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My puppy is almost 6 months and will go into heat in the next little while. I tried to read some of the older discussions to get some things cleared up, but I still have many questions.

I would be grateful if some users could share their experiences and insights.

I do have a lot of questions:
How will I know when it's about to start? What should I look for? What does the "moodiness" look like? And then once it is here, do I continue to train and walk her? Or do I put her in her crate and wait it out? Do I feed her more or less? At the peak, can I expect male dogs outside my house? What should I do with my neutered male?

Also, I am wondering is the second growth spurt before or after the heat cycle?

Any advice or stories shared are appreciated...
 

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I don't recall a growth spurt with any of my females around that time. Some signs would be her starting to lick herself a lot more than usual. And since you've got a male in the house - neutered or not, with my dogs it didn't matter, he will probably start showing a lot more interest in her, sniffing her rear and eventually he may even start to hump her, which is what Keefer did with Halo. By then she was dripping so it was already well apparent. We'd just tell him to knock it off.

Dena was a little ditzy just before she went into heat, like she suddenly lost focus and was not doing things in class that she had been doing perfectly for weeks. Cassidy seemed calmer (too bad that was just a phase, lol) and got clingy and just seemed mopey. I don't recall any moodiness with Halo or Cava. Even though Keef was ancient by the time Cava had her first heat he was still VERY interested in her. They couldn't really do anything, but it was clear that both of them WANTED TO. :ROFLMAO: That was entertaining!

With Halo, I kept her home for a couple of weeks and used the opportunity to take Keefer out to do some leash training. I kept taking Cava out once she was in heat, on leash only obviously, and she had to wear a diaper at flyball practice. We never had her out around the intact dogs in the club but we didn't want her dripping all over the field. Bitches in heat are not allowed to race in tournaments since there are 8 off leash dogs in the ring at once, so it's not a distraction that dogs are expected to be trained to work around as it is in some other sports. There's no need to keep her crated for the duration but if you know there are intact dogs living in your neighborhood I'd just make sure to be paying attention if you're walking her, especially if people tend to let their dogs run loose. Where I live, most people speuter, there are leash laws, and everyone has fenced yards to contain their dogs so I wasn't too concerned.

I fed my dogs normally. I only adjust feeding quantities when I run a hand down their side and they seem a little think or are starting to feel chunky.
 
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Your puppy can come into heat for the first time anywhere from 6 to 15 months, with 7 or 8 months being the most common.

And if you spend time with your dog daily, or if you have a male dog neutered or not, their behavior will noticeably change before hers does!

But even without a male around, it's not something you'll have to worry about missing. The female will be licking noticeably more, and will leave blood on the floor that would be difficult to miss! All long before she'll be receptive to a male.

After the first few days the bleeding is less and only sporadic. The bitch will be receptive by week 3, possibly a bit sooner. By then her vulva will be 2 to 3 times it's normal size, again hard not to notice!

My dog didn't come into heat for the first time until she was 14 months old, so her growth spurts were all done. But based on my dog's eating habits during that and subsequent heats, I'd be surprised if your pup's appetite changed much.

I didn't see much attitude change either, except slightly less energy maybe.

As far as male dogs hanging around, it can happen, but it's not at all as big a deal as most the horror stories I've heard people telling! Just over a year ago, I was renting a single room in a house with 2 intact male GSDs when my dog was in heat. One was a little annoying in the morning whining at my door, but we just gave them yard time separately for the 3 wks. Wasn't really difficult! Good luck! I think it will be easier than you're expecting, just get baby gates and don't let her on your carpet for the duration and it'll be fine!
 
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I thought my seven month old had started her first heat--definite bright red spotting, plus a more frequent and earlier in the morning need to pee. But now I'm thinking it's a UTI instead... This is stressful! Glad to see this thread pop up, though.
 
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