Bitches and Seasons

Seasons can start from 6mths – 2yrs approximately, there are exceptions to every rule of course. Unfortunately there is no huge warning sign that it is about to start, though it’s said that the mothers first season can be a guideline.  There are some changes that you may notice but it’s more a case of being vigilant and watching your girl and her behaviour, if you’re anything like us with Brogie, then you’ll be doing that for over a year as she was one of the later ones and had her first season at 15mths, whereas Happy was a 9mth girl!  A couple of signs to watch out for...

 

*A couple of weeks before it's due you could find your girl is attracting more attention than normal, males and females can sense a change in hormones so she may seem to be sniffed more than you're used to.

 

*She may start weeing more or appear to be marking territory.

 

*She may be more cuddly/affectionate or be short tempered (we know how that feels!)

 

 Any of these may appear, or they may not.  These girls are fickle creatures!  If you DO get an idea that she might be imminent then a good trick is to pop a white/pale cover over where she normally sleeps so you can catch the signs as soon as possible,  some girls keep themselves incredibly clean, so waiting until she is up and about means you may miss that important first day.  You can also, if suspicious get a piece of tissue and swab her ‘bits’ as soon as she gets up from a sleep, this means if there is any blood then while she is sleeping it will have settled in the vulva,  which is then expelled when she stands.  The first season can be quite light so has been known to be missed.

 

 A season lasts for approx 28 days, some bleed all the way through, others will stop or slow down their bleeding when they start to ovulate.  A common misconception is that once bleeding has stopped the season has finished, this couldn’t be further from the truth and can be where problems arise with girls being taken out and caught by males.  Ovulation occurs any time from day 6-7 or up to day 20-21 (taken as day 1 being for certain the first day blood is seen)  Normally girls will ovulate about day 12 and this can last from 2-5 days.  This is the HOT time where they can conceive and is the time where they WILLattract huge amounts of interest from entire AND castrated males (be aware that even males that have been castrated can still store sperm up to 6 mths  after, so watch out for the owner that says ‘Its fine, he’s been done!)   

  

 Walking bitches in season is a contentious issue.  The safest option really is to say NO, now I’m talking out and about on normal walks, where you usually meet other dogs or where other dogs usually go, this is not just to save you worry and risk but to also reduce the nuisance or stress to those out there that walk male dogs, whether entire or castrated. Male dogs WILL follow the scent of a bitch in season and have been known to cross roads to get to them, causing huge amounts of heartache to their owners, it can of course,  also ruin any amount of good work that the owner has put into recall for their dog.  It really is YOUR responsibility as a bitch owner to make sure that she causes as little impact on the male popularity as possible!  

 

 Now, if the thought of keeping some girls in fills you with dread that you will end up with this whirling dervish who will be climbing the walls at home, don’t panic, it is surprising how many WILL settle down and accept this.  It helps to do extra training at home, have a go at teaching them new tricks or give them Kongs filled with yummy stuff or treat balls with their food rations in them as entertainment but if you DO feel you really need to take them out then.....

 

*DON’T walk from home, this will lead the bitches scent right up to your front door, meaning IF any males are around they will know exactly where to find her and if determined WILL scale fences or dig holes to get into your garden!

 

*DO go to completely out the way places, luckily around these parts we have a huge amount of Public Footpaths, go for a drive through the lanes and pick one you can park safely by and one that isn’t attached to a known walking area. Let your girl have a good run around, chasing the ball etc... but always be vigilant.  When ovulating,  bitches have been known to go ‘walkabout’ themselves to try and find a mate,  so be careful around that time and if unsure or your girls recall isn’t good at the best of times,  then keep her ON lead.

 

*Others have been known to go to Industrial Estates or similar when they are closed,  just to get their girl out of the house,  but again be aware that if you’re going out at antisocial times thinking you’ll be safe, these are the times that some people take their not-so-friendly pets out thinking they won’t meet anyone either!

 

What to do if you ARE out and are confronted with a male dog who is looking very keen.

First and foremost, hopefully call the owner to come and get him, lots of apologies will be needed and you might not get a ‘friendly’ response but that goes with the territory I’m afraid! IF the dog keeps on coming or tries to mount your girl, DON’T try and drag her away or make her sit, most girls hormones will be raging and they will actually WANT it, so they will try and stand for him. The only safe option is to kneel down and cup your hand over her vulva so the male dog has no way of penetrating,  it’s obviously not pleasant,  but then neither is an unwanted pregnancy.  If god forbid a dog does mount her and ‘ties’ with her (remember castrated males can do this too) then there is nothing you can do but wait, there is NO separating them, you are at natures disposal and it can last up to 45 mins, it is entirely down to the muscles inside the bitch when she releases the male.


Hopefully this will have helped you understand your bitch more and is not my intention to make it sound horrific, most seasons will pass without incident and be over before you know it! Don’t forget they occur on average every 6-12 mths throughout a bitches life, unless you have her spayed and that’s a WHOLE other topic!!

 

Disclaimer: This is based on our own experience and research, it is not meant to be taken as gospel so please use as much or as little as you desire! Always seek veterinary advice if deemed necessary.

 

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