don't like the mess? get her spayed. never have to deal with that mess again. but just to make sure that there isn't a problem i would talk to your vet. some dogs can get a uterus infection at their times of heat or soon after. especially if they are older.
A heat last 28-30 days, there is approximately 7-10 days during which they are actually fertile. Some bitches bleed the entire heat, some barely bleed at all, most fall somewhere in between.
As far as the spay/nueter debate, that is a completely different thread and should be handled as such. There are huge pros and cons on both sides and every owner should be aware of both sides to make an informed decision.
My dog has become ridiculously emotional, much like a human woman, I mean today for some reason she starting taking food from her bowl and bringing it to the lounge. When I said "NO" she wimpered, cowered, lay flat to the floor and whimpered and whined as though I'd just beaten her with a stick! She's never done this before, can I put this down to being in heat? Or is there another reason she's doing this? If I ever have to discipline her for anything now its the same reaction. If I have to say "NO" while we are out walking and she does this, people think I'm mistreating her or something! She also follows me everywhere including the shower, and does not leave me alone for a second, which I've heard is normal while on heat, but the whimpering cowering thing breaks my heart and I haven't read about this!
How old is she? If she's still a pup (under a year) it could be a fear period or an underlying medical condition. For now, do not give any attention to her when she cowers, giving attention to the undesired behavior reenforces it. when she cowers literally turn your back on her, DO NOT 'coddle' her for cowering. Reward the behavior you want from her (acting brave) I would also get a trainer or behaviorist involved to observe the behavior and help you to work through it.
Thanks for your reply, she is 10 months so I guess the first time on heat? Thanks for the advice, I've already done the "ignoring" thing and I think its working. Exactly like children, if you react they keep doing it!
So do you think this change of behaviour is indeed due to being on heat? She never did it before.
At 10 months it could be, it could also be a fear period, which happens about this time. IF it continues past her heat, go get her checked out for tick born illness and low thyroid (be sure you get the test sent out to a lab, not an in house thyroid, they aren't sensitive enough to detect low/normal thyroid which can start behavioral changes).
Thank you all very much for this. Yes I do plan to get her spayed but as she is in full "on heatness" (if you can say that) my vet advised me to wait as the internal bleeding and swollen areas need to subside beforehand. maybe in 3 weeks or so. It is nothing related to ticks, fleas etc because all that has to be treated here in Luxembourg from a very early age.
I hadn't heard of the "Fear Period" before so I looked it up thanks to this forum and found this which fits my dog Dolly exactly and repeats what cshellenberger mentioned:
" Second Fear Impact Period 6 to 14 Months
This period is otherwise known as Teenage Flakiness! In large breeds this period could extend longer since it is tied to sexual maturity. Incidents may occur more than once. This is a fear of new situations and is handled with the utmost patience. The dog is encouraged to work it out on his own. If anything, it is better to ignore the whole situation than to reinforce the fear by praising the dog or petting him while he is afraid. When you "reassure" a dog with pets and "it's okay, fella", you are telling him it is okay to be frightened and you are creating a potential problem."