Temperament Change After Heat? The 4 Phases Simply Explained

Have you gotten a lady dog ​​and notice a change in personality after the heat?

No panic!

We have listed the most important points so that you can be sure that you are doing everything correctly.

Now you can find out exactly what is going on in your dog and why she behaves differently.

In a nutshell: Does a female change with the first heat?

Yes! It is actually normal for a lady dog ​​to undergo a change in character after and during her first heat. During the very first heat, a bitch’s hormonal balance adjusts to sexual maturity.

It is important that you (particularly in the very first heat) are there for your bitch and show consideration for her. Don’t ask her to do great sports and try to get a feel for her moods.

If she just wants to be left alone – leave her alone. On the other hand, if she wants to be noticed or even do something, try to make that possible for her.

The 4 heat phases

A female comes into heat about 1 to 2 times a year. In larger dogs, the first heat can only occur in the second year of life, while in smaller dogs it can already occur after half a year of life. This varies by the size and breed of the dog.

She goes through 4 phases during her heat, which we will explain to you below.

Stage 1 – “Proestrus”

The “proestrus” describes the first days of your bitch’s heat. As soon as you notice these, you should create a running calendar to be prepared next time.

The first phase usually lasts between 7 and 10 days. Some females are also in “proestrus” for up to 18 days. During this time you will find that…

… your dog constantly licks the bloody secretion that comes out and is generally extremely clean.
… male dogs are rejected by her. Make sure to inform the owner of the male dog about the heat! Bitches in proestrus can give incredibly clear signals.

Stage 2 – “Ostrus”

Between the 10th and 20th day, the bloody discharge becomes watery and light pink in color. From this moment your bitch is ready to mate!

If you don’t want offspring, you shouldn’t let your dog run around alone anymore. Keep them on a leash at all times and let them out of your sight as little as possible – some bitches will, in fact, jump at every chance they get of a male.

Stage 3 – “Metestrus”

This phase lasts around 2 to 3 months. If your dog is pregnant or pseudopregnant, her teats will continue to swell.

On the other hand, if your bitch is neither pregnant nor pseudopregnant, her teats will gradually swell and her heat signs will disappear.

Stage 4 – “Anestrus”

During this time, your dog’s hormone balance is at a standstill for around 90 days. So she behaves completely normally, is trainable and resilient, and not capable of mating.

The first phase then begins again later.

Creating a running calendar – how do you do that?

It is best to buy a calendar for this or create a separate section for your bitch in a digital calendar.

You enter this on the first day of heat.

Once you spot signs of mating ability, make another entry.

When the heat signs disappear, the third entry of the year follows.

So you can not only recognize a rhythm, but also always know exactly about the phase of your bitch.

What else can you do during heat?

Make sure your bitch is fed a balanced diet and adjust the rations if in doubt. You can also talk to your vet about this.

There are also dog diapers or pants in heat that prevent your dog’s bloody discharge from being spread all over your home.

Some dog owners do not notice their bitch’s first heat if she is “still”. This means that no bloody secretion escapes.

In this case, you should keep an eye on your dog’s behavior. With puberty comes the first heat and in this phase females usually behave atypically.


The heat is a pretty strenuous phase for both dog and human. Although the exertion and the mood swings can get on your nerves, heat is a formative phase.

The better you and your dog survive and master this, the closer you will grow together.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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