In most cases the bitch is taken to the stud for breeding day, rather than the other way around. If the dogs are located close enough, they can be brought together just for as long as it takes for the breeding. When the bitch needs to travel some distance, it is typical to arrive ahead of the desired breeding time and to stay for the duration of the fertile period.
The breeding pair may require some assistance. It is helpful to pair an inexperienced dog with an experienced one, so some guidance may be required if you are working with two “first-timers”. It is always wise to have the handlers stay with the breeding pair to be able to intervene if necessary to prevent injury.
When dogs mate, they do not separate immediately afterwards. This is called the “tie”, and it is normal for the male to dismount and turn to face the opposite direction of the female for up to 30 minutes. They can even walk in this position, but the handlers should prevent this if it is causing distress to either party. Do not try to separate them; they will eventually separate on their own. Call a veterinarian if the tie lasts longer 30 minutes.
Once the pair have finished mating, it is best to place them in different areas to allow them to rest. It is common to wait 48 hours before breeding again, although it is possible to allow daily breedings if desired.
Vaginal insemination can be done using fresh semen or fresh chilled semen. Timing is important, because the bitch is inseminated only once or twice in most cases. If semen needs to be shipped, careful planning is required to get the semen to arrive in good condition on the appropriate breeding day.
Semen is usually shipped overnight express. If the sample takes longer than overnight to be shipped, there is a greater risk of loss of semen quality due to overheating or freezing along the way. Since shipping is not possible on Sundays, holidays, or during severe weather events, the shipment needs to be planned and coordinated carefully.
The insemination itself is straight-forward. Fresh-chilled semen is prepared according to the recommendations of the manufacturer of the semen extender, and fresh semen does not require any preparation. The semen is evaluated for quality, and then the semen is deposited intravaginally just in front of the cervix using a long insemination rod.
The hindquarters of the female are kept elevated for around 15 minutes, and the upper vaginal wall is gently “feathered” by an assistant for about the first 5 – 10 minutes. This stimulates vaginal contractions which assist the semen to pass through the cervix into the uterus. There are no special restrictions required for the female afterwards.
Surgical insemination can be done using fresh extended, fresh chilled, or frozen semen. Surgical insemination requires the most careful timing since it is performed on only one day. If fresh semen is used, it is collected, centrifuged, and re-suspended in extender. This removes the prostatic fluid which contains hormones that are irritating to the uterus, and reduces the volume to quantity that can be infused into the uterus without causing cramping.