It's one of the most upsetting things: you take your female dog in heat to the male dog and the male dog refuses to mount and mate. Can a male dog not know to mate? Or is it the female that for some reason isn't allowing the male to mount? These are all important questions. Let's discover what may be going on.
What's Up With Male Dogs Refusing to Mount?
In movies, when we watch accidental mating between two dogs, things look pretty simple. It takes a second for the owners to get distracted, and the next second their dogs are mating. It seems so natural!
In reality, things are a bit more complicated. Namely, the mating process occurs in several stages and lasts for around 30 minutes.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs, especially if inexperienced, require human intervention in many mating cases.
Dog Breeding 101: Possible Causes for Male Dogs Refusing to Mate
There are many reasons why the male dog refuses to mount. Some of them are physical causes, while others are emotional in nature.
Generally speaking, the reasons why the male refuses or cannot mount the female dog, can be classified as physical, as it happens with dogs of different sizes or when the area doesn't offer enough space.
Emotional issues may encompass lack of experience, aggressive females, stress, some past negative experience and even lack of privacy. Let's take a closer look at these issues and how to solve them.
If the male and female dog are not compatible in size, the male will not be able to mount the female. If the male is much smaller than the female, he will not be able to get on top of her properly.
On the flip side, if the male is significantly bigger, he will mount her, but will not successfully locate the female dog's reproductive parts.
Solution: Before mating, make sure the dogs are compatible in size. Even when breeding dogs of the same breed, size incompatibility is possible.
Not Enough Space
Before mating, dogs have their rituals – running, playing, sniffing, flagging (lateral deviation of the female dog's tail). Performing these rituals requires time and space. If there is not enough room for these rituals, the male dog may refuse to mount the female.
Solution: Make sure there is enough space for the dogs to perform their pre-mating rituals. Spacious yards or basements and dog-friendly playgrounds are good options.
Lack of Experience
Dogs are not born studs – they need to practice to become studs. It may sound unbelievable, but dogs that have not mated before may not know what to do and how to behave when the mating time comes.
Inexperienced dogs are popularly called “unproven”. They need human help during their first or maybe even second mating.
Luckily, when it comes to mating, most dogs are fast learners – after one or two assisted mating episodes, they get the hang of things and start mating independently.
Solution: If you are a first-time dog parent and not very familiar with the dog mating process, it is best advised to seek help – a friend who understands these things or a professional breeder. Basically, it would help if you had someone who understands the process to create the ideal breeding environment and help the male dog mount the female.
Females can be overly aggressive toward the male and refuse to be mounted. The chances of the female being aggressive are bigger if her mating time is miscalculated.
In other words, the female dog is not in the estrus stage, also known as standing heat. If this is all new to you, read here to learn more about how long female dogs are in heat.
However, even if the timing is right, the female dog might still exhibit signs of aggression. This can happen sometimes.
Solution: To prevent traumatizing the male, it is advisable to keep the female on a leash and collar during the initial encounter. Most females are aggressive at the beginning, but over time they relax and become more receptive.
If the female is still exhibiting aggression, even after being mounted, you can control her by holding the collar with one hand and holding her around the ribs with the other.
Another useful tip to decrease the female’s aggression would be to organize the mating on neutral territory or to have the female brought over to the male’s house. It is almost impossible to control an aggressive female on her territory.
Finally, it should be noted that patience is necessary when dealing with a bold female that has not mated before, as she would need more time to relax and become receptive.
A Negative Experience
Male dogs that have previously been paired with aggressive females may refuse to mount due to bad experiences and fear of being attacked.
Dogs with previous bad experiences may get aroused, but refuse to mount or, in more severe cases, may be completely uninterested in the female.
Solution: Before trying to mate the dogs, make sure they know each other. Females tend to be more aggressive toward unknown males. Arrange several playdates before the mating time.
A Matter of Stress
For the dog to be willing to mount and mate, it needs to be comfortable in its surroundings and relaxed. Stress and anxiety influence the dog’s performance and may even lead to refusal to mount.
Many factors can trigger stress. Some of them, like aggressive females and bad past experiences, we already covered. Other common stress triggers are noise and a slippery floor.
Solution: Determine what causes your dog’s stress and eliminate the trigger. If it is noise, make sure the mating environment is calm and quiet. If the floor is slippery and makes it hard for the dog to mount or feels unstable while mounted, make sure there is a non-slip mattress placed in the mating area.
Lack of Privacy
Dogs do not appreciate being mocked during mating. They need privacy and like being left alone. If there are too many people present, even familiar ones, the female may be too shy, or the male may refuse to mount and mate.
Solution: Organize the mating without involving too many people. If the mating is assisted, the person who will help and the dogs’ owners are enough. If the mating is non-assisted, only the dogs’ owners should be present.
Breeding issues can stem from a plethora of reasons. The inability of refusal to mount the female is only one of those issues.
Male dog breeding problems can result from low sperm count due to testicular trauma or prolonged fever, prostate issues (more common in older dogs), or infectious conditions such as brucellosis.
Therefore, before deciding to mate, it is advisable to have your dog checked and thoroughly examined by your trusted vet.
Some of the conditions that cause breeding problems can be transmitted to the female (brucellosis). This additionally accents the need for medical examination before mating. In fact, both the male and the female should be examined and cleared for mating.
If both dogs are healthy and cleared for mating, the inability of refusal to mount is nothing, but a minor obstacle that can easily be solved.