Male dogs don’t have a clear reproductive cycle like female dogs, so if your dog is intact, you may look for signs your male dog wants to mate. Most unneutered males can breed all the time, so how much they want to mate depends on whether they smell a female in heat nearby or their health.
We have all had the embarrassing experience of our dogs mounting people in the most inconvenient situations. Since our precious dogs can sometimes be notorious humpers, we may want to keep a doggy deodorant or pet odor remover on hand. But inappropriate mounting alone is not always a sign a dog wants to mate.
Dog reproduction is natural, so it only makes sense to be curious about it. To answer this question, we’ve looked at Dr. Benjamin Hart’s study of dog mating behavior and spoken with several ethical breeders.
So, What Do Male Dogs Do When They Want to Mate?
Canine males exhibit territorial marking, increased humping (masturbation), and restlessness when they want to mate. Some signs, like aggression, can be harmful when your dog lashes out or becomes territorial. They may also run away or escape if they smell a female in heat nearby.
Unlike females, who only come into heat about twice yearly, males are fertile all year. They may constantly sniff a female as soon as they sense pheromones.
Signs of female dogs in heat are typically more evident, like mounting, vaginal discharge, and swollen vulvas. On the other hand, signs that a male dog wants to mate are more behavioral than physical and can appear out of the blue.
Additionally, it’s easy to mistake signs of another issue for heat since the signs are mainly behavioral. However, the following symptoms are common in male dogs looking to mate.
7 Signs Your Male Dog Wants to Mate
1. Urine Marking
Increased urination often means your dog has sensed a female in heat and wants to mate. Urination is a form of territorial marking that imposes his presence on the other males and appeases females. Dogs can smell females in heat from around three miles away, so don’t be surprised if you can’t see a female, but they’re still peeing everywhere.
Male dogs tend to mark their territory often in any case, but this will increase when they sense a female ready to mate. If the female is nearby, they may pee on the same spots that she pees.
This behavior can be problematic if your dog decides to spray some on your favorite carpet or expensive furniture. Unfortunately, nothing is out of bounds for these little champs, so don’t be surprised if they choose to pee on you.
However, it’s important to remember that frequent urination can indicate other severe conditions like UTIs and kidney problems. Take your pup to the vet if the increased urination occurs with signs of pain and colored pee.
2. Increased Mounting Behavior
Most mounting instances in dogs result from sexual urges when a male or female wants to mate. Again, dogs are indiscriminate with their behavior, humping their favorite human and other dogs and even humping the air.
Your male dog will find it hard to stay calm when a female in heat is around. The behavior is more apparent if they stay at homes without a yard, as they can even get you to take them on walks more often. They will also try to escape their yard, leading to dogs going missing.
4. More Interest in Other Dogs
Even dogs you would have considered introverts will show increased interest in other dogs. They will constantly sniff a female in any stage of her heat cycle, and they may become aggressive toward any other male dogs.
5. Some Dogs Show More Aggression
It’s widely known that unneutered dogs exhibit aggression when a female is in heat with other males. As mentioned above, the dominant animal gets mating rights, so increased aggression is part of the breeding process.
6. Territorial Behavior
Behaviors like urine marking and aggression are directly linked to territorial behavior. A male wanting to mate will be more aware of their personal space and may get cranky about other dogs. They may also challenge any rivals, even if the other males are neutered.
You’ll notice your dog trying to escape the yard much more often if they suspect there is a chance to mate. Those living in homes without yards will try to get you to take them on more walks and will be reluctant to return.
How To Know If Behavior Changes In Your Dog is Because They Want To Mate
Are they intact?
When dogs are not neutered, more of their behaviors will be driven by sex hormones like testosterone. They are more likely to hump objects or pee to mark their territory because of their sex drive.
The Age Of Your Dog
Young puppies below 5 to 7 months are unlikely to engage in sexually charged behaviors. They may hump when they are playing, but that’s about it. Only when they become sexually mature will they start to show aggression to other males, mark their territory, or roam around to find females in heat.
A dog with prostate issues or skin infections may start to mount or hump objects. Hormonal problems or even genetics can also cause a male dog to be more aggressive and show more territorial behavior.
Some medical conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, or chromosomal abnormalities can cause low libido in male dogs, so they may not be interested in mating.
When Do Male Dogs Attain Sexual Maturity?
A male puppy can begin showing signs of being able to mate as young as five or six months old. However, they’re usually way too young at this age. They are most fertile and sexually mature after 12 to 15 months when they’re physically mature.
However, a responsible breeder will usually wait until the dog is at least a year old to be health screened before it can breed. Large-breed male dogs may need to wait until they are two years old since when they can be screened for hip dysplasia.
Always be suspicious of a breeder breeding a dog younger than two years, as it could mean they have yet to adequately health-screen it before breeding. This could mean that the dog may pass on health problems to the puppies.
Young males around this 12 to 15-month age have higher testosterone levels than adult dogs. This may cause them to challenge much larger opponents and even increase other dogs’ aggression toward them.
The first thing you’ll notice with your newly sexually mature pup is increased humping. You’ll also see roaming tendencies, where a perfectly content pup suddenly becomes a canine Houdini.
Should I Allow My Dog to Mate When He Shows Signs?
We recommend allowing your dog to mate only if you’re an experienced breeder with all the proper training. There is no reason to breed the vast majority of dogs, so it’s better to have your male dog neutered. Breeding dogs need to have exceptional temperaments, fantastic health, and be good examples of their breed.
Working dogs must also display all the proper traits they need to do their job. For example, a working German Shepherd cannot show signs of nervousness, fear, or aggression since this will mean their puppies won’t have the proper temperaments to work as police dogs or in personal protection. Less than 1% of dogs are suitable to breed ethically, no matter how beautiful, obedient, or good-natured.
However, you’re an exception if you’re a future, ethical breeder in training and are studying these signs in preparation. In this case, remember that just because sires can mate daily does not mean they should.
If a female is available, you can mate a male dog about once or twice a day with the same female. However, it’s best to breed the male dogs about once a week if you plan to use different females each time.
Breeding the same male dog too often presents the risk of accidental inbreeding. There is a term for this called “popular sire syndrome,” When this happens, the same male is bred so often that they make the available gene pool too small.
How Long Will My Male Dog Remain Interested in a Female in Heat?
Your male dog will remain interested the entire time the female is in heat which is about three weeks. However, the female will stay unreceptive to the male for about 7 to 10 days in proestrus. Typically, when dogs mate depends on when the female shows she is receptive to him. The video below discusses signs that a female is ready to mate:
Your male’s interest will gradually reduce after the estrus stage of the female’s heat cycle. Hereafter, they can return to normal or become interested in another female if one in heat is nearby.
The Impact of Neutering a Dog on Behavior
Neutering prevents a dog from being able to procreate. In addition to that, it causes behavioral changes like decreased urination, humping, and roaming. Your male dog can even become friendlier if the testosterone is the cause of their aggression.
A study showed that millions of dogs and cats enter shelters annually in the US, many of which get euthanized. It also showed that 15 to 20% of dogs acquired by certain households don’t remain in those homes, fueling the overpopulation problem. Spay and neutering, therefore, becomes the humane thing to do for responsible pet parents.
How To Stop Negative Behaviors Associated with Male Dogs That Want To Mate
- Consider neutering your dog if you don’t intend to use them for breeding or shows.
- Train your dog cues like “stop it” when engaging in bad behaviors.
- Keep your female dog in heat separate from your male (preferably crated as much as possible)
- Try rubbing a menthol spray like Vicks on their nose to cover the scent of pheromones. However, as dogs have exceptionally sensitive noses, this may not be as humane as it sounds. Vicks VapoRub can also be poisonous if your dog ingests it. Do not use apple cider vinegar, as it can cause a chemical burn. Other strong smells like citronella oil can also be toxic to dogs as well.
- Tire! Tire! Because a mentally and physically tired dog is less likely to misbehave
- Keep your yard secured if you have an escape artist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There Relief for a Sexually Frustrated Dog?
The most obvious relief for a sexually frustrated dog is mating, but that’s not always possible or advised. So, the best thing to do is neuter them to remove the urge. You can also exercise them intensely to eliminate some of the frustration. Old home remedies include putting Vick’s vapor rub on their nose to stop them from smelling the female pheromones (but read our warning about this above).
My Male Dog Mounting Another Male Dog
Mounting is not always sexual, so your male dog may mount another male to show dominance, excitement, or playfulness. However, there are times when same-sex mounting happens when the sexual frustration is too much, especially when they can smell a female in heat but can’t reach them.
What Next After a Male Dog Mates?
A dog will try to initiate mating again if the female is still in heat because dogs mate multiple times daily. Their interest will only decline if the female stops being in heat. In this case, they should return to normal when they no longer smell a dog in heat.
Male dogs can smell a female in heat about three miles away because of the pheromones in their urine. They will start exhibiting behaviors showing that they want to mate, like humping, aggression, urine marking, and interest in other dogs. Avoid breeding your dog unless you are an experienced, ethical breeder, as that will fuel a severe overpopulation problem.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.
Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.
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