Only healthy dogs must be taken for mating. This means that both the male and female must be free of mange and ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, lice, etc). Similarly, neither animal must show any overt symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetence, etc) of any ailment immediately before taking them to mate. Their vaccination status must be up to date. Finally, if you have to carry out any helpful intervention, please be careful. For example, when clipping hair from around the male dog’s penis (see below), one might cut the foreskin. This would cause pain and reduce the dog’s desire to mate.
I have found the following text, largely put together by Drs Carlson and Giffin, to contain sound advice on the preparation of the two dogs prior to mating.
When, from your records, you know that your bitch should be coming in heat, she should be watched carefully. As soon as she shows ‘colour’ (bleeding from her vulva), the owner of the stud dog should be notified. He may want the bitch at once. This has the advantage of letting her settle into her new surroundings after a nerve-wracking trip. Also, the stud dog is less likely to miss her ovulation, if he gets her in plenty of time.
Please understand that I am not advocating the female dog must go to the home of the male. Some males are very protective of their territory and may not take kindly to another dog (even a female on heat) encroaching in their environment. In fact, they may become so aggressive as to wound and hurt the bitch who is not quite ready for actual mating. Besides the arrangement, as to which dog goes where, has to be made long before the dogs are brought together.
If the female has a heavy or matted coat, it is a good idea to trim the hair away to expose the vulva.
If the male has long hair on the prepuce (foreskin) or near the head of the penis, it may catch on the penis during erection. When the penis returns, the prepuce may be rolled under, causing constriction and great pain. Accordingly, I would suggest that the male’s owner clip away hair around the stud’s foreskin before mating.
Neither animal should be fed for several hours before the mating. Try not to let the dogs mate during the heat of the day. On extremely hot days, bring both dogs into the house or kennel room where it is relatively cool. When both the dogs are ready (experienced breeders know when the time is right), and all the negotiations and agreements have been finalized, the bitch could be taken to the enclosure of the stud dog, especially since the male is more confident and assertive in his own surroundings. If the female is shy and retiring, and if the male is strong and assertive, it may be better to take the male to the enclosure of the bitch.
Keep the number of people, involved in the supportive aspect of the exercise, to a minimum. The fewer distractions the better.
Both dogs are introduced to each other on leads (leashes). Once it is certain that the bitch is friendly and receptive, the dogs may be let off the leash to romp for a while, and perform necessary foreplay.
If either the stud is disinterested or the female resents the male, that suggests the bitch is not in standing heat (see Pet Corner Aug 12). She is just not ready. Separate the dogs and try again in 48 hours.
Do not insist that the male attempt to breed an unwilling bitch. This tends to confuse and frighten the female, thereby making future attempts more difficult, if not impossible. A slightly nervous bitch, or one that would rather frolic than get down to the business at hand, may have to be held.
Both dogs should be under control throughout mating. This may require muzzling.
More of this next week.