Puppy Raising: Hormones Are a Bitch - Part 1

Posted July 31, 2020 by growingupguidepup

For more details on our products and services, please feel free to visit us at: service dog law, service dog etiquette, service dog puppy raiser, guide dog, puppy in training.

It is not uncommon for puppies to change as they mature into full-grown dogs. Penny recently turned one and she has changed a lot mentally and physically over the last few months. With these changes, both she and I have been faced with different challenges. Life has been a bit of a roller coaster, but that is a very common part of the puppy raising adventure.
Penny’s changes and challenges began with her first heat cycle in December. We noticed some radical behavioral changes with her from the hormone increase. She had previously been a little timid around strangers at times. Some people she took to right away, others she would back away from and be hesitant to meet. A few days before she started her heat cycle, I noticed her being even more timid, even letting out quiet growls under her breath. The night before she started her cycle I had her at work with me. She growled and backed away from a few of my coworkers.
At one point I was helping to get a patient into emergency surgery and realized that it had been some time since Penny had a chance to potty. I knew that I would be tied up for a bit and the receptionist on that night offered to take her out for me. A few minutes later she came to me saying that there was something wrong with Penny. Penny was terrified of her and refusing to walk. I called Penny over to me and she came, but then tried to hide under one of the desks. They had never made it outside to potty. Penny was shaking and not herself at all. Penny had met this person many times and had never shown any fear of her before. Later that evening she barked at the surgeon when he walked by her kennel. These were all never-before-seen behaviors and very surprising. But when she started her cycle the next day, it made sense.
During her heat cycle, Penny was very clingy with me and got very upset when she was left alone. She also got a little moody with other dogs when they were greeting me. Nothing major, but we did separate her when I greeted our friend’s dog, who stayed with us over the holidays. We kept her inside for most of the duration of her cycle, no walks, no public outings. We did set up some playdates with one of her best friends in their enclosed backyard. During that time we also fostered a young puppy that Penny grew very attached to and it was hard on her when that puppy was adopted by a family. This puppy was nice to have around to keep her distracted when she couldn’t be out and about.
Penny looking very upset after refusing to eat and dumping her food.
Once her cycle was over at the end of December, Penny mostly returned to herself. She was pulling more when we were out walking, but the fear of strangers decreased a lot. She seemed very excited to be out and about in public again. All was going well.
In early February, we noticed some behavioral changes in her again. She started looking over her shoulder at people when out in public. She would get nervous on neighborhood walks when we passed people working out in their front yards. And she started being scared of a few coworkers again. At first I thought that she was going into another heat cycle. It isn’t the usual course for a dog to go into a heat cycle so soon after finishing one, but not completely unheard of.
But as more time passed, I noticed even more changes with Penny. She started digging and nesting behaviors with the dog bedding. I would find her taking toys and going into kennels other than her own, even some that were too small for her. She had difficulty getting comfortable, and she would pace and even starting having barking outbursts randomly. There were physical changes as well — her mammaries became swollen and enlarged. She also started to refuse to eat. Penny had always been a good eater, picky about treats in public sometimes, but always finished her food. I would put her food bowl down and she would look at it and walk away. She would even tip her dish and dump her food out.
She became very needy and clingy again, but then would also outright refuse to follow cues. I would try to do small training sessions with her and she would walk away from me and lay down in another part of the house. She got frustrated easily and protested when she couldn’t get what she wanted when she wanted it. She would be frustrated, grumpy, and refuse to do what you asked of her one minute and then ask for hugs and snuggles the next. Any girl who remembers going through puberty can probably relate to these types of mood swings. She really didn’t understand what was happening to her and why. She even got protective of a young puppy that we were babysitting for a friend. All very unlike her.
All of these new behaviors and signs pointed to Penny going through a false pregnancy. This was very hard on her. Once again, we stopped taking her out in public and working her. She was very unsettled and seemed stressed when I took her places. Even going for walks was difficult. She refused to walk with a loose leash a lot of the time. She would whine and bark if our other dogs walked in front of her. She would pull to sniff everything and had so much energy that she would try to run and circle around me. Everything was mentally stimulating to her. For the first time in her life she started showing interest in things like squirrels, things blowing in the wind, and birds. Another challenge, walking a very large easily distracted puppy. All of a sudden our normally cool and collected puppy had major ADD. She couldn’t focus on me for more than a second before getting distracted.
It was very difficult to figure out how to let Penny get her mental and physical energy out in a productive manner. I didn’t want her to learn that pulling on the leash when walking was acceptable so we only walked her on the days that she was able to focus. It was also difficult to do training exercises with her. She was either not into it or too easily distracted. She was refusing treats a lot of the time as well. We just were not making any forward progress with her. It became apparent that we just needed to give her a break from training. We did our best to keep her entertained with toys and company with the occasional walk and playdate.
In late January we were given the go-ahead by Brigadoon to get her spayed. But before we could get the surgery arranged I noticed the behavioral changes and that got put on hold too. Ideally it is best to wait until a dog is fully over a heat cycle to spay them. After discussing the false pregnancy with the veterinarians at my work they felt that it was best to wait until she was over this as well.
It took a few weeks for Penny’s physical symptoms to resolve and once they did, it was time to arrange for Penny to be spayed. Since Penny was still acting uncomfortable with strangers I felt that it would be best to have the surgery done at my work, where I could be with her the entire time. One of the veterinarians that I work with was very gracious and donated her time to do the surgery. There was only one issue with doing the procedure at my work, and that was that since the clinic is an emergency clinic, there was no way to set up an exact time for surgery.
For more details on our products and services, please feel free to visit us at: service dog law, service dog etiquette, service dog puppy raiser, guide dog, puppy in training.
-- END ---
Share Facebook Twitter
Print Friendly and PDF DisclaimerReport Abuse
Contact Email [email protected]
Issued By growingupguidepup
Country United States
Categories Business
Last Updated July 31, 2020