Sexual Maturity - Spay and NeuterOn the average, dogs reach sexual maturity between six and 12 months of age. This brings on a number of changes, presents some issues that you must face and provides you some choices to make for your companion.
The female coming into "heat" or "season" for the first time marks the onset of sexual maturity. Though there is considerable variation, most dogs come into heat twice a year, and each cycle lasts for three weeks. Within each three-week cycle there are several days when she is able to breed and become pregnant. If you do not spay your female, you must endure these cycles. You must keep her under absolutely constant supervision, confinement and control. There is a bloody discharge from the swollen vulva. Females in heat tend to be irritable, absent-minded, and difficult to live with. Many people do not want to spay their female because they want to breed her, or because they think that neutering will cause problems. However, please consider the following points:
During maturity, males tend to become more dominant and headstrong. Please consider the points above, and in addition:
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PETsMART Accredited Training Instructors, in addition to their previous experience, receive a minimum of 120 hours of training in a curriculum which includes: Canine Behavior, Learning Theory ("How Dogs Learn"), Problem-Solving, Classroom Management, Equipment, Handling Skills and more. Where possible, hands-on training is completed in partnership with local shelters, using shelter dogs to demonstrate training methods, behavior assessment and handling skills. This enables us to accredit our instructors while contributing to the community, as we help to make these dogs even more adoptable.
Suzanne Hetts Ph.D. is certified as an applied animal behaviorist and co-owner of Animal Behavior Associates, Inc., in Denver, CO.
Terry Ryan is the well-known author of training books such as The Toolbox for Remodeling Your Problem Dog and The Bark Stops Here.
Pia Silvani is the Director of Pet Training and Behavior at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J.
Mary Lee Nitschke, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at Linfield College, an Animal Behavior Therapist and the Director of Training for Animal School in Portland, OR.
Trish King is the Director of the Animal Behavior and Training Department at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, CA.
Pamela J. Reid, Ph.D. is a certified applied animal behaviorist and assistant professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, where she teaches veterinary students courses in Applied Ethology and the Principles of Learning.
Information and advice contained on this site is for your consideration only. Please consult your veterinarian for specific advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet.