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Mating for the first time

  The proper procedure to follow is to mate a young dog for the first time while he is still in the throes of excitement following the reaching of early adult status. His eagerness at this time will be greatest, and it will help him to perform an unfamiliar task. Although he should n ot be mated too early, it is also a mistake to leave breaking him in until after the first thrills of young adult life have passed. Do not overwork him, though, particularly in the early stages. What actually constitutes overwork for a stud while he is still a novice varies according to the breed and age. While small breeds reach maturity by the time they are one year old, the larger ones are later and do not become fully developed until around two years. Whether you have taken up the breeding of small dogs or large ones, it is a wise thing to err on the side of caution during the first few months.

  When you buy a new car you do not set right out to see if it will live up to the manufacturer's claim that it will travel eighty or ninety miles per hour. For a time you do not exceed twenty miles per hour, then thirty, and so on. This prolongs the life of the car to a very great extent. So it is with stud dogs. Break them in gradually and their career of usefulness will be appreciably lengthened. Following this plan guards the strength of the dog when he needs it most, and in later years you will reap the advantage. Although his potency does not decrease, he may not have strength to carry out a successful mating if he is worked out in his early days.

  For the first year, use your dog on your own bitches only, and sparingly at that. If he is one of the small breeds, you can initiate him into the mysteries of siring at about the age of one year. As some bitches are easier to breed than others, it is a good plan to choose an older bitch which you know you can handle easily. You will have quite enough to do to look after the young stud and see that he does not try to disengage himself, thus injuring a muscle or ligament, without having a nervous, excitable bitch to divide your attention.

  Having once broken him in by using him for one or two services on this special bitch, chosen for her docility and not her blood lines, rest him for two or three months. Then if he has shown no bad effects, he could be used once a month for the next year. Do not burn him out in your eagerness to see the stud fees coming in. Even after he has passed his second year, use him only once a week and give him a rest every now and then.

  Even the experienced breeder often encounters difficulty during the first mating of a young stud, though this can in some part be overcome by following the above plan. If the bitch knows the dog, she is much more likely to encourage him. This is a distinct advantage, for a natural union, with no assistance from the breeder, is much more likely to occur. As may be clearly seen, such a union will teach the young dog much more concerning his duties as a sire than one where the breeder had to render assistance.

  However, the young stud should be taught in the early days of his career to accept assistance from the breeder when the "bitch is unwilling. If he is not taught the fine points of handling an obstreperous bitch, and to accept the aid of the breeder, he may become useless to you when such a bitch is presented for service. Some studs will not allow anyone near the bitch during mating, while others will have nothing to do with her unless left entirely alone with her. This is because they have not been taught properly by their early owner.

  Not only must the stud be taught how to handle all kinds of bitches, but you also must know. It is not enough to buy a ready-trained sire. You must know when to render assistance, and what to do when it is needed. Do not get the idea that handling a stud dog is a simple matter. Its intricacies are many and varied, and you must know how to meet each situation when it arises before advertising public stud service. If you fail in your part of the procedure, the blame for this failure will not be attributed to you. It will be heaped on your stud's innocent head, and it will not add to his popularity among other breeders.

  A normal healthy stud will need no urging to get on with the job before him. He is much more likely to be too eager, but do not interfere with him unless he is about to release his flow of semen before the tie has been accomplished. In this case, a sharp pat on his back will prevent any such loss. Should you fail, call the whole procedure off for that day. Under no conditions speak sharply to a dog or strike him at this time. Let him act the clown all he wants to, and give him all the encouragement possible. Stroke him and talk softly to him, but if you think he is clumsy and stupid, keep your opinion to yourself.

  Practically all stud dogs acquire some little trick during their early days that stay with them as long as they are siring litters. One of mine always nuzzles the bitch's ears; another, usually very dignified, clowns around like a pup. All this is part of the job in hand, and it is not wise to try to train a dog to do otherwise, particularly at the start of his career. He is learning one new phase of canine life, and if you impose restrictions you will only confuse him.

  Once he is broken in, do not allow him to go too much his own way. His first few services will determine his usefulness later on. Encourage him as much as possible, but at the same time train him to accept assistance and handling. If this is not done at the start, he will brook no interference from then on; but if he is properly handled at the outset, he will become accustomed to it and look for it when it is necessary.

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