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Getting a dog


Puberty

Puppies normally reach puberty any time from six months old and their elevated hormone levels can adversely affect their behaviour, so seek help if you are having any problems. This behaviour will not 'automatically' be resolved by neutering despite advice you may receive to the contrary. Try not to worry - it soon passes!

Bitches are normally 'in season' for three weeks (and are fertile during this time) so they should not be taken outside (other than the garden) or allowed to mix with male dogs. You can tell your bitch is in season when her vulva swells and she exudes a discharge which may be blood tinged. This should happen about every six months, throughout her life.

As male dogs reach puberty they start cocking their legs, and you may observe an increased interest in other dogs, independence, mounting behaviour and 'macho' behaviour with dogs and/or people.

Neutering

Unless you are going to breed from your dog, you will no doubt consider neutering it. This has some health and behaviour benefits and some downsides too.

PROS of spaying bitches:

CONS of spaying bitches

PROS of castrating male dogs

CONS of castrating male dogs

Your vet will be able to discuss the best course of action for you and the best time to neuter. Your dog's breeder is well placed to advise you of how neutering may affect your dog's future weight and coat quality.

Each dog is an individual and you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of neutering your dog carefully.