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Categories: Breeding

Q. My dog just started exhibiting some behaviors, notably loud whining and whimpering that ends up being high-pitched barks. Is this radical behavior change normal?
Hi Cindy,

You have provided some excellent training tips to me regarding my new GSD pup who is a year old by now. However, she just started exhibiting some behaviors, notably loud whining and whimpering that ends up being high-pitched barks at virtually anything that moves especially bikers, approaching dogs, and joggers. She just came into her first heat over the weekend (there is blood dripping every where) and I have absolutely no experience with a dog in heat. Is this radical behavior change normal?

And if so, how should I handle her? Should I make an about turn whenever she starts and when she catches up to me throw a big party for her? Or should I just stop the walk and wait until she be quiets? I tried both where the stop-and-wait seems to make her vocalize even more until whatever it is that is bothering her is gone. This vocalization also happens when my partner walks ahead of us, leaving me and the pup about 10-20 feet behind. With the about-turn method, I cannot seem to get her to stop looking back and vocalizing unless I go into a slight jog and whip out her Orbee-on-a-string. I know you told me that giving her a toy may be construed as reward for poor behavior, so I am hesitant to do this, but not sure what else to do (treats do not seem to work). She does wear a prong collar on walks, but when I did correct her for this, she was even louder.

Is this behavior due to her being in heat, or is it developing prey drive, or did I mess up on training somewhere?

Thanks again,
Jeffrey

A. I really can’t say with certainty what’s going on, but some of my females do change radically when they are in season. I think it varies from dog to dog and even from one heat cycle to the next.

Personally, if my dog is acting weird during their heat cycle I put training “on hold” for a while. I don’t want to be correcting my dog if her behavior is hormonal. Hormonal behavior is really out of their control and I don’t feel that I gain anything by stressing us all out during this time.

I’m sure other people have different ideas, but this is my opinion on it. If this was my dog, I’d cut her some slack for a few weeks and see how it goes. Realize that the second week of their season is when they typically stand for breeding, so it may get worse before it gets better.

Cindy
  
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