Thursday, March 23, 2023

Does your dog have Spring Fever?

What is Spring Fever & how does it affect our dogs?

While this training is mostly focused around adolescent dogs, it’s important to remember that dogs of any age can have a momentary “setback” in training which commonly happens in the spring especially when older dogs almost act like a puppy for a short time. Spring Fever most definitely affects our adolescent dogs heavily, but it’s great info to remember for future reference for older dogs as well.

The Wikipedia definition of Spring fever is any of a number of mood, physical, or behavioral changes, which may be experienced coinciding with the arrival of spring, particularly restlessness, laziness, and even amorousness.

According to Scientific American, Spring Fever begins as a rapid and yet unpredictable fluctuating mood and energy state that contrasts with the relative low of the winter months that precede it.
For most creatures, spring means more warmth and more daylight, and these two elements have major effects on animal behavior.

What about changes in sex drive? 

Historically, conception rates for humans have peaked in the spring -- and so do those of deer mice and hares. A study of more than 400 breeding dogs, likewise, found that canine reproductive cycles were most active between February to May. "Studies show that sexual behavior in mammals follows a seasonal pattern, one that promotes survival." (Mammalian Reproductive Biology by biologist Frank Bronson of the University of Texas).

After the recent Covid Quarantine, many of us suffered from Cabin Fever!

"Cabin fever refers to the distressing claustrophobic irritability or restlessness experienced when a person, or group, is stuck at an isolated location or in confined quarters for an extended time." (Wikipedia)

Where I live, in rural Northern Michigan, social distancing was a way of life before the Covid shutdowns. People who live in our area enjoy being out in nature or being one with nature more than being around lots of people. But Cabin Fever drives most of us out to explore the trails after a long winter hibernation. With Covid-19, many more people are seeking outdoor entertainment as a safe way to get out of the house. Now it seems everyone takes every opportunity they can to get out on the trails as trails seem to be busier then ever. Even if we are not seeing more people on our favorite trails, our dogs are smelling them.

As dog people, we tend to take on training new skills in the nicer weather of spring and summer. Most of us slack in training and consistency in the winter. Then add in the increase of distractions in the spring and our dogs seem as though they've never had any training. Don't worry, we will be discussing tips and tricks for common problem areas in later units as well.

Here are basic links that will give you additional information about Spring Fever

Bark Post: Spring is in the Air
Scientific America Fact or Fiction: Is Spring Fever Real?

This post is taken from the Crazy Canine Adolescents Class!

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