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Discussion Starter #1
It's obvious that there are very empassioned people on this forum that care a great deal about the GSD breed. Obviously, they wouldn't be on here if they weren't.
Because of the caliber of members on this forum, I've decided to risk my already-blistered skin (if you've seen other threads in which I've partcipated, you'll understand), and post a new topic with some questions. I ask that you please use good judgement upon any replies that you might consider posting via the use of a flame-thrower
, and keep in mind that the very nature of the questions may not only directly affect the quality of life of a darned fine female GSD specimen, but could very well help prevent the compromising of the GSD breed overall. With all that said, to those that have been lurking on this thread, get your popcorn ready for some possible "entertainment".


I would like to hear from people with experience on what to expect from a cycle. While preventing unwanted breeding is a given, I'm also particularly interested in protecting household furnishings and carpet from staining, so I want to know anything that could help me in these regards including, but not limited to, the following:

1) What are the signs of an impending heat cycle, and approximately how much in advance before any discharge.

2) My previous bitch was a clean freak, so I did not have to worry about containing such discharge, but assuming this bitch is not as "clean", I assume some type of diaper needs to be worn. Any hints or suggestions on this, including the duration of which this type of "garment" should be worn, and how to prevent them from not wanting to tear them off?

2) At what point in the cycle does the bitch become susceptible to pregnancy? And for how long?

3) At what point, and, again, for how long, will she want to "entertain guests"?

4) Anything else you think I'd want to know for this first heat cycle?

Again, anything you think would help me keep myself, my family, and my bitch sane and safe during this time would be most welcome.

Thank you for your time
 

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how many heat cycles did you experience with your previous female?

even tho the intent with her was breeding, its not entirely new for you i'd think.
 

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This is my first heat cycle with this bitch. Each one is a little different. I got her on the 31, breeder says she started on the 23. There is no discharge so far, perhaps it was already past by the time I got her.

I think I'm on day 12 or so, I expect her to start flagging anytime soon. She's ready anytime between day 9 and day 21 (heard some that went that far).

My dogs are house dogs, the males tried and she bit one. She is next to me all the time (like ALL the time) she is crated at bedtime. Bought the bitch pants, tried them on, she was ok, but because she doesn't seem to have any discharge I took them off. This is interesting, and not as bad as I thought it would be.

When she starts flagging, she'll go in the crate. First cycles can be irregular.

I am surprised I'm still sane and my males are not howling.
 

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It was a LONG time ago, and I believe it was two cycles before she was bred with the male. I was younger then, more nonchalant and much less conscientious about the matter (let the flames begin). At the time, I was heavily involved with training, but never was serious about breeding, and had more of a "let-nature-take-its-course" mindset. I wasn't worried about finding homes for any puppies because in my line of work at the time, the demand was very high. I wasn't into breeding for money, or anything, either, and ultimately gave the pups to people in the same line of work.

In any event, I do remember that when she had her first heat, I had no idea she was even cycling until one day I saw her "cleaning" herself, and saw a tiny little bit of blood. She was a working dog all the way up to that point, and continued working throughout that cycle. Had I not seen that little spotting (presumably at the end of the cycle) I never would've known she had cycled. I don't remember it lasting much longer after that. There was no mess, no change in behavior, nothing (at least from what I remember from way back then). Seems to me now that her second heat came and went just as quickly and easily.

When she finally bred on her 3rd heat, I had instant takers of the pups when she finally dropped only 3 little monsters. Even the vet at the time was shocked at the size of the brutes.

Now that I am older, and like to think, wiser, I'm hearing all sorts of stories about how difficult cycles are, how you have to watch for this and for that, and may God strike me where I stand should I not chain her in a dungeon out of the light in solitary confinement on bread and water for 5 weeks or more... OK, slight exaggeration, but only slight... but, you get the picture. I've heard everything from pro-alter people damning me if I don't spay her, to breeders who want to cut my own ba||s off, while telling me I'm an idiot for even considering breeding her, blah, blah, blah.

The truth of the matter is that at this point I am not sure I even want her bred, but have not decided for sure. I am also wary of early spays, if any (of course, I could change my tune on that in the future). What I am concerned with is being smart about caring for her and NOT putting myself in a position of a "mis-hap" pregnancy, or needing to get new furniture. So, the more information I can get on what to expect on this first cycle, the better prepared and informed I will be, does that make sense? I mean, from what I remember, my first female showed no advanced signs (or I was ignorant, which I doubt, even though I had a much different attitude in my younger days), and definitely showed no change in disposition (which I think I would've noticed since she was a regular working dog).

Hope this helps clarify some things. Between you and me, I just hope this doesn't turn into one of these threads where I have to qualify every little thing I say because someone perceives something I say, or don't say for that matter, the wrong way. Heck I went out of my way to hunt this forum down in search of further educating myself, you know what I mean? It seems like this forum consists of people experienced in all sorts of areas who would want to contribute some knowledge. For example, I have much experience in protection training, and if someone wanted knowledge I would be glad to share. But, I have to be more careful because my sharing could result in some VERY BAD consequences, including death, you know what I mean? On the other hand, the knowledge I'm trying to acquire could only result in benefits for everyone, no unwanted pregancies, no loose dogs running around, and no ruined houeshold items for my family. :)
 

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Originally Posted By: Camerafodder
even tho the intent with her was breeding, its not entirely new for you i'd think.
It will probably be for others so how about we approach from sharing experiences for the first timer?

With Kayla, I restricted her access in the house to the hallway, study, my bedroom at night (carpet) and the kitchen/entryway (tile). We had recently consolidated households so we had plenty of extra sheets so I laid down double sheets on the areas where she was - during the day hallway and study, my room at night.

Used the diapers and pads from the pet stores but there was still leakage from them. Have seen folks posting on here about using baby diapers or adult underwear.

With the diapers and the double sheets had no problem with staining on the carpet and she does not get on the furniture.

She was in the garage when we were not home and the doggie door was closed off-she only was allowed outside with a "chaperone" - we have an intact chow next door that stays outside 24/7 with almost no social interaction except for when Kayla or we are out back.

We also have a school that our street ends at a back entrance with a huge field where we went for training and exercise. Also a local park where I could see for a distance if other dogs were approaching and either warn them off or move away before they got close.

The first time i did not catch her going into heat until we noticed spotting at a training class. Actually happened twice in the five cycles she went through before she was spayed. The others just watched for swelling and blood spots, and she tended to pay closer attention to her hiney with licking and cleaning as well.

You're looking at around a 21 day cycle give or take, and I was told when the blood spots start turning brownish (instead of the blood red) around the middle of the second week. But since it was a first for me and I have stories about dogs getting impregnated at any time during the cycle I took the position that that could happen at any time and would happen if we turned our backs-period. The first heat Kayla had, I had given specific instructions that she was not to be outside without us-came home for lunch one day and she was out front (no fence!) on a long line and my nephew in the kitchen fixing lunch and I read him the riot act. He swore he was watching from the window yet I pulled up, parked, put her in the garage and got in the house before he realized I was there. Guess I may have gone overboard-think he was agraid to let her out again on his own for the duration!
 

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Here’s my experiences in no particular order.

Some bitches clean themselves, some don’t.

Those panties, diapers or whatever are a PITA. I would always forget to REMOVE them before I let the bitch outside to potty so I was constantly washing the stupid things.

Some show lots of signs, some don’t.

My girl Tessa was a very clean dog and the only way I knew was to look for swelling.

Neke became more clingy during her cycles.

Kaynya becomes VERY bitchy to the other dogs during hers. I will have to really watch her close during the next one as she and Sasha are still working out who’s higher in the pack ranking. We’re talking about a 11 pound Chinese Crested (Kaynya) vs a 35 pound GSD/Aussie mix – it would not be pretty.

Some are receptive all the time, some only when ready and some never.

Neke wanted NOTHING to do with the male we used for her first breeding. It was NOT fun getting that breeding done.

Tessa was happy to oblige the boys when she was ready.

Kaynya is an all-out sl*t and flags for ANY dog (sometimes even the girls). And if the boys don’t get it she will start humping THEM just to show them what she wants! It’s gonna be REAL fun around here when Mauser matures.


And finally, just because a boy is neutered doesn’t mean they have zero desire. Tazer, our male Cocker, was neutered as a very young pup. When Kaynya is in full heat he is more than willing to try to breed her.

So, my $.02. Unless you REALLY intend to breed her – let her go through one cycle, see how bad it is and then decide if you want to go for two before spaying.
 

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Haven't even finished reading your post yet, but getting the popcorn
 

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Arwen was a bleeder. She bled and bled the whole cycle. I knew she was in heat because I would see blood on the floor right away. With her I use the denim diaper and put a kotex in it. I can change the kotex once or twice a day and only needed to change the diaper once in a while. I have about six or eight of these so I always have a clean one.

Right now Jenna, Babsy and Heidi are in heat. They are all different. All of them have no problem with the diaper thingy. Most of them do not even require the kotex lining it. (Arwen would have bled through).

Babsy is my worst one. She ACTS different before going into heat. She loses her focus in class and becomes distracted. Sometimes she hides in her dog house. Then she sheds, particularly the hair around the teets. Her teets swell, her belly gets big and I am going through this right now. So far this is her third false pregnancy. She had a litter five months ago, and someone told me that might straighten her out. No such luck.

Heidi, Whitney, and Tori are really easy to manage in heat. Well, Heidi DOES try to move her crate over to the boys' crates, but other than that, I see a few drops of blood and note the date. About a week later the boys get REALLY interested. That goes on for a week or less. Then they become less interested. Then nothing. These three do not seem to have changes in behavior like Babs associated to it.

Jenna lifts her tail and proudly presents her rear-end to male and female alike to say -- Hey, I'm Ready You All, Read it and Weep! She is not the heavy bleeder that Arwen is, but as she is very athletic and an escape artist, I have to be even more careful with her. In fact, she took a trip to the Cleveland Clinic with me today, so I could guarantee that she would not break through the x-pen where Dubya is. Dubya won't be breaking through anything anymore. But even with no control of his hind legs, given the opportunity, that boy would figure out a way to breed her. Since he is in, Jenna is with me or crated.

Hope that answers your question. With seven intact bitches (two are puppies), I always have someone coming in going out or thinking about it. I also may not be quite as in tune with subtle changes that others with fewer females might notice. If I think it may be coming, I put a diaper on at night and check it in the morning. I have also taken a paper towel to the but and looked for red.

I am not concerned with soiled house, etc., because my critters can spend the entire day in their kennel and spend the night in their crate. In the evening, when I bring her in, the diaper goes on and she can then lounge about on my bed or couch. So it is not a big deal. More of a big deal is ensuring the females do not connect with each other during this time as the hormones can encourage them to squabble. When bitches squabble, it can get ugly really quick. I avoid that completely.
 

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W/o the swollen teats, I might have missed the cycle. they are so big, I wondered if I was sold an already pregnant dog.

my boys are no longer interested in her, mainly because she let them have the business!
 

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Isa had a few heats before she was spayed. In fact, when she started her first heat, I didn't even realize till she signaled! We were about to go onto the schH field, harness and all, and all of a sudden she starts looking at her butt, like REALLY looking at it. I was so confused so I turned her around and low and behold, she started her first heat. She always kept herself clean. But she was also VERY bitchy, in fact she was mean. Never to us but always to the other dogs. Before she would come into heat, she would lose a lot of her coat so I knew when she was coming into heat.

Quote:And finally, just because a boy is neutered doesn’t mean they have zero desire. Tazer, our male Cocker, was neutered as a very young pup. When Kaynya is in full heat he is more than willing to try to breed her.
So true! Cody was neutered young at 8 months and when Isa came into heat, he would start humping her. Right after I had her spayed, this stopped but he started lifting his leg which he never use to do, so now he always lifts his leg. Crazy boy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Originally Posted By: everett54Used the diapers and pads from the pet stores but there was still leakage from them. Have seen folks posting on here about using baby diapers or adult underwear.
Thanks for the tip. Also, how old was she at that first heat?

Originally Posted By: Laurie & The GangAnd finally, just because a boy is neutered doesn’t mean they have zero desire.
Thanks for mentioning that, I never thought of that.
Originally Posted By: Laurie & The GangUnless you REALLY intend to breed her – let her go through one cycle, see how bad it is and then decide if you want to go for two before spaying.
I'm kinda thinking along those lines, too. I mean, breeding would be a long way off at this point, and anything in my life can change between now and then, but I'm trying to get as much info as possible because I still have to MAKE IT UP TO THAT POINT if I did end up wanting to breed her, you know what I mean?

Originally Posted By: chasethedogWhen she starts flagging, she'll go in the crate. First cycles can be irregular.
When you say she goes in the crate, do you mean ALL the time except of potty and meals? And what do you mean by "irregular"?

Originally Posted By: selzerWith her I use the denim diaper and put a kotex in it. I can change the kotex once or twice a day and only needed to change the diaper once in a while. I have about six or eight of these so I always have a clean one.
Since you're a breeder, I'm sure you went through quite a few different types, right? I assume this is a cloth pants "holder" of sorts that does not have any disposable lining, and a kotex pad is actually the blotting material, and that if I work it right, I just have to change the kotex. Where did you get this? At the pets stores all I see are potty diapers. Can such diapers be used also as "heat" diapers?

Originally Posted By: selzerThen she sheds, particularly the hair around the teets. Her teets swell, her belly gets big and I am going through this right now.
But, this is not part of a normal heat cycle, is it? What I mean is, are these symptoms from the heat cycle or the false pregnancy?

Originally Posted By: selzerMore of a big deal is ensuring the females do not connect with each other during this time as the hormones can encourage them to squabble. When bitches squabble, it can get ugly really quick.
This is very good to know, too.

Originally Posted By: chasethedogW/o the swollen teats, I might have missed the cycle. they are so big, I wondered if I was sold an already pregnant dog.
I guess that answers one of my questions above.

Originally Posted By: mjbgsdBefore she would come into heat, she would lose a lot of her coat so I knew when she was coming into heat.
OK, so excess shedding is an indicator then, I take it? I'm thinking that in my case this time around, that might not be good enough to give me advance notice, depending upon when her first heat will come, because she is 6 months old now, and with spring coming, presumably around the time she might come into heat, I might be able to tell the difference between that shedding the normal winter coat blow. BTW, how old was yours when her first heat came along?
 

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Yes, I get them at PetsMart, the Kotexes at the drug store in the women's department.

For males there is a wrap. For females the diaper. They can be used for incontinance as well.

Yes, these go right into the washing machine -- no disposable part on the diaper at all. There is a hole for the tail and velcro to keep it on and adjust the waist. I like them and they work for me.

I did try another type where it looked like a couple of rubber bands and you put your own pad in there. That WAS worthless in my opinion. I never tried the boys undies (put the tail through the fly) because I would have to buy them anyway and the denim ones are a little more hardy.

Oh and for three heat cycles in a row, Tori waited to start until the first day of class, and two of them she started DURING the class!!! Now I am not saying she did that on purpose but getting her titles and getting her CGC was really no picnic. On the other hand, Heidi got to fill in for Tori on a number of occasions.
 

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No, but they look like they will work ok too. The ones I use are dark blue denim, and do not have as much absorbancy. I use a large, even though for their weight it says extra large. My girls tend to be thin in the stomach and an extra large needs to be pinned. I will look for the ones I buy, but these ones look like they would not even need a kotex in them.
 

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Riley just got over her first cycle. She did an OK job of cleaning up after herself but she was a heavy bleeder and I think for the second round we are going to use the diapers (we even discussed spaying her before the second round because she was such a heavy bleeder). I just pretty much mopped everyday and restricted her from the furniture. (thank goodness we taught her she is only allowed up on the bed/ couch when invited) She had discharge/ swelling and related BAD BREATH (from licking). We didn't even notice the first day(s) and i didn't realize she had started until I saw some stains.... and I was looking out for it starting around 9.5 months. (she started around 10-10.5 months)

I didn't realize that swelling of the teet could be a normal part of the cycle? I just noticed either last night or the day before that hers seemed to be swollen. If she started mid-december could this just be the end part of her cycle?
 

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I don't remember either, but it's been a long time since I have an intact female. I picked her up on the 31st, she started on the 23rd; 7days into it she had swollen teats. Interesting.

To answer the OP, I'm not sure. I hate to crate anyone after I get home from work, because they've been crated for a while. Since she is not receptive, and tries to bite any dog who gets near her, I can keep her out here with me and the boys. She is near me and in my sight. Once she starts advertising, then I think that'll drive me crazy.

Bithc pups can have irregular cycles just like teenage girls have irregular cycles. It's not unknown for them to stop and start the cycle again a few months later.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK, that helps alot, Sue. Thanks alot for taking the time to look them up for me. I guess, like you, I better have a few on hand so I always have a clean one at the ready.
 

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Originally Posted By: chasethedogBitch pups can have irregular cycles just like teenage girls have irregular cycles. It's not unknown for them to stop and start the cycle again a few months later.
Ahhh, I didn't know this. I will keep an eye out, then. Thanks for that tidbit.
 

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I don't think there is one pattern females coming in heat or in heat.

All of my other females blew their coats any where from 2 - 4 weeks. Current intact bitch Raya blows hers during her cycle.

I have tile floor in most of the down stairs and I restrict cycling bitches to a room or two. NO interaction with the other bitches even though they are spayed. I have notices Cheyenne My alpha bitch will blow her coat when Raya is coming in season, very interesting. I do the Demi-pants if we are going out in public or to training class if cycling bitches are allowed. Some training places don't allow bitches in season to train. Most SchH club it isn't a problem and no Demi-pants required.

Personality changes have been pretty much as the others said all over the place, some bitches get calm and clingy, some get down right mean and snarky.

Teat swelling occurs some bitches will swell more than others.

Then there is the whole fake pregnancy thing that can happen. Cheyenne did this on the first cycle or two, but not after than. So after the heat if you know 100% for sure you female wasn't in contact with an intact male and you are seeing signs of pregnancy it is a false pregnancy. The teats swell some bitches will actually produce milk, the appetite will change, there will be a thickening around the midsection. But no puppies. The bitch may adopt toys as her babies.

Val
 
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