprays and tablets which mask the aroma of a bitch in season with the purpose of discouraging unwanted attention from male dogs, so if you have lots of dogs in your locality, this could be an option.

Try and provide your dog with plenty of cuddles and attention – she may appreciate some extra treats and distractions in the form of a Kong filled with tasty goodies.  The season will soon pass and then it is time to think about having your girl spayed to prevent unwanted puppies and to ensure she does not develop other health conditions such as Pyometra  – this is a nasty infection of the womb affecting 1 in 4 adult un-spayed bitches and it is a topic we will cover in our next Holidays4Dogs article.