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So, I have a 7 month old GSD, and I'm curious to know around what age she will go into heat. Also, what signs/symptoms will I start seeing before this happens? Never had a female dog before, so I'd like to know how best to prepare for it (and when to keep her away from males).
 

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Could be anytime now. Signs to look for, is increased licking of the vulva, bleeding and swelling of the vulva. Just to be safe I always keep them separated for 3 weeks.

I have been keeping a close eye on Zelda, but so far no signs yet.
 

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My puppy is almost 10 months old and has not yet come into heat. But don't worry, you can't miss it when they do. The increase in licking, as mentioned earlier, and the swelling of the vulva are very noticeable. You will also see blood spots before the bitch is receptive (lots of advice at hygiene in previous posts if you're interested in help with that). But it can happen anywhere from 5-6 months to 15 months. The discharge will go from red to a clearer fluid, and that's when your dog will be most receptive. I've heard lots of people say 3 weeks of isolation is sufficient, but I go 4 just to be safe. Good Luck!
 

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If you have a male, he will tell you.

I mean, unless the dogs are loose all the time together, and you do not supervise at all. Because he will begin to show a lot more interest in her, and will "groom" her, lie by her, and so forth.

This is the point where he might mark in the house, because if she drips, he will lick it, and then he may want to put his scent on the area to let other dogs know that he is the Dog when it comes to this bitch.

And, long before he makes his first attempt at mating with her, he will be checking her urine, and grooming her, face, ears, pieces parts. And then, she will usually refuse for a while. He will try to get her to stand for him, and she will lie down, run away, and so forth. Somewhere, usually in the middle of the cycle there is a 3-day period where she is in "standing heat" This is when she is willing to stand, flagging her tail, the dog is interested, and puppies are most likely to result.

Then if the male is experienced, he will provide his sperm.

If the male is not experienced, he will jump onto her, sometimes on her head, and sometimes he jumps off way to soon. Often the moment he starts getting close, she will swing around growling, yelping, or snapping at him, and he may be deterred. And maybe not.

But the old oops litter -- maybe, if you leave them together unsupervised through the heat cycle, but that isn't an oops, that is deliberate breeding. Otherwise, maybe if you are taking mood altering substances you won't notice what is going on. Maybe.

It really isn't like going to the dog park, not realizing your bitch is in heat, and you turn your head to see a new dog come in, and you look back and your bitch is tied with some dog -- nope, it takes time and is very obvious.
 

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@selzer We don't have a male, but we do let her out to do her business. Sometimes she wants to come right back inside, other times she just wants to play in the yard - sometimes unattended - which is an unfenced area (Rest easy, we have an invisible fence). I've noticed a male blue heeler roaming the neighborhood the last few weeks which got me to thinking about heat cycles. Right now she doesn't like him being around and runs him off.
 

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@selzer We don't have a male, but we do let her out to do her business. Sometimes she wants to come right back inside, other times she just wants to play in the yard - sometimes unattended - which is an unfenced area (Rest easy, we have an invisible fence). I've noticed a male blue heeler roaming the neighborhood the last few weeks which got me to thinking about heat cycles. Right now she doesn't like him being around and runs him off.
If I were you, I'd seriously consider NOT relying on an invisible fence if you think she might be in heat. That might keep her in, but it will not keep other dogs out.

Edit: It can help if you know when her dam or other close female relatives came into season for the first time. My dog was 13 months old when she did. Our first clue was blood hitting the floor (can range from a couple of drops to full on crime scene). She was put in dog panties when in the house - she was allowed to be naked in the fenced yard with supervision or naked in her crate, but she had to wear the panties in the house.

Mostly she was just bored and miserable. My city has ordinances that state a female in season cannot leave your property, so she spent the first week not feeling well and the subsequent time bored because playing tug in the yard got old.
 

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We don't have a male, but we do let her out to do her business. Sometimes she wants to come right back inside, other times she just wants to play in the yard - sometimes unattended - which is an unfenced area (Rest easy, we have an invisible fence). I've noticed a male blue heeler roaming the neighborhood the last few weeks which got me to thinking about heat cycles. Right now she doesn't like him being around and runs him off.
Even if your dog respects the invisible fence, it won't keep other dogs out.

I wouldn't rely on my female's ability to run off male dogs.... she may not want the dog around right now, and it sounds like there haven't been any injuries or issues with her busting through the e-fence. But hormones are powerful, and all kinds of bad scenarios are possible here.

Physical barriers and supervision are absolutely necessary when your female is in season.
 

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She may not like him today because she is not ready but one she hits the standing point of heat she will change her mind. Then you will get the oops litter. My neutered males are pretty good indicators of when she is ready. Even though they cant do anything they start getting interested and try.
 

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So, I have a 7 month old GSD, and I'm curious to know around what age she will go into heat. Also, what signs/symptoms will I start seeing before this happens? Never had a female dog before, so I'd like to know how best to prepare for it (and when to keep her away from males).
Well we have dogs the same age and she just went through her first one. No warning signs I just noticed blood on my bed good thing I had already bought diapers and pads. I bought the diapers ahead of time just to get her use to wearing one and she did GREAT no problems at all. I would suggest you by human female pads long ones then you can cut them in half and put inside the diaper. It could last up to a month so be ready. Good Luck
Fredi
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Of course the invisible fence doesn't work on "other" dogs. LOL!

That heeler hasn't been around for several days now. However, we have been keeping her on tight supervision.
 
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