So your dog is in heat and you are ready to move forward and breed her. This is an exciting time, especially if you are just starting out with your breeding kennel. If it is your first breeding, it may also be a very stressful time with a lot of questions, including how to separate dogs after mating.
Before we dive into this topic, I’m going to leave you with a very simple, and very important, answer…never separate dogs after mating. If you separate them before they are ready to, you could risk injuring both your female and male dog severely.
But while it is a simple answer, let’s look at the care you should give your dogs while they are stuck together instead of how to separate dogs after mating.
What is a Tie?
Okay, this is a term that you are going to hear a lot when you are breeding. A tie is when the dogs become stuck together. This is reliant on anatomy of the dogs and is unique to canines and animals in the canine family such as coyotes and wolves.
In canines, there is a gland in the penis known as the bulbus glandis, which is found toward the base of the penis. During breeding, the bulbus glandis is unsheathed along with the rest of the dog’s penis and is part that is inserted into the female’s vagina.
As the breeding continues, the bulbus glandis begins to swell until it becomes stuck inside of the bitch. At this time, the dogs become stuck together; tied.
How Long Do Ties Last before You Can Separate Dogs After Mating
Once a tie has been established, usually within a minute or two of actual mating, it can last for a variety of times. The length of time that your dogs will stay tied isn’t due to breed, age or size of the dogs. It can even vary from breeding to breeding with varying times between the same two dogs.
Also, there is a myth that the female dog’s vagina is what is locking the dog in place and she needs to release the male. While this is true in a way, it is actually the bulbus glandis that needs to decrease in swelling for the tie to be released.
In general, you should expect a tie to last between 15 to 30 minutes of time; however, you can see a tie last anywhere from 2 minutes to 40 minutes. If, after 40 minutes, your dogs are still tied, it is important to contact your vet.
However, this is very rare and dogs usually break the tie on their own.
What is the Purpose of a Tie?
When it comes to the purpose of a tie, there is actually a lot of discussion on what purpose it serves and it is actually a mystery as to why dogs evolved in this manner. One theory regarding the tie is that a tied dog prevents other dogs from mating with a female. Since they are tied, it gives that dog’s sperm the best chance of making it to the egg before other competitors for the female dog’s affection get a chance to breed.
Another unique trait that you see with a tie is that, usually, the dogs will flip so that they are facing butt to butt. This is believed to be a possible defensive tactic. In the wild, the dogs would be vulnerable during mating and this position would give them a better chance of fighting off any danger.
From an evolutionary view, there are a number of benefits to a tie, but what does it do for our domesticated dogs?
Although most dogs don’t have to worry about a competitor coming along, after all, we choose the stud for our bitch, the tie still serves a purpose. With breeding, the dog will ejaculate and then the tie occurs. During the tie, prostatic fluid is ejaculated.
While the prostatic fluid has very little semen in it, the believed purpose of this fluid is to push the sperm further toward the cervix, which is quite far in dogs. This increases the chance of the sperm surviving and reaching the egg.
A pregnancy can occur without a tie, however, the likelihood of a pregnancy increases with a successful tie.
Will a Tie Hurt My Dog?
While most dogs handle ties very easily and it doesn’t usually hurt, this isn’t always the case, especially for inexperienced dogs and bitches. In fact, many first time females will experience pain or panic at a tie.
In addition, how the dog is positioned and if the female is stressed will determine if there is additional pain. For many dogs, once there is experience with breeding, there is less chance of the dogs feeling pain.
Finally, while there is seldom pain for the male dog during a tie, if you separate dogs after mating, there is a chance that you can cause a lot of pain to both the male and the female, which is why it should be avoided.
How to Take Good Care For Your Dogs During a Tie
Since we know that we shouldn’t separate dogs after mating, some may be wondering what it is we should do for our dogs. After all, this is a process that has been happening for thousands of years, without human intervention.
Yes, it is a natural part of breeding for dogs, however, there are things that we should do to ensure that our dogs are safe during a breeding. So let’s go through how to care for your dogs during a tie.
#1 Supervise, Supervise, Supervise
When your dogs are breeding, I always recommend that you supervise. You may not have to leash the dogs or intervene at all, but you will want to watch to make sure that no one gets hurt. Some females are not very appreciative of a male dog and could bite when a male ties. This can also happen the opposite way.
Some dogs are also very playful and will spin and jump and do other activities that could hurt one or the other or both. If you have overactive dogs, or they are not getting along, it may be safer to leash them so you have control if a fight occurs.
#2 Help the Male Dismount
Most dogs do this on their own but if your male is tired or having a hard time, you can help him get into a comfortable position. To do this, wait until he is finished pumping and moves to get off the female dog. When he does, carefully move his one leg to the other side of the bitch so he is standing butt to butt with her.
Go slow and follow his lead. He will move into position naturally but may need help bringing that one leg over.
#3 Be Calming
This is very important for inexperienced bitches. Be a calming presence for the bitch. Many virgin bitches will yelp and try to get away from the male. This could cause them from becoming untied and can lead to damage to both dogs. Instead of allowing this, hold your female so she won’t move, jump or twist around. Praise and comfort her during the tie.
In addition to holding her, you may need another person to hold hte male so he doesn’t try to walk off. Sometimes, a male can panic if the female is panicking, so having multiple people calming the dogs ensures that there is less risk of injury.
#4 Be Patient
Finally, be patient. Your dogs will become untied once the swelling goes down. You want to keep them both standing and butt to butt. When the dog feels the swelling go down, he will take a step forward; be careful when you allow this to be certain that the swelling has, in fact, gone down.
Once your dogs are separated, it is important to put the female somewhere quiet for about 30 minutes after breeding to have more success with a breeding. In addition, make sure that the dog’s penis goes back into its sheaf.
While you don’t separate dogs after mating, it is important to understand how a tie works, and how to support your dogs during a breeding. While it can seem stressful, breeding your dogs doesn’t have to be stressful for you or your dogs and understanding will help all of you.