MATING YOUR BITCH
INFORMATION ON MATING YOUR BITCH
To all my regulars and there are a lot of you scroll on by because your all stars and I know don’t need all this info but I find myself having to type it out in emails numerous times so thought I would add a page on my website dedicated to “mating your bitch”.
I do not keep bitches here so you will need to travel here for your bitch to be mated. This can be one mating or two matings, 24 hours or 48 hours apart depending on the Progesterone Test result. Travel Lodge (Long Sutton better than Kings Lynn I think) is a good option if you decide to stay as they allow dogs in your room.
Progesterone blood testing is the norm nowadays to ensure that you are mating at the correct time. A few very experienced long term breeders do not blood test but they know there bitches extremely well and will have charted the bitches ovulation timing over many seasons. Also they may well have there own entire stud dog to try the bitch first. Humping other bitches or castrated dogs is absolutely not the same at all! Nor does the blood turning from red to straw colour. Just deciding to turn up on day 11 as an “average” is also pot luck! All rather outdated information that needs to be chucked in the bin. To be completely honest I mate more bitches on day 14! I get very few returns but when I do they are mostly from bitches that have not been progesterone tested.
My dogs are sperm tested regularly to ensure that they are fertile. I also take great care not to introduce any chemicals into their system when they are mating bitches be that vaccinations, worming, flea treatment, antibiotics, steroids or any other rubbish that could affect their sperm count. You are paying for healthy sperm not a litter of puppies. You need to play your part in getting your bitch here in ideal condition to mate (which means no chemicals to her either) and produce a litter. Also after mating commonsense is required. Normal routine is fine. Putting her in kennels and flying off on holiday is not! Or even taking her on a holiday and hiking for absolutely miles straight after mating is probably not a good idea either. Stress will cause her to reabsorb pups!
For progesterone blood testing you will need to know the first day of your bitches season. I will try to recommend someone near to you that I know is reliable for testing. Your local vet may well offer this service but they may not have the experience to lead you through reading the results or even get the results right! I do not say this lightly. There have been some very inaccurate mistakes that have been made. Not all vets but some vets! There are also some cheap machines on the market at the moment that are not accurate. The type of machine that you are looking for is an AIA-360 Immunoassay Analyzer but as important as the machine is that it is serviced and recalibrated regularly and that the person operating the machine is able to evaluate the results properly. Being told about another vet who proceeded to get out the book that came with the machine and tell the bitch owner what to do next from the instructions in the book is also a big red flag!
I am really not interested in cytology, canine ovulation pads or any of the other myriad of fairly useless options that are on the market at the moment. If you want to use cytology that’s fine but I’d ask you to progesterone test before travelling here to double check. For absolute accuracy progesterone blood testing is the way forward. I have mated an awful lot of bitches and could tell you many stories about people that have tried these options. (Just as a reminder this info is for first time breeders not experienced breeders)
It absolutely is not an option to travel backwards and forwards to the dogs every day to “try them” as suggested by a vet in Norfolk recently! Not only will this completely stress your bitch out with a dog trying to mate her every day but it will ruin a good stud dog too and by the time she is ready he will be completely over even bothering to try to mate her!
Normally you will run the first progesterone blood test around day 9/10 of your bitches season. Small breed dogs tend to be blood tested earlier than large. (Yet another reason to use someone to test with experience if they suggest day4/5 they obviously are not experienced enough!). It may well take 2 or 3 tests before your bitch has ovulated and is ready to mate (around 40 nmol/l). Do not get impatient and complain about the cost. You will waste more money on fuel for your car travelling backwards and forwards than you will “waste” on ensuring you get the timing right and you get a litter of puppies. Please ensure that you are given the result of the test not just “she’s ready”. You are paying for the result. I will ask you to text each of the results through to me so I can keep track of where we are in the mating process.
So at long last we have the ready to mate news yipee! If you have a maiden(first timer) bitch I regret to say mating is rarely straightforward. If it is we will both be very happy! She will stand, the dog will mate her, we will hold them both still for 20/30 minutes while they are “tied” together, she will let him go and you will trot off home a happy bunny. Unfortunately this is not always the scenario. After an initial meet and greet between dog and bitch a decision will be made on the way forward for the mating. This may be that they run together in a controlled area or that you are asked to hold your own bitch (at the head end) while I deal with the back end! The majority of first time bitches are not keen on the dog getting anywhere near their back end let alone climbing on top. I know you all thought it would be all flowers and chocolates and that your bitch would love the whole process. I wish! The few bitches that come here and are like that are probably the ones that keep me doing this. There have been many times after a run of really difficult bitches that I have thought – god I can’t do this anymore – so we sure as hell celebrate the easy bitches here! JUST TO REPEAT YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO HOLD YOUR BITCH AT THE HEAD END as some people just think they can hand the bitch over! Also I advise that you bring a strong collar with you which you will need to tighten on arrival so you can hold the bitch firmly during the tie. Otherwise the bitch will slip her collar and I will be left juggling holding 2 dogs while the owner is left standing gazing at the empty collar in their hand! A first timer will panic not only when the dog penetrates her but when she finds that she cannot get away because she is tied to him! You will need to be able to hold on to her very firmly which may also involve you kneeling on the ground so suitable attire is also recommended! Also do not be surprised if she is very vocal during the whole process.
Every single mating is different to be honest. I may well take your bitch away from you on lead if she is being particularly clingy and tending to sit or lie down. This is to walk her into a standing position which obviously is the position we need for a mating! I will then ask you to move in and hold her head. I need you to remain calm and not get agitated nor raise your voice! If you are calm your bitch will remain calm.
If a bitch is growling or snapping at the dog I will put a muzzle on her. I think I can say that everyone says their bitch has a wonderful nature and would never snap or growl then, of course, they are shocked when it happens. They have never had a dog try to mate them before! My dogs have been bitten in the past, as have I! The dogs now know when the muzzle is on and are happy to just jump aboard in the knowledge that they are safe from being bitten. A top tip from me would be to do some muzzle training(using titbits) before you come so that your bitch is happy to have a muzzle popped on for 20 minutes. It makes a big difference.
If it is not your bitches first litter I will ask what she is like to be mated and we will go from there. Please be honest with me to ensure the mating is as straight forward as possible.
During the first mating we usually discuss whether you would like a second mating and we will decide when this should be from the last progesterone blood test result.
After mating I will tell you to walk your bitch (fairly quickly) to your car and put her in without letting her squat to wee and keep her quiet for half an hour or so, which is normally the drive home! It is ideal if your bitch is contained in the car rather than bouncing round all the seats in the car! You will have just paid for her to be filled up with sperm which may well then be deposited all over the car seats instead of remaining inside her!
Unfortunately some bitches are just impossible to mate and/or hold still throughout a lengthy tie. I know I’ve said 20/30 minutes for the tie but the record here is 2 hours!! For these more difficult bitches a side by side artificial insemination can be arranged for which you will have to pay the Fertility Clinic direct.
If your bitch is not in pup I offer one free return.