Slip Mating Success Rate: 50/50?

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Most of the time, dogs know what to do when it comes to mating time. In fact, it is instinctive for the majority of all animals and there is hardly a time when they need any assistance.

It does happen though, especially in younger dogs, and that’s when they might require some help from a breeder or professional.

Because of this, there are times when mating does not go as planned, and slip mating happens.

Let’s find out more about why it happens and what you can do in the rest of this post.

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How does dog mating work?

First, the male dog will sniff the female’s vulva.

She will then ‘flag’, which is to pull her tail to one side if she is open to being approached.

After mounting the female, the male dog will insert his penis and start thrusting, and during this process, it will ejaculate.

The dogs will then create a “breeding tie” after this, where they will stand rear to rear with the penis still inserted as the male dog lifts his hind leg over.

male dog bulbus gland

The two dogs will be locked together during this period as the male’s penis’ bulbus gland swells, forming the breeding tie during which they should not be separated in order not to cause any injuries.

This strange-looking position (tie-mating) is completely normal and typically lasts anywhere between 5 minutes and 30 minutes.

Although this is the most common way for a female dog to get pregnant, it is not the only way, nor is it a foolproof way, as we will discuss later.

What is slip mating in dogs?

what is slip mating in dogs

During the mating process, things might not go 100% as smoothly as we would like all the time. Quite often, a situation known as slip mating occurs.

If the dog enters the bitch and his penis expands and swells but exits the bitch before the tie has occurred, this is known as slip mating.

Prior to entering, the dog frequently mounts the bitch. He will occasionally jump into the bitch without his penis growing, but he will leave right away.

The bitch will frequently reposition herself if she’s ready to help the mating.

Most dogs will be able to do this on their own and would be quite upset if there are any human interferences.

Slip mating usually occurs as the bitch is typically not quite ready.

If she is a little early, repeat the process the following day if it is possible, or the day after that, and tie mating will typically occur successfully.

Doggy says, read this too: Potty Training Regression After Spaying/Neutering [Now What?]

What does slip mating look like?

Slip mating in dogs refers to when the male and female mate without the typical “tie” occurring.

In a usual mating scenario, the male dog’s penis swells inside the female, causing them to be “tied” together for a period.

In slip mating, this tie doesn’t happen, and the male’s penis slips out shortly after penetration. It’s a brief and less noticeable mating act compared to when a tie occurs.

Even with slip mating, there’s still a chance of pregnancy, so if you witness this with your dogs and didn’t intend for breeding, you should consult your vet soon about a possible pregnancy.

What is a slip tie in dogs?

A slip tie in dogs is a term used in canine breeding to describe a specific occurrence during the mating process.

A slip tie and slip mating are essentially the same thing.

Both terms describe a situation where the male and female dogs do not successfully complete the normal “tie” phase during mating.

How long is a slip mating in dogs?

The duration of a slip mating in dogs can vary and is typically shorter than a normal mating tie.

The amount of time slip mating can be is just a few moments up to a few minutes.

It ends prematurely, often before the male dog’s penis has fully swelled and locked into place, which is necessary for a successful tie.

Difference between normal mating and slip mating in dogs

AspectNormal MatingSlip Mating
Tie DurationLasts from 5 to 30 minutes, sometimes longer.Significantly shorter, often just a few moments.
Tie CompletionThe tie is completed with the male’s penis swelling and locking inside the female’s vagina.The tie is either not achieved or prematurely interrupted.
Sperm TransferOptimal time for effective sperm transfer.Reduced time for sperm transfer, potentially less effective.
Success RateHigher likelihood of successful fertilization and pregnancy.Lower likelihood of successful fertilization, but pregnancy can still occur.
CausesUsually occurs under normal and ideal breeding conditions.Can be caused by inexperience, anxiety, physical discomfort, external distractions, or size mismatches.
ManagementOften straightforward, requiring standard breeding practices.May require additional attempts, closer monitoring, and management of environmental factors.
PredictabilityMore predictable and expected in a controlled breeding scenario.Less predictable, often considered an undesirable outcome in planned breeding.

What causes slip mating in dogs?

Several factors can cause slip mating:

  • Inexperience: Young or inexperienced dogs may not understand or feel comfortable with the mating process, leading to premature dismounting.
  • Anxiety or Stress: Dogs that are anxious, stressed, or uncomfortable with their environment or their mating partner may not complete the mating process.
  • Physical Discomfort or Health Issues: If either the male or female dog is experiencing physical discomfort or has health issues, particularly those affecting their reproductive systems, it can lead to slip mating.
  • Interruption or Distraction: External factors like loud noises, the presence of other animals, or human intervention can distract the dogs and cause the male to dismount prematurely.
  • Mismatch in Size or Compatibility: Sometimes, the physical size or compatibility of the dogs can be a factor. If the dogs are significantly mismatched in size, they may have difficulty maintaining the tie.

How successful is slip mating?

There are no precise statistics on the success rates of slip mating, as it can depend on various individual factors such as:

  • Duration of Contact: The shorter duration of contact in slip mating may not allow enough time for optimal sperm transfer.
  • Timing in the Female’s Cycle: The timing of the mating in relation to the female’s heat cycle is crucial. Even with slip mating, if it occurs during the peak of the female’s fertility, the chances of pregnancy can be higher.
  • Sperm Quality: The fertility of the male dog and the quality of the sperm also play a significant role. High-quality sperm may still lead to successful fertilization even in shorter mating encounters.
  • Frequency of Mating: Multiple mating attempts can increase the likelihood of pregnancy, even if slip mating occurs.

However, it is generally accepted that the success rate is lower than that of a full tie.

Despite the lower probability, I know of many breeders who have reported successful pregnancies resulting from slip matings.

How to prevent slip mating in dogs?

how to prevent slip mating in dogs

If you want to prevent slip mating in your dogs, it’s not exactly a straightforward solution, but luckily, I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Select Compatible Mating Pairs:
    • Size and Temperament: Choose a male and female pair that are compatible in size and temperament. Mismatches in size or an incompatible temperament can lead to difficulties in maintaining a tie.
    • Health Screening: Ensure both dogs are healthy and free from any conditions that might cause discomfort or pain during mating.
  2. Provide Proper Introduction and Environment:
    • Familiarization: Allow the dogs to meet and interact in a neutral, stress-free environment before mating. This can help reduce anxiety and improve their comfort with each other.
    • Quiet and Secure Location: Choose a calm and quiet location for mating, away from loud noises and distractions. A familiar environment for the dogs can also be beneficial.
  3. Manage the Mating Process:
    • Supervision: Supervise the mating process closely but without causing additional stress or distraction to the dogs.
    • Guidance for Inexperienced Dogs: If one or both dogs are inexperienced, gentle guidance may be necessary. However, it’s important to balance this with allowing the dogs to mate naturally.
  4. Timing and Frequency:
    • Optimal Timing: Understanding the female’s heat cycle is crucial. Mating should ideally occur when she is most receptive, which is generally around the 11th to 14th day of her cycle, but this can vary.
    • Multiple Mating Attempts: If a slip mating occurs, allowing the dogs to mate several times during the female’s heat cycle can increase the chances of successful fertilization.
  5. Minimize Stress and Anxiety:
    • Calm Handling: Both dogs should be handled calmly and confidently to minimize stress.
    • Avoid Force: Never force the dogs to mate, as this can cause anxiety and lead to slip mating.
  6. Health and Nutrition:
    • Proper Nutrition: Ensure both dogs are on a healthy diet to maintain optimal reproductive health.
    • Veterinary Check-ups: Regular health check-ups with a veterinarian can help identify and address any health issues that might contribute to slip mating.
  7. Professional Advice:
    • Consultation with Experts: If slip mating is a recurring issue, consulting with a veterinarian specializing in canine reproduction or an experienced breeder can provide additional insights and strategies.

Stages of male dog ejaculation

There are three phases to the male dog’s ejaculation process:

  • The pre-ejaculatory fluid, which is often transparent and has little to no sperm in it, is the first stage.
  • The second stage, which contains the most sperm, is released with forceful thrusting.
  • A small amount of clear prostatic fluid containing sperm makes up the third and final stage, which takes place during the breeding period.

Premature withdrawal occurs when the dog mounts before the second stage of ejaculation.

In this case, the male dog will likely still be swollen and pouring seminal fluid as if a lock had occurred.

Pregnancy is quite improbable in this circumstance, which is why the myth that slip mating does not work is so popular.

Does slip mating work?

slip mating can get a dog pregnant too

The second step of ejaculation is completed prior to slip mating.

In spite of what breeders may believe, it still indicates a very high likelihood of the female becoming pregnant.

Even if the breeder views the slip mating as a failed attempt, the female should not be transported right away to another stud because females are capable of getting pregnant and having litters with puppies from various fathers.

This is viewed as being highly unethical and in violation of the AKC’s standards and regulations for responsible breeding.

Can dogs get pregnant without locking?

Yes, they can get pregnant without locking.

If ejaculation has taken place, pregnancy can still happen because there is frequently some semen spillage when the withdrawal takes place.

Has my dog mated without locking?

If the key definition of mating is insemination, then it depends on which stage of the ejaculation cycle your dog is in.

If it is still in the first stage, it is essentially firing “blanks” and would not impregnate a bitch.

If it is in the second or third stage, then we can say that mating is completed.

How long does it take for a dog to get pregnant after breeding?

From the moment of conception, there are typically 63 days of gestation.

If the bitch has given birth more than once or if the eggs are fertilized within a day or two of the mating, the results may be different.

At about 25 days after breeding, a vet can manually palpate a bitch’s abdomen to see if she’s carrying.

At that time, ultrasounds can also be performed.

X-rays will confirm pregnancy at about 40 days.

You might wanna use this handy dog pregnancy calendar to get an estimate.

How do you help a stud dog who keeps missing the mark?

One way to ensure a successful mating if your stud dog continually missing the mark is to pick a decent breeding partner and ensure both dogs are in good health.

It is not really wise for us humans to interfere too much in the process.

Just ensure the dogs are healthy, well-fed, and living stress-free.

They would do the rest naturally!

Find out other methods to try out if your stud dog keeps missing.

In conclusion: Slip mating success rate

As long as the male dog has ejaculated, there is always a chance that the bitch will get pregnant.

If you are a dog owner, you need to take the time to observe if the female dog indeed gets pregnant before allowing it to mate with another dog.

This is the ethical way to handle things and is in fact the guide from AKC.

Most importantly, let your dogs go with the flow and do it at their own pace. Less stress equals to a happier dog, so let’s keep it that way.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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