Rham is vegan, married and child-free; she loves nature and wildlife, has two dogs and six, sometimes seven, other four-legged boarders.
Intact Dogs as Pets
Intact dogs are dogs whose ovaries and testicles have not been removed for whatever purpose. My husband and I have two dogs, both male and female. We are both animal lovers, and although we didn't want to "own" a companion animal, we ended up having not only one, but two dogs, both male and female. Our dogs are both rescued puppies.
Everything seemed fine until Perci, our female, reached her first estrus cycle, and Meegnu (me-noo), our male, started whimpering and repeatedly trying to mount on Perci. It would have been different and easier if both were sterilized—we could have just let them mate—but they are not.
With no first-hand experience in managing dogs during their reproductive season, we appeared to have managed the entire heat cycle well. We were not ready, but we were able to do it successfully.
Managing Intact Male and Female Dogs During Estrus
Tip: Use a Washable Diaper or Wrap for the Female
A diaper will prevent the constant licking that many female dogs are prone to do while in heat. It also keeps your house and furnishings cleaner and the surroundings less smelly. Most importantly, it blocks successful contact. However, dog diapers are not a viable form of canine contraception; a male dog will easily find a way around the diaper.
There are plenty of DIY videos available online showcasing the procedures on how to make dog diapers at home. These dog diapers can also be purchased online. If you choose to make one or purchase a ready-made dog diaper, I recommend making or buying the ones which have elastic on the leg sides. They are not only stable, but also make it difficult for a male dog to move or push the diaper to the side. A shorts-like or pajama-like diaper is great as well, because the only way that a male dog can go around it is to tear the fabric. The video below is one of the videos I found very helpful for DIY dog wraps.
Washable Wraps for Male Dogs
Half-body wraps cover the male genitals and thus prevent contact. With this on your dog, he can be allowed to mount and you will not have to worry about possible contact.
For ease of mind, let both dogs wear wraps at the same time.
- I made diapers and wraps out of our old shorts and boxers. I also wrap cotton pads in gauze for Perci's. It helps to absorb female discharge during this season.
DIY Washable and Reusable Dog Diaper
Keep Your Dogs Separated
Distance diverts the male dog's attention. This can be done by keeping them in separate rooms where they cannot see each other, tying them away from one another, keeping the female dog in an enclosure, or leaving the female dog in an outdoor enclosure that is cool, safe, and secure.
Luckily, we live in a building where there is an enclosure attached to the house. It covers the back side of two houses with only one entrance. It is also spacious and secure enough to keep other dogs from entering. Our building is a two-story apartment where there is a balustraded rooftop, and the above flats are empty. This keeps not only Meegnu, but other dogs from the vicinity away from Perci. Meegnu, like any other male dog during the heat cycle, becomes very aggressive when other male dogs are around.
Assigning someone to look after one of the two dogs is also a good idea. I don't work, so while my husband is at work, I am the sole watcher for our two canines.
Leaving Your Dogs Alone Together
If you are a couple who doesn't have anybody else around to look after your canine companions when you're away for a couple of hours, there are a few ways you can do to ensure that your male and female fur friends cannot mate.
- Separate them in the household (leave one free roaming and one in a separate room with a water bowl and toys).
- Make both wear their wraps.
- Keeping one dog in a large enough crate or enclosure is also a solution. This is a temporary measure that is effective. The outdoor enclosure idea can also be taken, but make sure that you are the only one who has the key to its door.
- If you're blessed enough to have a reliable person who can ensure you that he or she will take good care of the dogs while you are out, request or employ this person. Let the female wear her diaper, just in case.
Keeping Them Separated While Outdoors
Dogs need to be walked, and a heat cycle should not deprive them the pleasure of being outdoors. Whether the walk is for fun, for stretching and exercise, or to answer the call of nature, here are a few tips to consider:
- Keep them on a leash all the time. You don't want your fur-friends running away from you to find other dogs or fight with other dogs (male dogs fight to secure a female) just for the sake of mating.
- Have another human company to walk the dogs with you. It is always more manageable if there is help at hand. In our case, both my husband and I take our dogs out together. He takes the male, and I take the female.
- Take one dog out at a time. This takes much of your time, but it is safer. It is also much easier to handle one dog than two at a time.
- Bring a stick with you. This is to visually ward off other "street" dogs from coming closer to your female dog (and not to be used for harming them). It also serves as a warning instrument to keep male dogs from growling at each other, thereby avoiding a potential fight among them. Keeping a stick handy appears to be effective in averting misbehavior.
- Avoid spending outdoor for a long time. At this time of year, pleasure and leisure that the outdoor brings need to be curtailed to prevent uninvited guests.
How to Separate Them at Night
Well, your canine companions will sleep as well! Come early morning, the male dog will certainly start mounting your female dog. To make sure that none of this activity happens while you are still in bed, keep them separated.
In our household, since Perci and Meegnu like sleeping close to us, Perci gets tied on one side of the bed, while Meegnu is tied on the other.
Obvious Solutions for Preventing Litters
Surely, sterilization is the answer. In our case, however, we don't want our dogs to be spayed and neutered. As vegans, we strongly believe that such procedures are speciesist considering that we don't remove the ovaries and testicles of human beings to prevent them from procreating or from any diseases. Instead, we do tubectomy or tubal ligation for females and vasectomy for males. The same procedures could be done to our feline and canine companions. Apparently, these less expensive and less traumatic simple operations, as revealed by Ben Hart, a veterinary behaviorist from the University of California at Davis, are not yet taught in vet schools. He also added that shelter vets could learn them in an afternoon wet lab.
Unless we find a vet who is willing to do these operations for our dogs, they will be prevented from mating using the above-mentioned heat cycle management tips.
Keeping our dogs in diapers or wraps, keeping them supervised and tied at night, keeping them on a leash while outdoors, and separating them from each other works best for us. We no longer worry. However, being careful and constant supervision still plays a very important role in managing two dogs of different sexes during the heat cycle.
Questions & Answers
Question: How do you stop the male from constantly whining at all hours of the night?
Answer: I haven't found the most effective way yet, but separating them or keeping them away from each other can minimize it. Eventually, he will get tired and sleep. You can also sternly talk to the dog, which shows your dislike of his behavior. It's quite difficult, but it is not something that can't be tolerated.
© 2018 Rham Dhel
Barbey on August 09, 2020:
Very helpful article! Thank you!
Person on July 24, 2020:
Is it better to let the male dog near the female dog while supervised so he knows she is close by, or will this only make his behavior worse?
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 08, 2018:
I just read this again and since it was under the subheading about leaving them alone, I just thought of outside. You are right. You are recommending leaving them chained up in the house.
Intact male dogs are likely to run away, so unless the owner keeps him in the house or restrained all of the time, removing his sex organs is the only way to stop this. You may not be okay with this philosophically but it is reality for the majority of the world.
As far as human females go, no, we do not remove the organs but then again humans do not bleed all over the house. We also do not breed humans to not be able to speak or have no hair, but dogs are modified in many ways for the convenience of their human caretakers. Again, this is not natural but it is a philosophical choice.
Thanks for your interesting and well thought out response. It is great to hear your viewpoint.
Rham Dhel (author) from India on February 08, 2018:
Hi, Dr. Mark. I don't think I mentioned to chain female dogs outside. I have to re-read this article again.
Like I mentioned, wraps are not full-proof. Male dogs will still be able to find ways. A human company is always advisable.
Your last paragraph is a twisted logic. First, let us not forget the primary reasons why we do those surgeries, that is to prevent litter, not accidents or dogs getting poisoned or prevent behavioral problems related to the heat cycle. Second, vehicular accidents are not due to non-sterilization of animals. It is a social problem that needs a different solution -creating more awareness among people so they will be concerned about dogs, and other animals; creating dog-friendly spaces; monitoring dogs while they are outside, etc. Removing reproductive organs is an inappropriate method to mange bleeding during estrus -we don't do that to humans. Ovario-hysterectomy prevents ovarian cancer and reduces mammary cancer and pelvic inflammatory diseases in humans, too, but it is not done in humans at all. So why do we do neutering and spaying to dogs or cats? Does their anatomy and physiology have no resemblance to ours?
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 08, 2018:
HI Astral I thought I would mention that chaining your female outside is not a good idea. Females attract males from all over so she will end up bred anyway, even if you keep her away from your own male. Keeping the female in a diaper will not stop some males.
If you keep the female outside, it must be in a kennel that is covered.
The reason that vet schools do not teach vasectomy and tubal ligation instead of neutering and spaying is that none of the behavioral problems are diminished with those surgeries. Males still have testosterone and wander around when a female is in heat, sometimes getting hit by a car or poisoned by a dog hater. The females still come into heat and attract male dogs, still bleed all over the house, and are still prone to ovarian and mammary cancer.
Curbing the Issue of Dog Marking
Marking is not the same as a dog relieving itself – it is leaving small amounts of urine on items (trees, bushes, couch) to leave a“calling card” and to say “this is mine.” It seems natural for dogs, but is very annoying to humans. This often starts happening in adolescence as dogs mature. Female dogs can urine mark, although it is seen as a problem most commonly in male dogs. Urine marking is different than having accidents in the house. Typically, when a dog is marking it is a small amount of urine in several places. These places may be random, or they could be in a favorite spot. Dogs can mark for many reasons the two most common are to show ownership on what they consider their territory and anxiety.
Below are some steps you can take to help get a stop a dog from marking.
First, it is recommended that you bring your dog to your veterinarian to make sure there is nothing medically wrong. Urinary tract infections and other medical conditions can mimic urine marking.
If your dog is not spayed or neutered and you are not planning breeding or showing in conformation, this is something to consider. Altering or “fixing” pet dogs that are marking helps to eliminate the issue in 50 to 60 percent of dogs.
Dogs like to place their territorial stamp on new items, especially if they come from a place where there might have been another dog. Try to remember to place new items off the floor and out of reach of your dog.
You may want to investigate the outside of your home. Sometimes there may be other dogs in the area that come near your house and cause your dog to feel the need to mark in the home.
To prevent your dog from marking in the house, make sure that they are not left unsupervised. If you are unable to watch your dog, then they should be crate trained and safely placed into their dog crate so they cannot mark. If you do catch them in the act of marking, you should make a loud noise to startle them and then take them outside and reward the correct behavior. If you do not catch your dog in the act and find the accident later, then it is extremely important that you do not punish your dog. Your dog can’t connect what he marked an hour ago to your punishment, so it does not deter the marking and can make your dog afraid and confused.
You can also take measures to help deter or block your dog from the area where they are drawn to marking. Try using baby gates or pet gates to block certain rooms, or double sided tape to keep them from certain parts of the room.
Deep Clean Up
If your dog does mark in the house, make sure you are using an appropriate cleaner to take the scent out. Even though you might not be able to smell it, they will be able to and this will continue to draw them to that area. We recommend an enzymatic pet stain remover to completely remove the stain and the smell.
For both male and female dogs you can find either belly bands (for males) or dog diapers (for females). Remember that this is not a fix for the situation but more of a band aid. If you choose to use one of these items to help with training, make sure you check them frequently for wetness.
Heat Cycle Basics
The average canine heat cycle lasts up to 30 days. Though most dogs are only fertile for a small portion of their season, pregnancy can occur at any time during the 30 days since it is impossible to determine at which point ovulation has occurred without the use of progesterone testing. Because of this, owners must be prepared to keep their intact female indoors and under direct supervision at the first sight she is in season right up until a week or so after all symptoms of her heat cycle disappear.
The First Stage
Typically, the first evidence your dog is in heat is a discharge accompanied by an initial swelling of the vulva. Most owners notice the change in their dog at the first appearance of little droplets of blood on their floors or in their dog’s bedding. Once bleeding has begun, it will intensify over the next few days, and the vulva will continue to increase in size. It is important to contain your female as soon as you notice signs that she is beginning her heat cycle. Since her body will begin to release potent pheromones to attract potential mates to her, it is critical that she never be left unsupervised. This cannot be overestimated. Dogs are equipped with a powerful desire to reproduce and will do whatever is necessary to thwart any precautions you put in place. The only secure method to avoid pregnancy is one hundred percent supervision and complete containment. Please bear in mind that dogs in heat and their suitors have gone to tremendous lengths to accomplish their mission. This includes breaking down of doors, scaling tremendous heights, and even breeding through fences and crates. If you own an intact male, complete separation at the first sight of blood is absolutely necessary, and it is unthinkable to allow your girl in the yard alone. During her season, it is best to take her out on lead when she needs to go outside for a potty break.
Many owners typically like to purchase panties for their female dogs to use when they are in season. The discharge can be very messy for your flooring and furniture. Some dogs also exhibit a powerful smell that can easily be detected by humans as well as dogs. Dog panties come in a variety of styles and colors to reflect your little girl’s personality. Buy several pair to allow you to wash them as needed. You can line the panties with panty liners for quick removal when the pad becomes soiled. This will help contain any residual mess and will also act as somewhat of a deterrent to any potential suitors. Always bear in mind that dog panties are easy to push aside or for a dog to remove, so they are not an effective means of canine birth control.
During this initial heat cycle phase, female dogs typically become very clingy with their owners and snippy with other dogs. If a male attempts to mount them in the early days of their cycle, your normally calm and sweet female may even snap to send a message to the male to back up. This is normal behavior and will very soon pass. Some female dogs will also pace or even hump other dogs, including any females in the house.
The Second Stage
The second stage is the period of time when your little girl begins to flirt with other males and displays intense amorous behavior towards them. Typical activities include a pushing of the tail to one side (called “flagging”) to alert the male to the “target,” pawing, and backing the rear up into the face of the male. It is during this period of time that the female is usually most fertile, and any male who attempts to mount her will find that she is not only willing to stand for him, she is also a very eager participant. It is of the utmost importance that your female be kept securely contained during this time. This includes no visits to public spaces, no dog walks, and no unsupervised outdoor play time.
The Third Stage
During this phase, any remaining discharge is usually straw colored. Your little girl is no longer interested in standing, and her vulva begins to return to its normal size. Though it is still possible for her to become pregnant during this time if ovulation has occurred later in her cycle, it is not as likely. Still, for the utmost in safety precautions, it is best to keep your female isolated for the full 30 days her cycle could last.
What you can do
So, armed with a better understanding of the female canine lifestyle, it’s now time to try to determine what you can do to help her “weather” the storm.
Here are some tips that might provide some relief for your special girl:
Line her crate with soft, comfortable bedding.
Just as women sometimes suffer with menstrual cramps, your little girl may feel sore and uncomfortable. Since she will spending a lot of time in her crate or isolated inside the house, it is best to make her living space a luxurious and relaxing space for her. If you have a temperature-controlled heating pad, your dog may enjoy having that underneath her bedding to help alleviate any pain she may be experiencing.
Give her toys, bones, or other chews to alleviate boredom.
Let’s face it siting on a tuffet is boring! Unfortunately, your dog’s exercise requirements will need to be severely limited during her heat cycle, and this leads to boredom. To help stave off frustration from being cooped up, provide your dog with toys, bones, or other items that help keep her mind stimulated. If your dog is an only dog, you can certainly allow her free access within your home and continue her physical activity with rousing games of ball or tug.
Never allow her outside alone.
Since an accidental breeding can happen in the blink of an eye, it cannot be overstated how important it is to ensure that your dog is never outside without supervision. She may opt to jump, climb, or dig under your fence. And if she can’t get out, her suitors will do whatever is necessary to get to her!
Disguise the scent.
Disguising the scent is one great way to help reduce the smell that drives paramours to your back door. One of the most effective tools is to give your female dog some liquid chlorophyll. In order for this method to work, it is important that you begin the treatment at the first sight of heat symptoms. Administer 1 tsp of liquid chlorophyll once daily for the duration of your girl’s heat cycle.
Additionally, it helps to keep your girl very clean. A gentle wipedown with a very dilute solution of apple cider vinegar and water will help to reduce any residual odors that may be trapped in hair or on skin.
Provide extra love and attention.
Now more than ever, your dog needs extra love and affection from you. Make time to cuddle up with her and stroke her coat to let her know how much you cherish her. Your presence is very comforting for your little girl.
Eliminate any outings to public places.
During a heat cycle, it is important that you never take your dog into public places. It is not only uncomfortable and dangerous for your dog, it also puts other dogs at risk. Dog fights commonly occur between intact males in competition for the same female. At the very least, the presence of an intact female in heat is stressful for other dogs. To prevent unwanted pregnancies and/or confrontations, leave your girl at home in her crate if you must go out. This means no dog walks, no dog parks, no pet stores, and no yard time alone. If it is necessary to make a veterinary visit, call ahead to inform your vet that your dog is in heat and ask for their instructions as to how to safely bring her into the clinic and return her to your vehicle to cause the least disruption.
If you are not a committed, experienced breeder, consider spaying your girl.
Breeding is not for the faint of heart. Thousands of dogs suffer accidental pregnancies due to careless owners. They produce puppies who are not health-tested and may not be of sound temperament, leading to puppies that are difficult to place and which may even be ill-suited to family life. This contributes to the already devastating problem of overflowing shelters, and dogs destined for the “blue solution.” The best solution to pet overpopulation is to leave breeding to committed, experienced, and knowledgeable breeders who are best able to bring sound and healthy puppies into the world to homes that are expectantly waiting for them.
One of the best things you can do for your girl is to spay her. She will be happier, and so will you.
If your female is in heat, she may seem like she’s not quite herself until her cycle ends. Follow these tips to help keep her comfortable until her season ends and life can resume as normal for your happy little girl!
How to Prevent Intact Dogs From Mating - pets
I've begun a great relationship with a breeder for a puppy that is now a few weeks old I will be picking up the first weekend of February. I received a message the other day asking if I would keep my male puppy (pick of the litter) intact so the breeder can show and breed him later in life. I do not want to do this as I live 1,000 miles away and do not want an unneutered dog. Has anyone here ever encountered a situation like this?
UPDATE: First and foremost I want to thank everyone here for their insight and knowledge. I spoke with the breeder today and all shows and breedings (just going to the local vet for semen) will be local around me and at the breeder's expense - even health clearances. I am still getting the dog I want and we have agreed I will have my dog neutered and 100% owned at age 3. So, hopefully my dog will be a champion, sired by a GCh and whelped by a Ch. for anyone interested the breed in question is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Seek Professional Help
Eventually, you might be able to break your dog's humping habit. However, some dogs won't quit that easily. If yours is one of them, you may wish to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to work on the issue.
Otherwise, you might need to accept that your dog is going to hump and avoid situations where humping will be a problem. If this is how things turn out, you'll need to know how to predict the humping behavior and prevent it whenever possible. This is especially true when humping may cause a dogfight or an injury to someone.