My Female Dog In Heat Won’t Accept A Male - Causes
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There are no tricks to force a bitch accept being mounted. Animals act according to experience, learning and ethology. If your dog does not want to do something, they should never be forced. Their nature should be respected and every animal will act in their own time. We must be attentive to the behavior of our dogs in order to help them. It is only through knowing them that we can offer the best possible chance of health and happiness.
In this AnimalWised article, we want to help you understand a female dog’s behavior, specifically when she is in heat. Keep reading to find out why your bitch is rejecting males and won't accept mounting when in heat.
Heat in bitches
Female dogs are sexually mature after their first heat cycle. This occurs between 6 and 12 months of age. Being sexually mature does not necessarily imply being physiologically prepared to breed. You must wait until your dog has experienced at least a year of heat before allowing her to be mounted and copulate with a male.
A bitch's reproductive cycle is regulated by pituitary hormones, luteinizing hormones, follicle stimulating hormones, estrogen and progesterone. In addition, a female dog’s heat consists of 4 phases:
- Proestrus: this phsae of a dog's heat cycle lasts between approximately 6 and 11 days. Towards the end of this phase there is a peak concentration of estrogen in the blood. At this time, we will observe that the bitch shows aggressiveness towards the male and does not accept copulation, despite him feeling attracted to her. In addition, you will notice swelling of her vulva which is mediated by estrogen. Likewise, it is normal to notice the appearance of blood due to an over-vascularization of the area. Learn more with our article on why my dog keeps licking her privates.
- Estrus: this dog heat phase lasts about 5 to 9 days. At this stage, a luteinizing hormone peak appears. In turn, this causes the ovulation (release) of the immature ovule that will be mature thanks to the follicle stimulating of the hormone. During this fertility phase, a female dog will continue to attract males, accept copulation and maintain vulva swelling.
- Diestrus: at the end of the estrus phase, whether there has been fertilization of the ovules or not. During this phase her progesterone levels are very high. If copulation has proven successful, this hormone will serve to prepare the uterus, reducing the chance of miscarriage or other complications. This phase lasts for roughly 56 or 60 days. If fertilization has not occurred, symptoms of pseudopregnancy or psychological pregnancy may appear. For more information, take a look at our article on phantom pregnancy in dogs.
- Anestrus: between one cycle and another, there is a period of 3 months in which hormone changes should not occur. This is in the case when there has been no sign of dog pregnancy.
For more on the heat phases in female dogs, take a look at our guide to dog heat cycle - stages and symptoms.
Dog Mating - what to consider
If you want your dog to have puppies andenjoy motherhood, you must first evaluate certain factors. The most important is ensuring your dog is safe and comfortable throughout the process.
First, you should know what to do once the puppies have been weaned. This is either by the mother or the caregiver, the latter being required for prematurely weaned puppies. Once weaned, we need to know whether there people willing to adopt the puppies. We also need to consider the health of the potential mother and whether we are able to provide for them when in our care.
You will also need to make sure you have budgeted and can afford all the expenses that come with a dog pregnancy. Basic expenses include good quality food, ultrasound to monitor pregnancy, veterinary bills for checkups and required accessories. If problems arise during canine childbirth or pregnancy, these costs could go up considerably.
Your female dog must be the appropriate age before mating/procreating. She must be more than 2 years old, but less than 8. There can be some changed on their side, depending on the breed and individual dog. If you want your bitch to have puppies, we recommend consulting a veterinarian beforehand.
Finally, your dog must be in heat and in her estrus phase. If she is not in this phase, you might notice she will act aggressively towards the male. As we said at the beginning, we do not recommend forcing any animal to experience or do anything it does not want to.
Dog mating - problems with mounting
There are several reasons why my female dog refuses to mate with a male, even if she is in heat. You must be aware of her behavior during this stage, ensuring you have sufficient knowledge on the subject. If you are worried, we always recommend going to a veterinarian in order to receive specialized consultation about your dog’s specific case.
- Heat cycle: make sure your bitch is in heat and in the proper estrus phase. If you are unsure when the dog's heat cycle begins, you can also visit your veterinarian. A professional will be able to perform a cytology on the bitch to confirm their status.
- Suitability of the male: it is necessary to know the ethology of the species and to know that not all males will be desirable for your bitch. Pheromones, mood and/or personality are all factors to consider. For example, bitches with a strong character may not be attracted to males with a more submissive personality. It is also important that the animals have met before and have had an opportunity to play and interact.
- Proportions of male: ensure you choose a male according to the size and weight of the female. This is important so that neither suffers damage from weight bearing down during copulation and they do not hurt each other when they become stuck while mating. If the male is too big, the female could also have problems giving birth to puppies which are larger than she may be able to carry easily.
- Trauma: if your dog has suffered a traumatic experience with other dogs, they may have developed fears and insecurities. This may be the reason she will not accept being mounted and why she might react aggressively. In general, dogs in this situation usually behaves aloof, appears scared and fears other dogs and people. If this is the case, we recommend consulting a canine specialist or ethologist.
- Disease: there are also many medical reasons a female dog rejects a male. Tumors, infections and other pathologies can make a dog appear in heat when it is not or cause pain and discomfort in the animal. Under no circumstance should you force your dog to procreate, this could cause stress and anxiety in your dog and even aggression. Contact your veterinarian if you receive any signs that your dog may be in pain.
Artificial insemination of dogs
If your dog is not accepting mounting but you want puppies, you may look to alternatives. Artificial insemination of dogs is a possible option. Tis is a procedure performed under the supervision and constant guidance and consultation of a veterinarian. A professional will collect the semen of the ‘chosen’ male and introduce it to the female during her correct phase heat phase. This is one reason why only something professional breeders with the time and resources should breed their dogs.
It is important to take into account that there are a large amount of dogs in the world without homes. For this reason, we have to recommend that one considers neutering your dog. Sterilization helps prevent health problems of a serious nature, such as uterine infections. In addition, preventing unwanted litters helps reduce stress on the shelter system and prevents healthy dogs being put down.
Breeding our dogs at home adds to the crisis so many dogs find themselves in. Many disreputable breeders breed dogs without considering the impact this has on dog populations as a whole. Even reputable breeders are often worsening the problem since we don't have enough homes for the dogs we currently have.
For more, take a look at our article on why I don't want my dog to have puppies.
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