Most females bleed for a few days out of the 3 week heat cycle. The youngster (now 4 yo) bleeds for the full three weeks. It's OK because I don't forget that she's in heat. I modify a pair of cotton underwear for her & add 1/2 to full woman's sanitary napkin - works pretty well.
For walks, I too was aprehensive but I did not have trouble with loose males. This was when I lived in a city in Arkansas oddly enough. I didn't have ungentlmanly callers at my fence either. So this is going to depend on your neighborhood. Some people find their bitch as a bunch of potential suitors hanging around.
Our walks were short, she did nothing off lead outside of her fenced yard for those three weeks with the exception of work on the training field.
Hope that helps.