If you’re an inexperienced dog owner or new to breeding dogs, it can be concerning when your dog finds themselves stuck while mating. This process, called a “tie,” is a normal part of the breeding process and nothing to be concerned about.
As a natural phenomenon, there’s no need for human intervention, and there are only two ways to get your dog unstuck after mating.
1. Leave Them Be
This may seem like a bad idea, especially since seeing your dog stuck to another can be alarming. But dogs have been mating for centuries without human intervention, and given time, they will naturally become unstuck.
A tie, in general, lasts anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. For dogs that are breeding for the first time, it may take a little longer for them to separate, but there’s no reason to be alarmed. Anxiety can actually be a reason that a tie lasts for a while.
2. Calm Anxious Nerves
If neither dog is familiar with the breeding process, gently patting the female on the head should help soothe her anxiety. You have to be careful to calm your concerns too. Dogs are notoriously good at picking up on our inner turmoil and won’t relax at all if they know that you’re panicking.
Stay calm and soothe your dog with a few ear scratches. This will help them relax enough to become unstuck.
Never Forcefully Separate Tied Dogs
It can be easy to assume that separating your dogs as fast as possible is the best thing to do when they’re stuck together, whether you want to prevent pregnancy or because you’re worried about your dog being in pain. Regardless of the reasoning, physically separating your dogs by forcing them apart or startling them is never the right answer.
Not only can interfering cause more stress for the dogs, especially if they’ve never mated before, but you could also hurt them in the process, even if you don’t intend to.
Why Do Dogs Become Tied?
Understanding how to respond to your dog becoming stuck while mating means understanding the canine breeding process.
Male dogs have glands on their penis called the “bulbus glandis.” These swell during copulation and along with the female tightening her vaginal muscles, serve to tie the mating dogs together after ejaculation.
This can happen for one of two reasons:
During the tie, male dogs often dismount and turn around, leaving the dogs back to back. This is either done by themselves or with a breeder’s assistance and is also a natural part of the process. Although there’s no solid theory as to why dogs do this, it probably originates from their wild ancestors and the need to protect themselves from attackers.
Does The Tie Hurt?
Sometimes, the female dog will growl, bark, or whine during mating. This can be one of the reasons that dog owners will want to separate their dogs before they hurt each other. Provided that the dogs are left alone, however, there’s no reason that either the male or the female will be hurt during the mating process. Naturally, the female may feel more discomfort than the male.
It may be particularly discomforting for both dogs during their first mating, though. Inexperience makes for an awkward encounter for all creatures, not just dogs. Anxiety is also a cause for much of the discomfort or pain that either dog feels. This is why it’s so important for you, as the owner, to exude calm and keep both dogs relaxed to avoid unnecessary injuries.
Do Dogs Always Get Pregnant When They Tie?
Although a tie can occur after ejaculation, it doesn’t make pregnancy a certainty. Sometimes, a tie doesn’t happen at all, yet your dog can still become pregnant.
Pregnancy relies on the female’s heat cycle, which happens in two stages once your dog is mature enough (6 months for small breeds, 12 months for larger breeds).
Stage One: Proestrus
This stage is when bleeding and other symptoms, like a swollen vulva and increased urination, occur. Proestrus lasts for 10 days, and during this timeframe, a female dog will ward off any would-be suitors on her own because she isn’t ready for fertilization.
Stage Two: Estrus
The fertile period follows immediately after the first stage and lasts for about 5 days. The female dog will know that she’s fertile and will be more open to male interest.
Although one mating in this time can be enough for fertilization to occur, most breeders keep the male and female dogs together for a while to ensure conception.
How to Avoid Pregnancy
It’s a well-known fact that puppies are adorable. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to take care of and often wind up abandoned in shelters when dog owners can’t find homes for them.
There are ways to prevent your dog from becoming pregnant, and not all of them are permanent solutions if you would like to breed your dog at some point.
Depending on how good of an escape artist your dog is or if you also have a male dog, isolation might be easier said than done. There are several ways that you can do this.
Reduce her time outside
During the last few days of your female’s heat, you want to limit her access outside to reduce the risk of encountering unfixed male dogs. Shorten walks, and keep a close eye on her so she doesn’t run away.
You can buy diapers designed for dogs at all pet stores. Not only are they particularly useful for incontinence, but they also stop your female dog from bleeding everywhere during the proestrus stage of her heat and can prevent mating.
This option isn’t 100% effective because some male dogs can tear through them.
There is a “morning after” pill for dogs that can be injected by a veterinarian within 48 hours of breeding. This isn’t a recommended response because it can cause hormone imbalances and other infections.
If you have a male dog along with a female and don’t want to get either of them fixed, you can chemically castrate your male dog. This will make them temporarily infertile for up to 6 months and let you breed your dogs at a later date.
You’ll still have to keep your female away from male dogs outside your household, though.
Spaying is a surgical and permanent procedure involving the removal of the female reproductive organs. This avoids pregnancy and other unwanted ailments, like ovarian and breast cancer.
This option will also stop your female dog from having heats, and you’ll be able to avoid the blood patches that she’ll leak and unwanted pregnancies. Plus, you can help prevent pet overpopulation or more puppies ending up abandoned in shelters.
Although the sight of two dogs stuck together can be alarming, especially for new dog owners or those unfamiliar with the tie phenomenon, it’s a natural part of the canine breeding process.
There’s no way to physically get your dog unstuck after mating without hurting both the male and the female. The best and only thing that you can do is stay calm and wait it out. Given time, your dogs will separate themselves and be no worse for wear.
If the tie lasts for longer than 20 minutes, try to relax the female dog by petting her. Otherwise, don’t try to get involved.
Featured Image Credit: Sigma_S, Shutterstock