Articles Index/Breeding
Posted 04/22/99

Commentary ~~

It has often occurred to me that, should I ever lose my daily planner, I might have some explaining to do to any stranger who finds it. It is not uncommon for me to have listed variations on the following:

9:00 a.m. -- Sex play 1st with Levi and then with Mike

Should you be shocked at that entry let me explain that I work for an organization that produces dogs to lead the blind. Part of my job, as director of the breeding kennel and cryogenics lab, is to see that our stud dogs are trained to do their job efficiently and well. Although some dogs require little or no encouragement, and don't seem to care if the breeding is "natural" or "artificial", there are many other dogs that do need assistance in learning what to do.

It occurs to me that many individual breeders leap to the conclusion that an inexperienced male dog has "no libido" when the real reason for poor performance may actually be "has no idea".

Our normal protocol is to introduce potential stud dogs to several broods in heat over several days. We encourage the boys to get excited and to explore. We even let them mount, all the while praising their inspired performance. When they are excited, we touch their genitals so that they get used to being handled. We always use prime bitches that welcome the attention. It doesn't do a young stud's ego any good if his "date" is nasty and uncooperative!

Once the dog has the idea, we collect him using an A-V (artificial vagina). Semen is then analyzed and the procedure is repeated several times during the course of a week or 10 days. If a new stud's services aren't going to be required for a number of months, we bring him in at an interim time for a little refresher. In all things, practice does make perfect!

You might be surprised at how often a young male dog has to learn what to do. This is especially true if he is expected to be collected manually. Our dogs breed both artificially and naturally. I have never found that a healthy, virile stud looses his ability or desire if he is collected for artificial insemination. Conversely, a poor performing dog is just that à a poor performer that probably doesn't belong in anyone's breeding program. I, for one, would think long and hard about using a dud-stud on one of my Norfolk bitches. Whether the actual insemination is artificial or natural, I want the donation to be enthusiastically delivered.

While it is certainly possible for a novice dog to properly breed a bitch at the first opportunity, breeders will enhance their success ratio if they do a bit of advance work with their studs. While most of us don't have access to multiple bitches in heat and lack the living laboratory in which I work, a network of dog-owning friends can be beneficial in providing training opportunities. (To be on the safe side always make sure both the dog and the bitch involved have negative brucellosis tests before engaging in any sex play unless you are absolutely certain that neither has had any previous sexual exposure. An infected animal can spread the disease even if an actual breeding does not take place.)

If you really want to own a stud-dog, give him all the training and encouragement you can. The time and effort you invest will ultimately be rewarded.

Sheila Foran
ANTIC, March, 1999


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