Understanding Your Female Dog’s Seasons.


For first time dog owners especially, it can be worrying when their female dog first comes into season. In this Holidays4Dogs article, we discuss seasons in dogs and focus, in particular, on the kind of behaviour your in-season dog might display.

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. Therefore, it is useful to know what to expect.

A dog’s first season can vary depending on the breed. However, it will usually occur anywhere between six months and two years. Seasons happen twice per year and last for approximately two, to three, weeks.

A female dog in season may show quite marked behaviour changes just before and during her season. It is common for female dogs to become more clingy with their owners. They may, for instance, develop signs of separation anxiety when left. On the other hand, female dogs approaching their season, may become a little grumpy and prefer to be left alone.

When she feels ready to mate, the female dog may become very determined to escape in her search for a mate. Even if she has a good recall, she may decide to take off in her search for a mate. It may be a good idea to keep her on the lead at this stage.

Equally, it is important to make sure she cannot escape from the garden. If you know there are local male dogs in the neighbourhood – 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. This might mean that house training takes a temporary backwards step.  Make sure she can relieve herself frequently. 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. Try and avoid areas where other dogs walk.  It is possible to buy sprays and tablets which mask the aroma of a bitch in season. This will help to discourage unwanted attention from male dogs.

Whether to walk a bitch in season in busy places where there are likely to be other (male) dogs is a subject of great debate among dog owners! Many believe a female dog in season still needs exercise, but if she is attracting a trail of male dogs, oblivious to their owners cries – you may not be very popular!


The season will soon pass and then it is time to think about having your girl spayed to prevent unwanted puppies. Spaying also ensures she will 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.

Provide your dog with plenty of cuddles and attention while she is in season. She may appreciate some extra treats – perhaps a Kong filled with tasty goodies.