Female Dog Behavior

by Adrienne Farricelli Google
Those girly traits are likely the fruit of anthropomorphism.

Those girly traits are likely the fruit of anthropomorphism.

Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

“If you want a good dog, get a male. If you want a great dog, get a female and cross your fingers," the saying goes. While female dogs are often portrayed as very girly in Disney movies, in real life you most likely won't find a sassy girl like Lady pushing meatballs with her nose while savoring spaghetti. Don't fall into the trap of thinking there are black and white rules on female behavior; truth is, it varies from one gal to another.

Same-Sex Aggression

While female dogs are often portrayed as being sweet, loving creatures, you'll be surprised at how intolerant some female dogs may become of other female dogs. This issue can be so severe that two female dogs living together may be forced to live in separate areas or may even need to be re-homed. Generally, issues tend to start when dogs reach puberty around 6 to 9 months old or during social maturity peaking between the ages of 18 and 36 months, according to PetMD.

Occasional Mood Swings

If you ever wondered why female dogs are called "bitches," you may now find an explanation for it. Jokes aside, generally speaking female dogs may be prone to mood swings and can be opinionated and manipulative at times. Your female dog may be demanding attention one minute, and then the next she may just leave when she has had enough, explains Michele Welton an obedience instructor, canine behavioral consultant and published author.

Reproductive Behavior

If your female dog is intact, she will enter heat and exhibit several behaviors connected with hormonal changes. She may leave "pee-mail" for males to read, vocalize to advertise herself, attempt to roam in search of a mate and act flirty with all the males in the neighborhood. Irritability and nervousness can also be part of the cocktail. Managing a female in heat can be quite a challenge and requires constant supervision for the duration of the cycle.

Maternal Behavior

If your female dog mates, you may have a batch of puppies 63 days later. As cute as it is to watch your new mom cuddle with the pups, make sure to use caution; hormone-driven guarding behavior is not unusual during the first days after birth. Touching and interacting with the pups may cause mom to be grumpy about it; however, the good news is that this form of protective behavior tends to lessen and fade day after day as the pups grow.

Boyish Behavior

It's quite accepted as the norm to see males mark and even hump, but when a female dog does it, the behavior sticks out and is almost perceived as a lack of class. In the doggie world, humping and marking is not an affair restricted to intact, male dogs only. Intact females, spayed females and even the occasional neutered male may engage in these behaviors. This brings the conclusion that each dog is ultimately a unique individual when it comes to behavior, and while there may be slight gender-based differences in personality between male and female dogs, they should not be classified as the rule.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Adrienne Farricelli has been a writer since 2005, serving as an editor, steward and writer for several online publications. She brings expertise in canine topics, previously working with the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification as a dog trainer from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Farricelli offers reward-based training and behavior consults at Rover's Ranch Home Boarding and Training.

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