HELP! Totally new personality after 2nd heat. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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HELP! Totally new personality after 2nd heat.

My GSD, Isa, is a 15 month old female. She has always been a submissive dog (the one when other dogs rush her, she would "go to ground" and cower). She has always backed off when the two other dogs in our family (elderly beagle and elderly pit/lab mix) gave warning growls or nips.

Suddenly, starting partway through her 2nd heat, she occasionally turns on the beagle and just this week with my daughter's female dog who was home visiting (these dogs have been together frequently since Isa was 8 weeks). Generally it has happened when the other dog plays too rough or when the beagle growls that she has had enough of Isa's face licking. It's very scary. I can barley get them separated. I'm just shocked. Isa has always been such a loving, sweet dog who never growled or showed any aggressive tendencies at all. Her biggest problem has been barking at strange dogs, but once she "met" them she was always friendly and eager to play.

Isa has been well socialized. She has been in classes since her last set of puppy shots (14 weeks?). She always travels with me, goes to restaurants, stores, the bank, etc. She plays at a neighbor's house several times a week with his dogs (all male). She doesn't react to motorcycles, wheelchairs, skateboards, garbage trucks, balloons or people of all ages and sizes. I'm very concerned.

I have called a private trainer we have worked with some (he helped me train her to invisible fence and worked with her on barking at other dogs) who is coming to the house in 2 days to see what he can do/see here.

The only reason she has not been spayed is that she was diagnosed with IBD and had such a weight loss, vets did not want to do surgery until she was stabilized. She has gained back most of her weight and is scheduled for spaying in December (vet school advocates waiting 60 days after a heat cycle).

Any thoughts, suggestions? I hope someone can make me feel more optimistic about this. Right now I feel like an alien has invaded my dog!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 05:03 PM
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She is starting to become fully sexually mature, and she's decided it's time to start moving up the totem pole. That 1+ year stage, especially with intact animals, you will notice significant behavioral changes. Certainly in regards to their interaction with other dogs.

My male was a happy-go-lucky fellow until he hit a year or so. He cannot play with other intact males anymore. He will tolerate males neutered before sexual maturity. That is just the way it is. He is an intact male, reacts to other males and wishes to get into it so he doesn't get to play or interact with other males. You cannot force biology and natural instincts. I accept that and manage him to prevent accidents.

My bitch would take on another intact female if she had the chance. At training, shows or in public, I control and manage her. That's just how it has to be. I don't require my intact animals to coexist with other dogs. If I choose to keep my dogs intact, I must carry out the proper precautions to make sure that my animals are properly contained and managed so harm to other dogs and to my dogs can be avoided.

Stop letting the female around the other dogs for now. Let her finish up her heat cycle. Then get your trainer to do some work with her and the other dogs. Don't be surprised if it doesn't work. Once bitches decide that they hate another dog, they usually decide for life.

If she is still grouchy after her heat cycle, continue to highly control the interaction between the dogs till you can get the intact female spayed. Wait a few months for the sex hormones to diminish and then try again with the other dogs.

Until then, manage them properly. Crate and rotate. Keep an eye on who has free run and who does not. Do not allow a situation to get out of your control. Keep a leash and collar on the reactive dog if you suspect a flareup.

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Last edited by qbchottu; 10-22-2012 at 05:06 PM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. Both these females were spayed before their first heat. Should that make a difference? Isa is 2 weeks post heat (at least 2 weeks since last blood). How long until hormones stabilize? So you do think this behavior is hormone related?
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