Proestrus is the stage in which her heat cycle starts and is marked by the swelling of her vulva and the first signs of blood.
You need to mark on your calendar the first day that you notice bleeding.
Keep in mind that even though this is the first day that you actually see blood, it does not necessarily mean that this is the first day of her heat. You may have missed her start date by a day or even two. This is very important in the timing when breeding.
The next stage of the dog breeding cycle is estrus.
This generally is during week two and is the most important stage if you are planning on breeding your Golden Retrievers.
You will notice that your Golden’s bleeding has lightened to an almost clear discharge.
Not only is she fertile during this time, but this is also when she will be receptive to males.
This is commonly referred to as standing heat, because it is during this stage that your Golden will stand still and allow a male to mount her.
Actually, she will usually initiate her willingness! Her flirting and playfulness towards the male will be quite apparent! She will also playfully back her hind end up to a male and flag.
Flagging is a certain way that a female dog holds her tail when she wants to breed. It is lifted up and cocked over in an odd position. You will never see her hold her tail in this position unless she is in heat.
Some experienced females will even flag when you pet them on their hind quarters!
The third stage of the dog breeding cycle is diestrus and this is when your Golden Retriever will stop allowing males to mount her.
The general rule of thumb is this. Week one, the female will not stand, and will not appreciate a male bothering her.
Week two of her cycle, is when the female is generally receptive to a male stud dog and will stand still and allow breeding.
Week three, she will not stand again, and can be aggressive towards any male that tries to mount her.
This is just a guideline, as each female is different. A more experienced female will, many times, stand earlier and longer than expected. But an inexperienced female may only stand for 2 or 3 days. You must be observant of her behavior if you plan to breed her.
I have a Golden Retriever that will stand as early as 5 days in her dog breeding cycle, and also stands until day 18 of her cycle.