Part 7 - Early Training

John is an extremely experienced member and trainer of Gun Dogs. Hints, tips and general advice can be found in here which will build into an extremely useful souce of informatation

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Re: Part 7 - Early Training

Postby John » 07 Oct 2010, 23:24

sometimes so obvious its too obvious


It’s sometimes easier for me to see, because I’m not involved. There’s an old saying my boss used to quote. “When you are up to your backside in Alligators it’s difficult to remember that the object of the exercise was to drain the swamp!”

Last week she began to bark and cry in the afternoon - I know this as my neighbour told me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . She says it was after the lunch time visitor had been and gone


Is that always the same person? Was it the same person before she started crying? Does someone else come during the day without any problem? Could there be any unusual noises, road works for instance? If you get the chance, can you find out if she is still crying, and still at the same time?

At 6 months old she could very easily be fast approaching her first season, and although many bitches take it very much in their stride others do take it very hard, so changes in nature are not that unusual. My Anna would never take a titbit from your fingers when approaching a season, though she would quite happily accept it if you dropped it on the floor! Amy used to take great pains to tell me how ill she was and how it was likely that she would not see the week out!

Certainly I would start the toilet tissue test. During sleep any discharge tends to collect inside her, so when she gets up after a sleep give it a minute or so for any discharge present to drain down then gently wipe her vulva with a toilet tissue to check. A spot of bloody discharge on the tissue and you will know. Although the vulva swells, many, particularly at the first season, don’t swell until after the season has started, so that’s not a reliable guide.

Regards, John
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Re: Part 7 - Early Training

Postby Emma T » 08 Oct 2010, 09:58

Hello John

I too, find your posts fascinating and very helpful. A couple of questions from me too (hope you don't mind). Poppy is 9 months old and we would be expecting her first season soon. What other signs are there please? Will our 3 year old Barney (neutered a year ago) still show signs of interest in her? Also Poppy is small for her age (she is one of the "Christmas pups" and mum Grayse is dainty too) would that mean her season may come later? We plan to get her spayed after her first season.

Question number 2. Poppy has recently started jumping up at us again, it is always in sheer excitement and enthusiasm, at any point in the day regardless of whether or not we have been away from her. We have always done the turning our back on her method (as told to us when we boarded trainee guide dogs) which seemed to work. It has only been the last month she has started again. Any other methods to stop this again? We love her very sweet and excitable nature, but as we have fragile poorly members of our family who would be easily knocked over it is a habit we would gently like to stop!

Many thanks

Emma
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Re: Part 7 - Early Training

Postby John » 08 Oct 2010, 23:13

Hello Emma,

Poppy is small for her age (she is one of the "Christmas pups" and mum Grayse is dainty too) would that mean her season may come later?


No. My Anna was always a very big girl, probably the biggest of mine, and came in season at just on 6 months. Amy is really dainty and came in at five and a half months. Mandy was middle of the road and came in at 14 months. So size means nothing.

What other signs are there please?


I wrote this article some time ago:-

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, 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 loosing 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 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 loosing 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.


Question number 2. Poppy has recently started jumping up at us again, it is always in sheer excitement and enthusiasm, at any point in the day regardless of whether or not we have been away from her. We have always done the turning our back on her method (as told to us when we boarded trainee guide dogs) which seemed to work. It has only been the last month she has started again. Any other methods to stop this again? We love her very sweet and excitable nature, but as we have fragile poorly members of our family who would be easily knocked over it is a habit we would gently like to stop!


There are several ways people use, but I have to say, most are not methods I like. I use a combination of turning my back, ignoring completely, to growling out mu displeasure. By and large, jumping up is attention seeking, so that is what she must not get from it. If jumping up does not get attention then there is no point in doing it. But don’t expect it to work straight away. If it has ever achieved getting her attention and it does not now then her thought will be, “Well, it worked before so if I try even harder it might again.” So you can see, things often get worse before getting better!

Regards, John
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Re: Part 7 - Early Training

Postby Emma T » 09 Oct 2010, 12:11

Thank you so much for this John. Seasons seem like such a vague business until it starts properly!

As for the jumping up your advice makes perfect sense. I suppose we just wondered if we were not doing something really obvious and as we thought we had "cracked it" with her we wondered what we had done for it to start again. She is bright as a button and quick to learn so I am sure she will pick it up again. :1963:

Thank you again
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Re: Part 7 - Early Training

Postby John » 09 Oct 2010, 22:32

Seasons seem like such a vague business until it starts properly!


Yes, season symptoms are a bit vague, but you do get to recognise them. The problem of course is that you dont know which signs are going to apply to any particular dog until it happens.

as we thought we had "cracked it" with her we wondered what we had done for it to start again.


The usual one here is that when you think you've cracked it you relax just a little and let your guard down. We've all done it! :2003:

Regards, John
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Re: Part 7 - Early Training

Postby Absdoodle » 10 Oct 2010, 19:40

John wrote:
Last week she began to bark and cry in the afternoon - I know this as my neighbour told me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . She says it was after the lunch time visitor had been and gone

Is that always the same person?
it has always been either my friend Jude or my friend Kathryn but since September it has mainly been Kathryn, as she can do lunch time and Jude can do 4pm. But that week I did 3 of the visits myself, so this could be a factor
Could there be any unusual noises, road works for instance? If you get the chance, can you find out if she is still crying, and still at the same time?
Im not aware of any unusual noises. I have asked my neighbour and she said last week she was much quieter and she only heard her once or twice. But I have just spent the weekend at Craigs and she was barking and crying in the night once again. She was in a smaller cage so I wonder if it could be that she just gets fidgety. Another factor I have considered is that she hadnt had the exercise she is used to. We normally walk just under an hour in the morning and again at night but at Craigs we just played in the garden alot. This actually makes sense for the previous weekend as with everything that was going on here they ony had the one walk each day instead of 2. So last week I made sure the walks were more interesting and more energetic and hopefully with my neighbours update, this could have done the trick. I also gave her a bigger cage.
At 6 months old she could very easily be fast approaching her first season.
I have been doing the tissue test but nothing as yet.
Regards, John

Thank you very much for taking to the time reply and for your help. I will be keeping an eye on the season issue and also will ensure they are fully exercised - if this doesnt work, its back to the drawing board!
Absdoodle :-)
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Re: Part 7 - Early Training

Postby warrengl » 11 Oct 2010, 15:19

I don't actually have any questions for you but find your posts fascinating! :thumbright:
Gill xx

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