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Do bitches in one household/pack synchronize their heatcycle?


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I have one border collie that has after only one fall roundup proven to be pretty much indispensable.

Thing is she is female, and training her I have noticed that during her heat she doesn´t work as well as usual. Add to that the fact that more people are taking dogs along during roundup, mostly intact males. That could prove difficult to manage (I don´t want to breed, and even when certainly not with those "daddies"!).

 

Now I am kinda dreaming of a next pup, nothing short term, but i want to have a "reserve" dog, in case something would happen to Gláma, and long term to take over when her retirement comes in view (hopefully still a long way of).

 

Okay after this long winded intro, my question to the board members owning multiple females in their pack, do they synchronize, as in go in heat in the same period. That could influence my choice regarding male or female. As it is I am leaning to male anyway, as it seems there are better chances of dogs getting along in male/female combinations rather than female/female (though I know of female dogs being best friends).

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I've always heard that they will do that; however, it has never happened in my household :blink:/> and I have 5 bitches...

A

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I've hoped it would happen because it would be nice to get it all done with at once, but that's not how my luck works.

 

There are still people using Cheque drops, but those can potentially affect fertility.

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As I haven´t heard of them I googled "cheque drops" and that gave some slightly disturbing results; Turns out it´s a steroid widely abused in fitness/body building circles :lol:

As I don´t breed fertility wouldn´t be an issue, but it does not sound like the kind of stuff I´d put my dog on for such relatively trivial reasons.

So far it seems to be a bit of an "old wives" tale, and not a concern in picking a new puppy.

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Okay after this long winded intro, my question to the board members owning multiple females in their pack, do they synchronize, as in go in heat in the same period.

 

Mine have generally synchronized, although sometimes it takes two or even three years for them to get synchronized. And there's sometimes an oddball who never does.

 

BTW, I once asked Martin Buser's wife the same question; I was curious because their many, many dogs are kept outside in a dog yard rather than in the house, as mine are. She said the same thing -- most of them do, a few don't.

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since you don't plan on breeding, and the heat cycle is effecting her job, why not spay?

Couple of reasons actually, so in no particular order:

-Costs, yup it is a factor. Nearest place to have this done is 300 km away, round trip 600 km. the operation itself is quite pricey too.

-Male dogs (actually dog as there is only one at the time) at home are neutered, as our place of residence is pretty much in the middle of nowhere this is quite manageable.

-It is compared to neutering a male a relatively risky operation, this is a dog I would really not want to loose.

-No I do not plan on breeding, but in the hands of this novice she has shown good promise, she has an interesting pedigree, and has not reached full potential yet, so although it will probably (likely) never happen I´d like to keep the option open for now.

 

So yeah, those are the cons, but of course I see the validity of your point, and she might get spayed.

 

@Eileen, how many females do you have? I wonder if the size of the pack might be a factor.

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I have three intact females (2BCs and a BMD), and they are somewhat synchronized, but they are not exactly together, so if there was a working issue for any of them they would not overlap to the extent that I would have problems with a working companion. I had a non-bc female who was spayed for health reasons, and the rest of her life all male dogs and vets regardless of gender regarded her as being in heat. My two BC bitches Bonnie and Kelly won't be bred, but I don't plan on spaying them except should any health issues come up. Neither has any tendency for pyometra.

 

Glama is young, and if the heat cycle does not affect her badly now, I would think you can expect that once she gets a very good handle on her job, the influence will be even smaller. Competitions can be planned around her cycle, and on the farm nobody is gonna get any points off her drive and cross drive ;) .

 

(by the way, to my best knowledge, in Sweden, spaying a dog for convenience is not allowed)

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With mine it was more like a cascade, one coming in will bring the others in, one after another. I worked with a bunch of women and we found that the same ended up holding true for us too.

 

As far as getting along, I've always had more snarking between my females than any other combination.

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@Maja; Yeah nothing bad, she won´t stop working or anything like that, we just had this "weird" episode during training last spring, sudden deafness for certain commando´s. As her heat is not very noticeable (few drops on the floor, no obvious behavior change) I caught on a bit late that she was in heat, and it might be the cause.

Competitions is not really a concern, they are few and far in between And the suckers had the national trials planned on our first roundup weekend, that could happen again this year... :angry:/>. I will partake in a trial at the first opportunity, but it is just "bonus" not a goal.

Swedish and Icelandic law are not comparable at all (like I imagine Polish and for instance Russian law aren´t either ;)/> )

 

@Gideon´s girl: I did not dare to bring up the human analogy, thanks ;)/>

I once had two female bc´s together and it was not really a success (but one of them was overly shy, and that made the problem worse), yeah snarkiness.

Beside Gláma we now have my seven year old daughter´s little chi/pincher mutt, she is female, but my real dogs don´t believe she is a dog (they treat her very friendly though).

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Smalahundur,

I wasn't comparing Iceland to Sweden at all! :lol: I was kind of pointing out (and not to you actually) that spaying is not always regarded as a matter of course. I find a bit disturbing this attitude to spaying, castrating, declawing, debarking and other things.

 

Maja

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Smalahundur,

I wasn't comparing Iceland to Sweden at all! :lol:/> I was kind of pointing out (and not to you actually) that spaying is not always regarded as a matter of course. I find a bit disturbing this attitude to spaying, castrating, declawing, debarking and other things.

 

Maja

 

 

I agree Maja. Elective surgery, ripping out perfectly good body parts, on a perfectly healthy animal.... makes no sense in most situations.

 

FWIW, my bitches have never synchronized. Though 1 gives me her *best* when she's in, go figure.

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Smalahundur,

I wasn't comparing Iceland to Sweden at all! :lol:/> I was kind of pointing out (and not to you actually) that spaying is not always regarded as a matter of course. I find a bit disturbing this attitude to spaying, castrating, declawing, debarking and other things.

 

Maja

 

And a study in Sweden found that 25% of intact bitches had developed pyometra by the age of 10.

 

Not quite the same thing as declawing or debarking.

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My two BC bitches Bonnie and Kelly won't be bred, but I don't plan on spaying them except should any health issues come up. Neither has any tendency for pyometra.

 

Maja,

What would constitute a tendency for pyometra? I didn't realize some bitches could have/show such a tendency?

Thanks.

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Coming in late, but IME with multiple bitches (3-5+) at a time is that they cascade, as someone else mentioned. Synchrony would be preferred because they'd all come in and go out at the same time, but what really happens is that one will come in and then about a week later the next one, and so on, so you end up with a really long period of bitches in heat instead of something like just three weeks (which can seem really long, lol!).

 

I've never heard of tendencies toward pyometra either. I'd be curious to know the answer to that as well, because I have had a vet tell me that the risk of dying from pyo is far greater than the risk of putting an older bitch under anesthesia in order to spay her. The bitch in question has not yet been spayed, but if I had data showing that her risk of pyometra increases with age, bloodline, or some other factor then at least I'd have more data to go on than just anecdote.

 

J.

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But Glama is a youngster, and perhaps Smalahundur would want to breed her one day.

 

What I meant to say, and I quoted a shortcut that vets use, is that if a bitch has a tendency to get infections after the heat, often the vet advises that the dog be spayed without waiting of pyometra to actually develop, if the bitch is not intended for breeding. It happens in dogs that have poor immune system like BMD, or in dogs having a certain condition (for which a person who is interested in the topic can search in articles written by veterinarians). So there are sometimes early signs of the body not being able to deal well with the bacterial challenge that the opening of the cervix during her heat exposes the bitch to. That of course does not mean that the dog can't get it out of the blue. Rather if the bitch tends to get infections, she should be watched particularly well and spaying should be considered.

 

Maja

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I would agree with the cascade effect. I have 7 intact bitches and we go for a couple of months with stupid boys...usually around the biggest trials. WE've gone as far as driving 2 vehicles, boys in one, girls in the other

 

The pyo thing is interesting. Of course intact bitches will get pyo's. Spayed bitches don't have a uterus to have that happen. But is it really that high? My oldest bitch is 12 1/2, no litters since she was 7; I do keep an eye on them for a pyo as her sister had one when she was 6

 

Cynthia

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I would agree with the cascade effect. I have 7 intact bitches and we go for a couple of months with stupid boys...usually around the biggest trials. WE've gone as far as driving 2 vehicles, boys in one, girls in the other

 

 

My wife just read this over my shoulder and is now threatening to ban me from this forum as it is a "bad influence" :lol: .

I´ve been trying to soften her up for the next border collie. I´ll show her Maja´s puppy pics next (she is a tough cookie though, she prefers labrador like breeds :rolleyes: )

I wouldn´t mind the cascade effect, because that means there is a good chance they are not in heat at the same time which would be my main concern in this scenario.

 

On a side note, females are all the fashion here, contrary to a few years ago where farmers seemed to prefer males.

In last years National Trial (the main stockdog event here in iceland) in every single group (there are three, A,B, and "young dog") there was not a single male in the top three. Weird.

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And here I am feeling put out about just ONE bitch in heat. :lol:/>

 

Laura, I hate for you to feel left out. When Tess comes in I'll bring her to you :) Nap will love you for taking temptation (pit viper) away!

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With mine it was more like a cascade, one coming in will bring the others in, one after another.

 

Well, I guess mine could be considered a cascade, too, in the sense that they all did not start on the same day. It could be that the first one brought the other ones in, but the result was that they were in at the same time, and their heat periods mostly overlapped.

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