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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today we met an older gentleman, Paul, and Harrison, his 5 year old intact male, 65 pound, SPOO on a walk. Harrison politely heeled by Paul and Basil left her head at home by barking, pulling, and showing signs of play like a wild child (of course). Basil and Harrison booped noses, looked like they wanted to play, so we exchanged contact info. I dont fully understand the male vs female, intact vs neutered vs spayed vs puppy hormone dynamic for dogs yet.

Is there any reason why they shouldn't play together or something I should be cautious about?

Basil
8-1/2 months old
Female
40#
Not had her first heat yet
SPOO

Harrison
5 years old
Male
65#
Intact
SPOO
 

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Peggy had her first heat at 8.5 months. We had ample warning before she was actually fertile, but she's not played with an intact male since. We've had no need to take the risk, as she has a female BFF and plenty of neutered playmates to choose from.

That said, Harrison does sound like he'd be a good mentor for Basil. What about leashed walks together? That's something we've never done with Peggy, and I think it would be such good training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Peggy had her first heat at 8.5 months. We had ample warning before she was actually fertile, but she's not played with an intact male since. We've had no need to take the risk, as she has a female BFF and plenty of neutered playmates to choose from.

That said, Harrison does sound like he'd be a good mentor for Basil. What about leashed walks together? That's something we've never done with Peggy, and I think it would be such good training.
Interesting. After reading your thoughts part of me doesn't want to find out what happens if... I will word my text similar to that, "after getting some second opinions Basils just going to hold off playing with intact males until shes neutered." Something like that.

I like the idea of him helping her learn manners, but I wouldnt know where to begin and would feel like its a waste of time for paul/hudson if it's not a productive. Also, I wouldn't know how to communicate to her that "now is not play time, it is serious time."
 

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Annie often played with an intact male at that age. I watched her closely for signs of her first heat, (which hadn't happened when I spayed her at 18 mo) or extra interest from the male. The male dog was actually far more interested in spayed Trixie than unspayed Annie or her friend Star, a year older and also unspayed. I am sure it would have been different if either were in heat!

If I recall, you are pretty short on socialization opportunities for Basil? I would personally probably try and figure out one trial and see how it goes (obviously checking to make sure she wasn't in heat).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Annie often played with an intact male at that age. I watched her closely for signs of her first heat, (which hadn't happened when I spayed her at 18 mo) or extra interest from the male. The male dog was actually far more interested in spayed Trixie than unspayed Annie or her friend Star, a year older and also unspayed. I am sure it would have been different if either were in heat!

If I recall, you are pretty short on socialization opportunities for Basil? I would personally probably try and figure out one trial and see how it goes (obviously checking to make sure she wasn't in heat).
Hmm, that's interesting too that you observed that difference with Annie & Trixie. I wonder if the age a dog first goes into heat is hereditary... like if Basil's mom Daisy was a late bloomer then Basil will be too.

We are short on socialization opportunities. She has 1 playdate every 2 to 2-1/2 weeks on average, and it's not like we're secluded in a cave either. We still see the world, but i'm always trying to find one-on-one play experiences for her. There will always be more playdates with other dogs.

I'm leaning 60/40 to no and realizing that apparently playmates will have boundaries for now.
 

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Some of our best socialization seasons recently have been on leash sessions. Our trainer says “only 5% of socialization is off leash play”, (not sure how scientific the number is but not the point!) and hosts on leash walks where we (when Covid restrictions allow 😞) work basic obedience, walk side by side etc. in a group of dogs. Just being around other dogs on leash has been beneficial for our guy in learning how to focus with distractions.
 

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I have never had a problem with my intact females playing with intact male dogs - it is very obvious when mine are coming into season from the mutual behaviour, and I take appropriate precautions for a few weeks.
 

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The on leash walk can start out with some Look at That training so you can be closer together and work on Basil to understand she can't play on leash. It may take a while, but I think you can get her to settle while working with the friend in the making. It sounds like Paul is pretty dog savvy so hopefully he would help with this.
 

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I see no problem letting them play. You will know when she is in heat and then playtime is over for awhile. You may even notice him getting interested prior to her heat, its very obvious.
 

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I own an intact male and female, they are different breeds and I would never want them to breed. I keep them apart for a week or two and we have been good.
They love each other and play very well, and in fact I know a couple intact males and they do best with intact females. Puppies are often indiscriminate but once mature, it's typical for intact females to be best with males.
You will definitely notice when Basil starts coming in to heat, and at that point you will have about a week before she is fertile and allows herself to be bred.
My female gets a bit irritable and less tolerant of Raffi for a month or two after her heat, so that might be something to watch out for when planning play dates.
One thought is to start any play date with mutual walks. Keep at a far enough distance that Basil isn't acting the wild child, and work your way closer as she is successfully focusing on you (I've done this with a friend who has a nutty beagle mix pup, and within 10 minutes they both had settled down to a nice hike with minimal, calm interaction).
Doing this before the walk will teach Basil that being close with other dogs does not necessarily mean play time. If you don't afterwards as well she should start to learn to turn it off too. The added bonus of walking first is that you can watch for any changes in Hudson's interest in Basil, before you let them off leash together.
 

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When I was a kid it was pretty rare for male dogs in my area to be neutered. The general attitude was there was no need, as they couldn't get pregnant. For the most part all the boys were fine upstanding citizens. They got along fine with other dogs. There were, of course, individual problem dogs. (I made a point to cross the street whenever I encountered one particular Newfie, as both he and his owners were jerks.) For the most part, however, it never occurred to me to worry whether a male dog was intact, as just about all of them were.
 

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I think it is fine. Olive interacts with all different dogs. Just watch for signs of heat or extra intrest from males.
 

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I would have no issue allowing play. It is fairly easy to watch for signs she is going into heat. Misha plays with many intact females. I am always watchful myself just in case their owners miss that they are in heat. Not hard to tell if you know the signs. There is generally a lot of sniffing and licking before humping. Though Misha wants to lick any girl with a UTI so I always watch for swelling.
 

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I've read about silent heats. Are they too rare to be a real concern?
I think they are fairly rare and also the degree of silence can vary. Sometimes a dog can have very minor discharge and not be noticed. My friends' ridgeback was like this, barely bleeding at all for her first heat. But the male dogs at the park certainly made her owners aware that changes were afoot. She started minor bleeding a couple days after the dogs became interested. I think sometimes a dog can have a silent heat without being attractive to males, but then they also are unlikely to breed. I personally am fine just watching for physical and behavioral signs. Even with a light heat it should be easy to notice and chances of a completely silent heat I think are very low.
 

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I've read about silent heats. Are they too rare to be a real concern?
They are quite rare, to the point where even long-term breeders don't see them much. I've heard that the tendancy can be inherited.
I know I've heard of breeders who tested for silent heats via progesterone blood levels, since the males were not showing interest.
I have also seen a few dogs that the owner did not realize the dog was in heat, but it was obvious to us (vet staff) because of the swelling. So an owner who isn't that observant might miss it if there isn't much bleeding. Not sure if that's considered a true silent heat though.
 

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Poppy had silent heats - usually the only way I knew was the behaviour of male dogs around her, followed a few days later by her becoming flirtatious and initiating humping games with Sophy. I only remember two noticeable heats in 9 years. My vet said it is not uncommon for heat to be suppressed in the junior female in a household, just as only one female breeds in a pack.

Once you have seen the change in behaviour between males and females that precedes the female being ready to accept mating it is very obvious, and it gives several days warning of the fertile days. Many people are unfamiliar with the signs of a heat though, and how to manage it - I remember one woman who brought her labrador to a training class in full flow, and did not seem to have considered whether it was a good idea until others pointed out the potential issues! As with so many things it is a matter of being alert to changes in behaviour and physiology - I do a regular "bits inspection" around the time Sophy is due, although I can usually tell from her changed behaviour even before there is any swelling. She is an unconscionable flirt!
 
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