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How Long Do Dogs Stay Stuck Together When Mating? Vet Answers - PawSafe
Dog Behavior

How Long Do Dogs Stay Stuck Together When Mating? Vet Answers

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

how long do dogs stay stuck together when mating

If you’re a dog owner, you may have wondered how long dogs are stuck together when they breed. It’s a natural question to have, especially if you’re considering breeding your dog or if you’re just curious about canine mating habits. Fortunately, we’ve consulted with Dr. Susan Soderberg, DVM,  In her work on canine breeding to get expert advice on the topic.

Canine mating, or copulation, involves a unique process known as the tie or the knot. During this process, the male’s penis swells and locks inside the female’s vagina, creating a physical connection that can last for several minutes. But how long does this time dogs get stuck together actually last? And what happens after the dogs get unstuck? We’ll explore these questions and more in this article.

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The knot is a crucial part of the mating process as it ensures that the sperm is transferred from the male to the female. It is essential to let the know break naturally, as forcing the dogs apart can cause serious injuries.

Here are some key points to keep in mind about how long dogs are stuck together:

  • The duration of the tie can vary from a few minutes to over an hour.
  • The lockis a crucial part of the mating process.
  • Trying to force the dogs apart can cause serious injuries.

Canine Mating Basics

So let’s have a look at the nitty gritty of details of dogs becoming stuck and why and how it happens.

The Knotting Process

When dogs copulate, the male dog mounts the female dog from behind. The male dog’s penis will then become erect and will be inserted into the female dog’s vagina. 

During canine mating, the “tie” occurs due to the basse of the male dog’s penis, a part called the bulbus glandis, which swells inside the female after ejaculation. The way that it swells is called a hemodynamic mechanism, which essentlally means bloodflow to the are causes it to balloon.

This swelling ensures that the semen is securely deposited, increasing the likelihood of fertilization. The mating process can last anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour. It all depends on the dogs involved and how long it takes for the male dog to ejaculate.

Reasons for Being Stuck

Dogs are stuck together during mating for a few reasons. Firstly, knotting helps to ensure that the male dog’s semen is properly deposited into the female dog’s uterus. This increases the chances of the female dog becoming pregnant.

Secondly, being stuck together helps to prevent other male dogs from mating with the female dog. This is because the male dog’s penis will be swollen and will be unable to be removed from the female dog’s vagina until the knot is broken.

It’s important to note that the tie is a natural part of the mating process and is not harmful to the dogs involved. While it may look uncomfortable, the dogs are not in any pain. It’s best to let the dogs finish mating on their own and not try to pull them apart or separate the dogs, as this can cause injury to both dogs.

In conclusion, the mating process for dogs involves the male dog mounting the female dog and inserting his penis into her vagina. The tie, which keeps the dogs stuck together, helps to ensure proper semen deposition and prevent other male dogs from mating with the female dog. This can last anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour, and it’s important to let the dogs finish mating on their own.

Before we go into detail about the mating process works, let’s answer some common questions.

How do I get my dogs unstuck when they are mating?

It’s important not to try to separate dogs when they are stuck during mating, as this can cause injury. Knotting is a natural part of mating and will resolve on its own. The best approach is to remain calm and keep the dogs quiet and still until they separate naturally.

How do I stop my dog from getting pregnant after she got stuck?

Once mating (and the tie) has occurred, there is no reliable way to prevent pregnancy. If unintended mating happens, it’s best to consult a veterinarian for advice. There are some medical interventions, but they carry risks and ethical considerations.

An overview of the dog mating process

According to Dr. Bonnie Beaver, DVM, when dogs breed, it all starts with the male dog picking up the scent of a female in heat, sometimes from miles away! Dr. Beaver outlines the following steps to canine mating (with pictures so that you know what to expect).

1. Scent Detection 

The process starts when a male dog detects the scent of a female dog in heat. Male dogs have a strong sense of smell and can pick up this scent from a considerable distance, sometimes even from miles away. When they meet the dog in heat, they will typically sniff her to find out if she is ready for mating.

2. Interest and Approach

Male dogs react differently upon detecting a female in heat. Some may show little interest, while others become very attentive. The interested males will typically follow or stay close to the female dog.

3. Courtship Behavior

 In free-ranging dogs, elaborate courtship behaviors are more common. The intensity of interest in the female increases with the number of males present. These males might also show aggressive behavior towards each other as they establish a hierarchy.

4. Close Interaction

The male and female dogs often engage in playful interactions as part of their courtship, with the male showing increased activity around the female, including playful gestures like the play bow.

5. Scent Investigation

The male dog is attracted to the female’s reproductive odors. He frequently licks the area around her tail and her urine spots, using his vomeronasal organ to analyze the scents. This is also when the Flehmen response might be observed, although it’s less noticeable in dogs.

6. Urinary Marking

The male dog often urine-marks, especially near the female’s urine spots. This behavior might serve to mask the female’s scent trail from other males.

7. Mounting

Finally, when it’s time to breed, experienced male dogs typically approach the female from behind, initiating the mating process. This approach is the standard method for mating in dogs.

Inexperienced male dogs or those raised semi-isolated don’t always approach the female correctly for mating. They might start from the side or even the front, before eventually finding the right position at the rear.

8. Mounting Attempts

The time it takes for mating to begin after the male finds a female in heat varies. Some dogs might copulate immediately, while others take longer. The number of mounting attempts before successful mating can also vary, ranging from one attempt to several.

9. Clasping and Nape Bite

Once the male mounts the female, he pulls his forelimbs backward in a move called “clasping,” which helps prevent the female from moving away. Some males might also gently bite the skin of the female’s neck during mounting.

10. Mating Phase and Intromission

 The mating phase begins once the male dog has mounted the female. He then starts pelvic thrusts to try and achieve intromission, which is successful in about 50% to 60% of mounts. Dogs raised semi-isolated have a lower success rate.

11. Copulatory Tie

Once intromission is successful, the male’s thrusting accelerates until the bulbus glandis of his penis becomes fully erect inside the vagina. This causes the unique canine “copulatory tie” where the dogs get locked together. It’s a rare event for young or inexperienced males.

12. Ejaculation and Position Change

After a period of thrusting, the male stops, and ejaculation begins. The male then typically dismounts, swinging a rear limb over the female and standing facing the opposite direction. This twist maintains the erection due to venous constriction.

13. Duration of being stuck 

The knotting lasts for about 10 to 30 minutes or more. During this time, both dogs usually stand quietly and are relatively unresponsive to external activities. Ejaculation occurs throughout most of the tie period.

14. Post-Mating Behavior

After mating, there’s little activity until the bulbus glandis decreases in size, allowing the dogs to separate. The male often licks himself afterward. Dogs managed by humans show more variation in post-mating behavior compared to wild canids.

15. Refractory Period

Following mating, males enter a refractory period where they lose interest in mating. The duration varies and can be influenced by factors like recent mating frequency and whether the same female is present.

These steps offer a detailed view of the mating process in dogs, highlighting both the physical and behavioral aspects involved.

Factors Affecting Duration How Long Dogs Knot During Mating

There are several factors that can affect the duration of the lock. One of the most significant factors is the size of the dogs. Larger dogs tend to knot for longer because their penises are larger and take longer to retract. Additionally, younger dogs may have get stuck for shorter periods than older dogs because they are less experienced and may not know how to position themselves properly.

Another factor that can affect the duration of the lock is the breed of the dogs. Certain breeds, such as the Basenji, are known for staying stuck for shorter periods than other breeds. The age of the dogs can also play a role, as older dogs may have weaker erections and may not be able to maintain the lock for as long.

Post-Mating Behavior

After the knot, dogs may appear restless and agitated. They may try to walk away from each other but will remain connected until the male’s penis detaches from the female’s vagina. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour.

It’s important to keep an eye on your dogs during this time to ensure that they do not become injured or distressed. If your dogs are experiencing difficulty separating, do not attempt to force them apart as this can cause serious harm. Instead, try to distract them with toys or treats to help them relax.

Care for Dogs

After mating, it’s essential to provide your dogs with proper care. Make sure they have access to clean water and a comfortable place to rest. It’s also important to monitor them for any signs of injury or infection.

Female dogs may experience some discomfort or swelling in their genital area after mating. This is normal and should subside within a few days. However, if you notice any signs of infection or excessive bleeding, seek veterinary care immediately.

Health and Safety

When dogs breed, they can become stuck together for a period of time. This is a natural process and usually lasts anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. However, it’s important to be aware of potential complications and know when to consult a vet.

Potential Complications

In rare cases, dogs can experience complications during mating. One of the most serious is a condition called vagal reflex, which can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure and lead to shock. Signs of vagal reflex include panting, shaking, and collapse. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Another potential complication is injury to the male dog’s penis. This can occur if the female dog is too aggressive during mating or if the two dogs are not properly aligned. Signs of penile injury include bleeding, swelling, and pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult a vet.

When to Consult a Vet

If your dogs become stuck together for more than an hour, it’s important to consult a vet. This can be a sign of a serious complication, such as a uterine infection or a blockage in the male dog’s reproductive tract. In addition, if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately.

It’s also important to consult a vet if you plan to breed your dogs. A vet can perform a pre-breeding exam to ensure that both dogs are healthy and free of any genetic disorders that could be passed on to their offspring.

Breeding Information

Breeding dogs can be a complex and delicate process. It’s important to understand the basics of responsible breeding practices and the heat cycle of female dogs.

Responsible Breeding Practices

Breeding dogs should not be taken lightly. It’s important to ensure that both the male and female dogs are healthy and free of any genetic or hereditary diseases. It’s also crucial to consider the temperament and behavior of the dogs to ensure that the offspring will have desirable traits.

Additionally, responsible breeders should have a plan in place for the care and placement of the puppies once they are born. This includes finding suitable homes for them and providing proper socialization and training. You also need to know exactly what to expect and do during the birthing process, so be sure to see our article on whether a dog’s water will break.

Understanding the Heat Cycle

Female dogs go through a heat cycle, which is also known as estrus. This is the period when they are receptive to mating and can become pregnant. The heat cycle usually lasts around 3 weeks, during which time the female dog will experience changes in behavior and physical symptoms such as bleeding.

It’s important to note that breeding should only occur under the guidance of a veterinarian or experienced breeder. It’s also crucial to ensure that both dogs are comfortable and safe during the mating process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take a male dog to release sperm?

A male dog begins to release sperm almost immediately after achieving intromission (penetration). The sperm-rich fraction of the ejaculate is usually released within the first 2 minutes of the knot.

Can you tell if a female dog got mated?

Direct observation of mating is the most reliable way to tell if a female dog has copulated. After mating, some changes in behavior might be noticeable, but these are not definitive indicators of mating or pregnancy.

How Long Do Dogs Have To be Stuck Together To Fall pregnant?

The duration of the time dogs get stuck doesn’t directly determine pregnancy. Fertilization can occur even with even when dogs don’t knot for long. However, longer knotting might increase the chances of successful sperm transfer.

How to get dogs unstuck fast?

It’s not recommended to try to get dogs unstuck fast. The lock is a natural process that should resolve itself. Forcing them apart can cause injury to both dogs. Patience and ensuring they are calm is the best approach.

Why do dogs turn around and stand butt to butt when they mate?

Dogs turn around and stand butt to butt during mating because of the way their reproductive anatomy works. After penetration, the male dog’s bulbus glandis swells inside the female’s vagina, creating a knot that makes it difficult for them to face the same direction. The male usually swings his leg over the female and turns around for comfort while they are tied.

Water trick to split up dogs that are stuck during mating – does it work?

Unfortunately,  old wives’ tale about pouring water on the dogs to break up the mating knot is just that – a myth. It won’t work and could actually make things worse as it could stress out the female dog. Just let the lock break naturally and do not pour water on mating dogs to break them up

Post-mating vibes: What’s up with my lady dog?

After mating, female dogs may experience a period of restlessness or discomfort. This is normal and should subside within a few hours. If you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

What’s the deal with my male dog acting all weird after hooking up?

Male dogs may also experience some post-mating behavior changes. They may become more protective or possessive of the female, or they may seem disinterested in food or other activities. This is also normal and should subside within a few hours.

Mating success 101: How to tell if your dog’s date went well?

If the lock lasted for the average time and both dogs seemed comfortable and relaxed throughout the process, chances are the mating was successful. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to ensure the health and well-being of your furry friends.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – the answer to the age-old question of how long dogs are stuck together when they breed. As we’ve discussed, it can vary depending on a number of factors, but generally it lasts anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour.

While it may seem like an uncomfortable and awkward situation for the dogs, it’s important to remember that this is a natural process and a necessary part of reproduction. Dogs have been mating for thousands of years, and they have evolved to do so in a way that is efficient and effective.

If you’re a dog owner, it’s important to be aware of the mating process and to take steps to prevent unwanted breeding. This can include spaying or neutering your dog, keeping them on a leash when outside, and supervising them when they are around other dogs.

In the end, the length of time that dogs are stuck together when they breed may be a bit surprising, but it’s just one of the many fascinating aspects of canine biology. So the next time you see two dogs mating, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on and why it’s happening.

References

  • Goericke-Pesch, S., Hölscher, C., Failing, K. and Wehrend, A., 2013. Functional anatomy and ultrasound examination of the canine penis. Theriogenology, 80(1), pp.24-33.
  • Dorr, L.D. and Brody, M.J., 1967. Hemodynamic mechanisms of erection in the canine penis. American Journal of Physiology-Legacy Content, 213(6), pp.1526-1531.
  • Fournier Jr, G.R., Juenemann, K.P., Lue, T.F. and Tanagho, E.A., 1987. Mechanisms of venous occlusion during canine penile erection: an anatomic demonstration. The Journal of urology, 137(1), pp.163-167.
  • Beaver, B.V., 2009. Canine behavior: insights and answers. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

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.

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.