More on ‘shy’ breeders: dogs that just won’t mate

Last week, I mentioned that some dogs, having had so much contact with humans and so little with their own species, actually prefer human company, and I’d like today to continue with this theme.

There are those who will argue that a dog is a dog and cannot really identify with humans. This may be true, but only to certain extent. Dog owners, dog breeders and even scientifically trained professionals (veterinarians included) have empirically observed and have had the tangible experience with the results of inadequate canine socialization with their own species.

This is an interesting phenomenon, especially when it relates to sex and reproduction. It is easily argued that the natural instinct, the drive in mammals (and even other species) is to procreate. The hormones dictate behaviour – or so say the scientists. Since the bitch cannot prevent herself coming in heat at the right season, she will. Therefore, it follows that she must carry the process to its finality. She must copulate.

Well, it is at this last stage, the stage of actual intercourse, that we find that some dogs with a strong human bond will be reluctant to allow the male to mount. I suppose that, in the context of our argument, this can be explained by inexperience, or by her not learning enough from her parents, or by a reduction in the hormone surge at heat time (this reduction being attributed to the long, even only, relationship with humans). This last suggestion (at best, a theory) has, to my knowledge, no scientific basis and would need to be researched.  Also, there are many cases of dogs with a great human bond quite happily mating with partners they don’t even know. But don’t bash experience and empirical observation. In the end, the fact is that it has been observed on numerous occasions that bitches with a great affinity to humans, (perhaps a ‘spoiled’ female which has been raised as a true ‘house’ pet) are reluctant to mate. The female clamps down her tail and will not raise her vulva, thus precluding intromission.

With anticipation in her eyes, this female cat waits to be adopted. She can be found at the Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk. She has been spayed.

I mentioned last week that it has also been observed that some females are quite selective and will not mate with a stud dog that they can dominate. This is most interesting. But let us not make any great meaning out of this phenomenon, especially by transferring this behavioural pattern on to the human condition.
Some other observations relative to the theme of the shy breeders are the following:-

(i)    Extremely submissive bitches may keep their tails down, thus covering the vulva and preventing copulation.

(ii)    Bitches that are kennel (yard) mates of male dogs, with whom they grew up and to whom they become accustomed, may mate willingly with them, but absolutely refuse to mate with any ‘outsider’ (a male from another kennel), especially if the stud is brought into the female’s environment.

(iii)    There are some females that panic at the very approach of a male dog. They then throw themselves onto the ground and will not move. Needless to say, no mating will take place. Dogs have to copulate standing up. I have heard vets and breeders argue the case for tranquilisation (sedation) in order to counteract this ‘panic’ condition of some females. I must say I am not too much in agreement with this ‘therapy’. But more of that next week.


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