A dog can smell a bitch in heat from yards away, even when spayed. The call of the sexual instinct, triggered by the olfactory pheromones emitted by a female in heat, can have consequences such as escapes, nervousness, and fights with other dogs. However, the sexual instinct of the dog when there is a female in heat nearby can be controlled.
We outline below five guidelines on how to calm a male dog when a female is in heat, the awakening of the sexual instinct in the dog, as well as some misconceptions about dog neutering.
How Does the Male Behave when a Female is in Heat?
When the neighbor bitch is in heat, males bark a lot and howl in a nerve-wracking manner. They are restless and very agile. Scratching on doors and walls is not uncommon.
How to Stop a Male Dog from Whining when Female is in Heat
Dog neutering (removal of the testicles) is the most effective way to alleviate the sexual instinct of a dog that is close to a female in heat. When a dog is neutered, the testicles where the hormone testosterone that causes the dog's sexual desire is produced are removed.
Neutering alleviates the nervousness of a male before a bitch in heat.
However, the dog will be attracted by the smell that the bitch gives off in heat and may star in escapades or be nervous. Hence the importance of always carrying the dog on a leash to avoid unforeseen reactions to the powerful call of a female in heat.
Neutering also prevents fights with other dogs. But there are other benefits to add. It is prevention against prostate cysts. In any case, if the dog is sterilized before one year of age and has not had contact or sexual experiences before, there will be a greater chance that he can be controlled when detecting the scent of a female in heat, although it will always attract his attention.
How to Calm a Male Dog When a Female is in Heat
- Always keep the dog under control on the street, on a leash. A male dog is always ready to mate, even when there is no female dog in heat around.
If a bitch has passed the place where the male is, he will smell her pheromones and look for her. Therefore, there is a great risk that the dog will escape and be run over or cause an accident in his uncontrolled pursuit after a female in heat.
- Try to organize departure times to the park with the owners of the bitch in heat (when possible). It is not strange that those who go to the same place for a walk with their dogs know each other, so you can find out the departure time of the owners of a bitch in heat to try to advance or delay your own.
- Change the itinerary. Going to other parks or changing the walking route so as not to run into a female in heat is a way to avoid escapes and the nervousness of the dog.
- Proper education can help control a dog's impulse to a female in heat. If the dog follows certain guidelines (“stay”, “sit” or “come”), it will be easier to avoid an escape. But you should never trust your dog too much: a dog that is not neutered, even if it is obedient, can easily get out of control when faced with a female in heat. And it is a fact that his sexual instinct will be more powerful than obedience to his owner.
- Neutering is the only way to prevent the male dog from losing control due to the call of his sexual instinct.
Sexual Awakening in the Dog
A dog develops his sexual instinct when he is less than a year old, often when the animal is about seven months old. At that age, he is already capable of being seduced by the pheromones of a female in heat and, if mating occurs, the bitch can become pregnant.
Bitches in heat emit an unmistakable perfume for males of the same species (pheromones). This efficiency is the result of an improvement in the arts of seduction of the canine species. The purpose is to ensure the reproduction of the species as much as possible and, therefore, its survival.
In any case, dogs are selective about seducing a female and mating. A veterinarian and expert in animal behavior explains that “it has been discovered that mammals, such as horses, select the female they want to mate with and something similar happens with dogs.”
How to Stop a Male Dog from Smelling a Female in Heat
If you cannot spay and neuter your dogs and you don't want puppies, it is mandatory to keep them separate. Consider kennels for your male for the duration of your female's heat cycle. He won't be there to catch the odors the female is emitting, nor will he spend all his time trying to hook up with his girlfriend.
You can board your dog at a vet or other commercial boarding location or build a safe, humane kennel on your own property. If you are going the later route, make sure the kennel is truly escape proof, far enough away from the female that he does not go mad, and make sure he has enough exercise time after moving the female to another secure location.
If introduction is not possible, consider giving the female liquid chlorophyll twice a day to mask her odors. This way, the male's interest declines a bit because he doesn't pick up the masked scent. If you choose to try this option, ask your vet to determine the correct dose. It's worth noting that this tactic isn't 100 percent effective, so keep an eye on your dogs to avoid unexpected pregnancies.
If your male dog's potential candidate doesn't live in the same house but lives next door or on the street, do your best to avoid the other dog and make sure your dog can't escape your property.
Misconceptions about Dog Neutering
Although sterilizing is the most effective method of controlling a dog when a bitch in heat is nearby, some owners are reluctant to neuter their dog. They think that his character will change and that sterilizing entails a physical decrease for the dog. However, this does not correspond to reality. The prejudice of thinking that castrating a dog is depriving it of its masculinity influences it.
On the contrary, spaying of female dogs is more accepted and more frequent than that of male dogs. With the spayed female, the male's sexual instinct does decrease, because the bitch does not emit pheromones, nor is she willing to be mounted.
In any case, neutering is the only way to minimize the chance of a female dog getting pregnant and dogs going berserk when they have a female dog in heat nearby.