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can any one help we have a 5 yr old Labrador bitch we have only had her 7 wks she has settled really well and couldn't ask for a more loving dog but in the evening she is very grumpy if you touch her she will growl and warn you to leave a lone which we do, but just conserned as I have grandchildren and they love to play with her we have asked the previous owner if any thing had happened for her to be like this but they only had her a year as the dog belonged to her mum who past away she hasn't been spayed which after lock down I am looking in to also I think she is coming in to season as vulua large and licking a lot no blood yet this is all new to me as always had boy dogs if any one could give advise I would really appreciate it many thanks x
 

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The grumpy could be linked to the season, plus a little lack of confidence/uncertainty following all the changes in her life. As to the season, I wrote this some time ago. It was written for somebody with a puppy, concerning it's impending first season. So not all is appropriated, so just ignore those bits. For the first 20 years I always had dogs, then in 1972 I brought my first bitch. There is differences in their mental makeup, but ever since the first it's been bitches every time for me.

The first thing to remember is that all bitches feel their seasons differently so making hard and fast rules of both identifying the start and the finish difficult, but saying that, there are plenty of little signs if you know what you are looking for.

Starting at the beginning, if you are around males at all, they can often tip you off up to 6 weeks before by increased interest. Not wild interest but a bit more sniffing of her than usual. I’ve had bitches who get very slap happy in their working on the run up to seasons, not really got their mind on working, but others would work right up to the day! (But by the same token I’ve had bitches who will start working happily the day the season finishes but others who always finish up with a broody 60 days!) You often find bitches will start urinating more just before or during the season, in effect they are scent marking, a sort of, “Hi boys, I’m here!) Add to those symptoms, the vulva swells, usually a few days before the season begins. (Although very occasionally not until the season actually starts.)

OK, I know all that sounds a bit vague, all maybe’s, occasionally’s and sometimes, but such is the nature of ladies! What I’m saying is, look out for the subtle differences, particularly from around 6 months on. As soon as I start to get the feeling that the season is imminent I start on the “Toilet tissue test.” When a bitch is in season she starts losing a bloody discharge from her vulva. In the initial stages there is not a lot of discharge, but when sleeping it collects inside, to drain out when she stands. So shortly after first standing after sleeping I give her vulva a wipe with a toilet tissue. This makes it so much easier to find. But remember, it does take a minute or so to drain out, so don’t be in too much of a hurry to wipe her. The earliest I’ve had a bitch come into season is 5.5 months and the latest 14 months. But those are not the extreme limits. I’ve heard of bitches starting well before 5 months at one end and as late as 2 years at the other extreme. (Though I do wonder when a bitch comes in for the first time at 2 years old, whether the bitch might have had a very mild season earlier which the owner missed?)

The season it’s self lasts for approximately 21 days, although on rare occasions it can drag on for 28 days. The bloody discharge normally builds up during the first week, usually becoming paler and more watery during the second week and at this point the discharge may stop, or might continue for the entire time. But don’t be fooled! Even if it does stop she is still in season and is actually reaching her peak! In fact, if you were mating her then it is the 12th to 14th day when they are usually at their most receptive. Don’t be surprised if she is rather quiet during her season. It is not always the case but some can be very subdued. They often drink heavily. (Natural really when you remember they are losing body fluids.) They also tend towards rather more urinating. It’s all perfectly natural and nothing to worry about.

During the season it’s safer to not take her out, and certainly NEVER off lead. If I do take mine out during the early part of the season I put them in the car and drive a way down the road to break the scent trail back to the house. I walk them on lead around a local industrial estate where I know there will be no other dogs. But I never take them out during the second week to the end of the season. In fact many bitches really don’t want to do much during that time so it’s no great hardship.

It’s never easy to determine the exact end of the season. It’s something which just gradually fades away. Even the swollen vulva does not go down straight away, and in fact never does return to the size it was before the first season started, she is a lady now, not a baby! For this reason it pays to be a little careful when you first go out after a season. I normally take mine out after 21 days, but take them at a time and to a place where I’m not likely to find other dogs. But after 28 days I relax and get back to normal.

So you see, it’s not an exact science. But don’t be frightened of it. The little signs will be there, it’s just that until it happens for the first time you will not really be sure which of the signs will apply to your dog. The thing you will find if you read some of the posts on here is that after the event most are saying that things were far easier than they thought.
 

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I've rescued dogs in the past that were 'changed' past certain times in the evening. I've just assumed something has happened in their past and that they need to realise that it's not happening any more, so just take things slowly.
 
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