Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dealing with Spring Fever in Female Dogs

"Bear" helps in the garden by guarding the shovel
By Suzanne Alicie

Okay, so I don’t know if it’s actually spring fever but when springtime rolls around my female dogs have always acted out just a bit. When we had two dogs they would do a bit of sparring and some territorial behavior. This was funny to watch as the younger dog suddenly gained confidence and a bit of cockiness and shoved her mom around. After several weeks they returned to normal.

This spring fever behavior didn’t coincide with them going into heat or beginning their cycle, so I just chalked it up to being similar to the way I react to spring. When the days begin to warm and the sun is shining, flowers are blooming and pollen fills the air I feel rejuvenated and alive after a long winter.  I suppose if I were a dog, I might get just a bit pushy too!

Now that I only have the younger female dog, she seems to have turned her spring fever towards me as the only other female in the house. Bear has always been an odd duck; she didn’t socialize well when she was a puppy and still seems to have the puppy mentality even though she weighs 50 pounds and is just over seven years old. She sleeps under the bed, and she generally thinks she’s either a lap dog or a person. But when spring fever hits, she’s downright ornery!

This is the first year I’ve been seen as her “adversary” but she is loud and clear with her demands. When I am cooking in the kitchen, she’s used to me slipping her a few pieces of meat here and there or a few CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ treats. Now that her spring fever has hit she is very vocal and will “talk” to me while I’m cooking (she is part Samoyed and kind of howls/talks). If I don’t respond to her or give her a treat, she smacks at me with her paw. Not to hurt me but in an effort to show me that she can do the tricks I’ve worked with her on, even when I’m not asking her to.

When we sit down as a family to watch TV, she usually curls up either ON me or near me. But suddenly she will race me to my seat and make me force her down before I can sit. Then she will scoot between me and whichever male is closest to me and stretch out as much as possible, shoving and pushing me out of the way. She does the same thing when we get ready for bed. I go to the bathroom and when I return there’s a big ‘ol dog laying on my side.

Then there’s the rowdiness. She loves to go outside and play, but we’ve had a lot of rainy days lately so she hasn’t been able to work off all that spring fever energy. This makes her very rambunctious and she thinks that every move I make is an effort to play with her. I’ve been tackled when I walk through the room; if I whistle with a commercial on TV she flies from wherever she is and lands in my lap. She pounces and crouches when I walk by her.

I have gotten quite a few laughs out of her spring fever behavior this year, and because I know it will go away soon I pretty much just let her be and don’t scold her unless what she is doing could hurt one of us. I keep her nails clipped (see How to Give Your Pooch a Pedicure) so that when she smacks at me or demands that I pet her by grabbing my wrist with her paw she won’t scratch me. While she may snap a bit, I know that she’s playing and not trying to bite me so I just tell her “no bite” and she obeys.

So how do you deal with spring fever in your female dog? You let her work it out and give her as much physical activity possible. When she gets to spend a few hours outdoors she comes in quite feisty but settles down quickly. The hard part is when she is cooped up and can’t get outside to run and jump and dig; that’s when she becomes my shadow and thinks I’m her sparring partner.  I’m just about ready for spring to be over and for my dog to go back to her normal laid back self.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie


  1. Sounds just like my male golden retriever (10 months old)!!

  2. Well, my dogs are constantly by my side, so that wouldn't be any different here but I have never noticed more of it in the Spring. Guess I just never paid any attention.


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