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Approaching first heat

HMKK

New Member
This is Tessa's "mom" again after laying low for a while. Tessa is now approaching 9 months old and I have worked out a way to allow her to go through a first heat without getting into legal trouble with the rescue. Between the issue with the rescue and not having had any experience with bitches in heat, I will be glad when we are through this.

I have been watching Tessa's tush to look for any signs of heat. A couple of weeks ago, she had some straw-yellow discharge after urinating, but it stopped again after a few days. A few days ago, it looked like her vulva was enlarging, but today it is looking normal again. The last 3 days, she has been unusually whiny. What I have not seen is any kind of persistent discharge, especially not any tinged with blood. All in all, I am very confused.
Heats seem to be somewhat variable between dogs and I suppose my biggest fear is that I may miss it and not be prepared for an encounter with a male dog. Does it ever happen that a heat is so subtle as to be missed by the owner?

Thank you in advance for any insights!
 

Ravenbird

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Heats seem to be somewhat variable between dogs and I suppose my biggest fear is that I may miss it and not be prepared for an encounter with a male dog. Does it ever happen that a heat is so subtle as to be missed by the owner?
It is true that there is such thing as silent heats, but I'd venture to say pretty uncommon. If Tessa is never left alone in a backyard or something similar, I see no reason to worry about an encounter with a male. She's with you on leash whenever you go out or walk her? I've taken my dog to classes while in heat, and have never had any dogs around come toward us.

So glad you found a way to let her go through this important phase of hormonal growth.
 

HMKK

New Member
It is true that there is such thing as silent heats, but I'd venture to say pretty uncommon. If Tessa is never left alone in a backyard or something similar, I see no reason to worry about an encounter with a male. She's with you on leash whenever you go out or walk her? I've taken my dog to classes while in heat, and have never had any dogs around come toward us.

So glad you found a way to let her go through this important phase of hormonal growth.
Thank you for your reply!
Tessa is still being leash walked and for off-leash training and to let her run, I take her to a local tennis court that is completely fenced in. When she is outside at our house, she in always in my view - she lounges and keeps an eye on the neighborhood right next to my (open) office door.

I have heard these stories of male dogs walking for miles to find the bitch in heat and being so motivated that they have to be fought off. If you were able to take you dog to obedience classes while in heat, it does not seem to be quite that bad. That is reassuring to me - I had visions of needing to tag team on walks, one person to control Tessa and another to fight off the males :)
 

Rits

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When she is outside at our house, she in always in my view - she lounges and keeps an eye on the neighborhood right next to my (open) office door.
I would be very careful about this situation, because it is true male dogs will walk for miles to find the bitch in heat, especially when the location of the smell is the same. Unlike where at obedience class you are there for an hour with other under control dogs with attentive owners, then it isn't a problem. But these male dogs that walk for miles are typically strays or from neighbors that don't watch their dogs. I would not leave her outside, even with your window right there. Out to potty in a fenced yard and right back inside. Especially when she comes into standing heat, a lot of females will also do almost anything to get bred... Its only for a few weeks! You got this. :)
 

HMKK

New Member
I would be very careful about this situation, because it is true male dogs will walk for miles to find the bitch in heat, especially when the location of the smell is the same. Unlike where at obedience class you are there for an hour with other under control dogs with attentive owners, then it isn't a problem. But these male dogs that walk for miles are typically strays or from neighbors that don't watch their dogs. I would not leave her outside, even with your window right there. Out to potty in a fenced yard and right back inside. Especially when she comes into standing heat, a lot of females will also do almost anything to get bred... Its only for a few weeks! You got this. :)
OMG - only for a few weeks sounds really long! Are there chastity belts for dogs?
It sounds like even walks may end up being risky - would you agree with that? Maybe my thoughts that we need to tag team on walks were actually accurate...
 

Kaiser2016

Active Member
Ah tag team walks, I remember the days...and that's with a male dog! :spit: Hopefully it'll go by quick. Glad to see you were able to get a bit more time.
 

HMKK

New Member
Ah tag team walks, I remember the days...and that's with a male dog! :spit: Hopefully it'll go by quick. Glad to see you were able to get a bit more time.
Let's hope for quick! I read that each of the three stages can last from 3 to 9 days - so a week and a half to almost a month. The middle stage seems to be the active mating window. Acutely managing 3 days is no big deal - a month on the other hand sounds more challenging.
 

Ravenbird

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It sounds like even walks may end up being risky - would you agree with that? Maybe my thoughts that we need to tag team on walks were actually accurate...
I would not get paranoid, just be super vigilant. I don't know if the dogs are attracted to all the period of heat or just the standing heat smell. Entire heat cycle is about 3 weeks, standing heat maybe 5 days?

Let me tell you the story. Asha wasn't due until the end of May and on May 2nd I had a rally class, outdoors at a town park, we use the concrete basketball court to set up signs. Her housemate Reckless was in heat, my housemate helps the teacher set up signs as teacher has a physical disability & uses a walker, so it's' just a nice thing to come help. Then she sits with Reckless in the sidelines. We didn't tell anyone that Reckless was in heat as sometimes they clutch their pearls. So at the end of the hour, hanging out, chatting a bit, I saw drops of blood on the concrete and asked J if she'd brought Reckless over, she said no. I'm looking at Asha, who had been a little swollen the last day or two, but looked innocent enough. Once back in the car I did the Kleenex test and sure enough, Asha was bleeding. There is one intact male, a spayed bitch and an 9 month old intact puppy (dog) at this class. NO ONE acted any different than any other class. No dog tugged at the leash to get to Reckless who was about 10 days in, or even made goo-goo eyes at Asha who just started that day. So the next week, I emailed the group & said Asha was in heat, just a polite heads-up. The did indeed clutch their pearls and the lady with the older intact male opted to leave him at home.

Turns out Asha had a split heat, so truthfully I'm not sure if the smell of the discharge is any different, but she quit bleeding after 7 days (and after I had to cancel an AKC event because they don't allow dogs in heat), but there was still Reckless...

I personally, in all my years have never seen dogs having to be beaten off of a bitch in heat if you have them on leash in your control. I know you are thinking loose/feral dogs but think of all the thousands of AKC dog shows where 90% of all the dogs are intact. I do believe in heat is allowed if showing conformation (@Rits?) but not if its a sports.
 

Rits

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@Ravenbird yep they are allowed. With training and an attentive handler the males learn to ignore it but if they weren't on leash? Forget it. They would be making advances without intervention lol. That's the only difference I wanted to make with the obedience class vs unattended off leash in the backyard. I've heard of females running away or jumping fences and vice versa. The people that own males that roam aren't the same people at shows or classes. Just be vigilant but not paranoid, though better to err on the side of caution than be too loose (leaving them outside while busy with work). It is only a few weeks out of the year, it'll be over before ya know it!

To ease your mind though, we did go for walks inside stores (other dogs onleash), do obedience and cgc class, shows etc. Same deal as @Ravenbird no issues because the locations we chose to mentally stimulate her everyone was under control on leash. We did a few walks outdoors but didn't when she was in standing heat to be safe. My husband was willing to lift her if ever needed but we never ran into any problems. Just stayed aware of surroundings. At shows, we didn't flag her around ringside. She kept her bitch panties on. The other male dobermans owned by friends kenneling beside us did show interest in her, they sniffed in her direction but again, attentive owners aware of it, under control on leash.
 

Kaiser2016

Active Member
So interesting to hear these stories. It would seem that males on leash are probably fine because we have noticed at times that Kaiser (intact male) gets extra frothy on walks. We think it's a female in heat nearby. He will take more time to lick at certain spots but he's never 'followed' that scent in terms of pulling us off our usual walking route in order to find the girl. He's also been around intact females and they always tell him off...like 3 or 4 times lol, but then he gets the message. I have never seen him even attempt to mount a female dog.
 

HMKK

New Member
It sounds like there is no need to be paranoid, just attentive. We have lots of dogs in our neighborhood, but they are all leash walked and I have yet to meet an intact one. I have not seen any strays, but we have lots of coyotes and occasional encounters with wolfs have been reported. I am not usually up when the wolfs pass through at dawn and I cannot imagine a coyote being bold enough to come near - they tend to mind their own business.
 

Ravenbird

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I am not usually up when the wolfs pass through at dawn and I cannot imagine a coyote being bold enough to come near - they tend to mind their own business.
If I remember right, you are in the northern area of NM? There are no wolves there. The only known wolves in NM are in the Gila Nat'l forest in the SW quarter of the state (where I am). I've never heard of any sightings of wolves up north. Wolves are extremely elusive and would not be anywhere around houses or neighborhoods. Coyotes are bold and will stroll through neighborhoods without a care in the world. When I lived in Santa Fe I saw one walking non-chalanty down the middle of a quiet street, about 2 blocks from St. Francis - where 6 lanes of traffic were buzzing by.

Glad you have found a happy spot of being very careful but not totally paranoid about your girls heat. Let us know how it goes!
 

HMKK

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If I remember right, you are in the northern area of NM? There are no wolves there. The only known wolves in NM are in the Gila Nat'l forest in the SW quarter of the state (where I am). I've never heard of any sightings of wolves up north. Wolves are extremely elusive and would not be anywhere around houses or neighborhoods. Coyotes are bold and will stroll through neighborhoods without a care in the world. When I lived in Santa Fe I saw one walking non-chalanty down the middle of a quiet street, about 2 blocks from St. Francis - where 6 lanes of traffic were buzzing by.

Glad you have found a happy spot of being very careful but not totally paranoid about your girls heat. Let us know how it goes!
I am in Santa Fe, in the outskirts with lots of open space and hiking trails. I have not personally seen any wolf, but neighbors who walk their dogs at dawn claim to have met them. I can't imagine they'd confuse a coyote (or a mountain lion) with a wolf, could they? I like to walk at dusk and we meet coyotes all the time. They barely pay any attention to us, even when we are within a few feet. Tessa just sits down and watches them, which is cute. I am glad she does not try to engage with them as she does with dogs.
I could totally see a coyote or two stroll down St. Francis! They are like the turkeys when we lived in CT - they went where they wished. Except they'd attack the cars if the cars got too close :)
 

Ravenbird

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I can't imagine they'd confuse a coyote (or a mountain lion) with a wolf, could they? I like to walk at dusk and we meet coyotes all the time. They barely pay any attention to us, even when we are within a few feet. Tessa just sits down and watches them, which is cute. I am glad she does not try to engage with them as she does with dogs.
It would not surprise me if they are mis-calling a wolf. If you talk to Fish & Wildlife locally and state your location and if it's possible a neighbor is sighting a wolf on a regular basis, I'd be interested to know if it's possible. The official count for the Mexican Grey Wolf in the Gila is less than 200 and it's taken years to get to that number. Anyhow, not to dismiss your (or your neighbors) claims, but my background with wildlife and being familiar with the area... I just find this hard to imagine. Watch those coyotes though, they can look aloof, but they are pretty badass on a loose dog.
 

HMKK

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You are probably right that it is not likely that our neighbor actually encountered a wolf. Maybe it was a GSD-like stray dog. He told me his dog, a Malenois, once got into a shuffel with two coyotes and it was pretty vicious. His dog had to get stitched back up by a vet after the encounter. I have only encountered solitary coyotes while Tessa was on the leash - they don't engage then.
 

Ravenbird

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He told me his dog, a Malenois, once got into a shuffel with two coyotes and it was pretty vicious. His dog had to get stitched back up by a vet after the encounter.
Ouch! But yes, that's typical. The thing known about coyotes is they are mostly seen alone, but usually have pack members close by. Probably not so much in the town areas, but out in the country one lone coyote will taunt a dog, then turn and run so the dog will chase. They will run right to their other pack members where it turns into 3 - 4 coyotes piling onto the single dog. They are indeed tricksters.

Sorry we got so off topic, but I love talking wildlife. Is Tessa still hinting at starting her heat cycle?
 

Rosa

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@Ravenbird yep they are allowed. With training and an attentive handler the males learn to ignore it but if they weren't on leash? Forget it. They would be making advances without intervention lol. That's the only difference I wanted to make with the obedience class vs unattended off leash in the backyard. I've heard of females running away or jumping fences and vice versa. The people that own males that roam aren't the same people at shows or classes. Just be vigilant but not paranoid, though better to err on the side of caution than be too loose (leaving them outside while busy with work). It is only a few weeks out of the year, it'll be over before ya know it!

To ease your mind though, we did go for walks inside stores (other dogs onleash), do obedience and cgc class, shows etc. Same deal as @Ravenbird no issues because the locations we chose to mentally stimulate her everyone was under control on leash. We did a few walks outdoors but didn't when she was in standing heat to be safe. My husband was willing to lift her if ever needed but we never ran into any problems. Just stayed aware of surroundings. At shows, we didn't flag her around ringside. She kept her bitch panties on. The other male dobermans owned by friends kenneling beside us did show interest in her, they sniffed in her direction but again, attentive owners aware of it, under control on leash.
Okay, I thought I would add a tidbit that I have noticed seems to be the case from breeding dogs. I think once a dog has bred before their instincts in this area are much stronger. For our males, there is a noticeable change in their reaction to females both in and out of heat after being used for breeding. They usually become more assertive, wanting to become the leader of their harem. Even after being not being used for breeding in almost four years, our oldest male (almost 11) still tries to breed with females even after their over their heat. Our younger male gets over it faster if he bred with the female, otherwise it will take up to a 6-8 weeks before we can put our female back with the males without them constantly harassing her. I've never seen them have the desire to go out though and find a female. One of our females in heat... the males howl all night, won't eat, try to break out of their confinements (try to chew through wood, chain link fencing, tin). They will do anything to get in with her. Females standing period as always been an interesting study. Twilight is one you have to move the instant she goes into heat. She has proven that she will stand from day 6 through 15...we try to breed her between 10-15 and never put the male in with her before then because she bred once on her sixth day in heat.
 

HMKK

New Member
Ouch! But yes, that's typical. The thing known about coyotes is they are mostly seen alone, but usually have pack members close by. Probably not so much in the town areas, but out in the country one lone coyote will taunt a dog, then turn and run so the dog will chase. They will run right to their other pack members where it turns into 3 - 4 coyotes piling onto the single dog. They are indeed tricksters.

Sorry we got so off topic, but I love talking wildlife. Is Tessa still hinting at starting her heat cycle?
I am carful around coyotes, because I have heard the same, that often others are hiding in the bushes. Also, I often hear them howling at night and it sounds like there are many and well distributed. I have a lot of respect for wildlife here and do not wish to donate Tessa for dinner. So, she stays on the leash when we are out walking.

No change regarding her heat as far as I can tell. Her vulva still seems enlarged (it jiggles when she walks, which it didn't used to do), but no discharge of any kind. The good thing is that it has gotten so hot here muring the day that she has no desire to go outside :)
 

Rosa

Hot Topics Subscriber
I am carful around coyotes, because I have heard the same, that often others are hiding in the bushes. Also, I often hear them howling at night and it sounds like there are many and well distributed. I have a lot of respect for wildlife here and do not wish to donate Tessa for dinner. So, she stays on the leash when we are out walking.

No change regarding her heat as far as I can tell. Her vulva still seems enlarged (it jiggles when she walks, which it didn't used to do), but no discharge of any kind. The good thing is that it has gotten so hot here muring the day that she has no desire to go outside :)
Have you tried checking her with toilet paper?
 

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