Last week we commenced with this topic and explained that, in most cases, dogs who are deemed to be ‘shy breeders’ might have in fact been brought together for mating at an incorrect time during the mating season. Mostly, it is because the bitch is not ‘ready’; she is not in the period of ‘standing heat’ or true oestrus.
Now, if the timing is right and she is in “standing” heat (true oestrus) and yet she still will not mate, then the problem may well be a psychological one, or perhaps she has a physical deformity which precludes insertion or impedes mounting.
Both female and male dogs can have psychological problems as well. For example, if the male were to be beaten as a part of the exercise to enthuse him to mate (especially if the time is not right), or if he was yanked away after having been ‘stuck’, then he might very well shy away from copulating the next time around. Any unpleasant association with mating will be remembered, and might have a counter-productive effect on the partners being brought together.
Many owners scold or punish their dogs (mostly male, but also female) if he or she makes sexual advances towards other dogs, or worse, towards humans. How often have we not seen an oversexed (?) male wrap his forelegs around a human’s leg and proceed to make mating thrusts. No one likes that sort of ‘misbehaviour’ – especially if one is the butt of the ‘joke’. The male (or female – I’ve seen females do the same thing as well) might be on the receiving end of a hefty kick. This he will remember, especially if it has happened on more than one occasion. The message would be that attempts to mate result in pain.
No dog will want to copulate if he/she believes that he/she will be punished when mating is attempted.
Let me make a quick aside in an attempt to explain why some dogs might behave this way. Dogs have an acute and well developed sense of smell. This means that if a droplet of blood from a bitch in heat has touched the sole of your shoes or the leg of your pants, or if (as a woman) you are exuding hormones during menstruation, then those smells might trigger off a male dog reaction.
Now back to the reasons for not wanting to mate, I have to add that if a male dog has been in some way physically injured because the female had not been adequately restrained, then he will be reluctant to make advances, even when she is ready.
There also are two further reasons to which I must make passing reference, not because they have been documented in scientific texts (I am sure they have, it’s just that I cannot recall seeing these observations in scientific literature), but more because of my own empirical observations.
(i) Some bitches will mate only with an aggressive male and will not tolerate an undersexed male (a male that does not display much physical interest). Some female dogs are quite selective and just will not mate with a stud dog whom they can dominate.
(ii) Some dogs which have had little association with other dogs and much contact with humans, relate poorly with other dogs. They simply prefer people. Some owners say “my dog believes he/she is human.” Well, they might not be too far from the truth.
Finally, I must make reference to impotence as a cause for dogs not mating. I will deal with this topic, perhaps as early as next week.