How poorly dog mating is managed by a lot of breeders never ceases to amaze me. Poor management of this most crucial act must be costing breeders thousands of dollars every time in missed litters or stud fees. Is there anything that can be done about it? Most certainly yes! And the considerable cost of not taking effective action should be motivation enough to do something about it. Well I would hope so, anyway.
Most breeders realize a veterinarian could probably assist at achieving successful dog mating but understandably are reluctant (or unable) to pay, instead preferring to cross fingers and hope it all works out. What most don’t realize is that for a small investment and minor personal effort they could sort it out themselves now and for ever.
Typical (Poor) Dog Mating Management
The owner of a bitch who does not have a male dog around is behind the eight ball. They usually only rely on seeing blood to indicate if their bitch has come on heat. Some with a bit more experience might also clip around the vulva and keep an eagle eye out for signs of swelling, plus note any increase in spot urinating when they take her for a walk. Unfortunately for many they completely miss the signs and the opportunity to get her in pup. Lots of bitches keep themselves so clean that there never is any obvious bleeding. And if the breeder is not in the habit of daily walkies it’s all too easy to miss the spotting too.
Breeders who have an entire male dog around have a big advantage in at least detecting the heat. But many of them let themselves down at that point. One common mistake is to count the days from the start of heat and organize mating on days 9 and 11 (or 10 and 12… depending on who you talk to). For a start, as we’ve already seen, it’s all too easy to miss day 1. For seconds, about a third of bitches are not even fertile on the “rule of thumb” days, either ovulating earlier or later than the books say they should. That’s a lot of bitches and a lot of missed litters!
The next woeful scenario is where the breeder just pens the bitch and chosen dog together for a week or so and hopes for the best. Lots of finger crossing going on here! Sometimes it works. Lots of times it doesn’t. Did mating even occur? Who knows!
Then there’s the breeder who at least tries to manage the dog mating process, introducing the bitch and dog every day or two to supervise. Yay! This is better. But about a third of the time (more often in some breeds) the bitch and dog simply can’t or won’t get it together. Sometimes it’s a matter of inexperience, injury or mismatched height. Other times one of them just doesn’t fancy the other one. Oh well ☹.
Does the option of DIY artificial insemination enter their mind? For some the “YUK” factor puts that idea firmly out of the game. But it is so easy and quick to do with most dogs.
Effective Dog Mating Management
Breeder keeps records and knows when to expect his bitch to come into season. He checks the bitch’s status regularly by checking the microscopic appearance of the vaginal cells using a Canine Vaginal Cytology Kit. He then knows exactly when to take her bitch to the dog, or to start progesterone testing in preparation for AI with frozen semen.
The dog owner keeps him separated from the bitch except for a daily supervised mating. If mating does not occur naturally, then the breeder carries out Artificial Insemination using a DIY Canine AI Kit.
Even if dog mating happens naturally, it’s wise to check that the male dog is fertile. Male dogs can suddenly lose their fertility for a range of common reasons. Using the missing of several litters as your way of finding out costs you and the bitch owners plenty. A better way is to do a quick sperm check using our powerful Micra semen microscope.
So simple! And for this little bit of extra effort around ensuring dog mating is successful, the breeder gets the hoped for litters and stud fees, and lives happily ever after.