The most common reason why dogs refuse to mate is that it is the wrong time in the estrous cycle. If mating is attempted too early in the cycle, the bitch may growl and snap at the dog, or she may allow the male to mount, only to sit down or jump away as he starts to thrust. This is normal proestrus behavior, but some breeders may misinterpret it as a sign that mating won’t take place.
A simple test to check for estrus is to stroke the female’s vulva when she is relaxed. A bitch in estrus raises her vulva and flags her tail to the side. These signs indicate that she is hormonally ready for breeding. If it is the right time and she continues to refuse the male, then quite likely the problem is psychological. Psychological factors are much more common than hormonal or physical ones.
A female raised as a house pet may be a shy breeder because of inadequate social contact with members of her own species. Mate preference, too, can be a determining factor. A bitch who runs with a certain dog may mate willingly with that dog but refuse another. Some females are willing to mate only with very aggressive males.
In males, sexual aggressiveness may be influenced by unpleasant associations with sex. Some owners scold or punish a dog for showing sexual behavior toward dogs or people. Thus the dog comes to believe he will be punished if he attempts mating. A stud may fear mating because of a traumatic experience with an aggressive bitch. This is often observed in human relationships too 🙂 !
Inadequate canine socialization can be a problem in males as well as females. This is especially true for dogs who live almost exclusively with people and have little or no opportunity to form social relations with others of their own kind.
Finally, and least likely, a dog with a low libido may be suffering from a testosterone deficiency.
Treatment: Reluctance to mate is a problem that should be referred to your veterinarian for further evaluation. If an outgoing bitch consistently refuses to receive a stud, it is a good idea to have her examined for an abnormal heat cycle or a reproductive tract abnormality.
In the case of a frightened or completely uncooperative bitch, breeding by artificial insemination is preferable to a forced mating (see Artificial Insemination). Because the bitch won’t display the usual signs of sexual receptivity, vaginal cytology and progesterone determinations should be used to time artificial insemination with ovulation. Breeding by artificial insemination will not spoil a dog or bitch for natural breeding in the future.
A male may regain his self-confidence if he is allowed to run with an easy- going bitch who likes to be dominated. An experienced brood matron who is a willing breeder can help a bashful dog overcome his sexual inhibitions. Once he has bred successfully, usually his problems are over.
Remember that temperaments and breeding behaviors are inherited. A dog with poor temperament or inadequate breeding behavior may not be the best choice as a breeding animal.