Note: Pet Educate is reader supported. If you make a purchase through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission - at no extra cost to you. This includes links to Amazon.

Why Do Female Dogs Cry When Mating?

If you have a female dog that you are breeding, it’s only natural to be concerned if she is crying. It’s disheartening, and troubling, for sure. But why may your dog be doing this; is it common? Could it indicate they are in pain – is pain even unavoidable? Are there things that could help prevent or alleviate this response? Here are the answers to all of these questions and more.

So, why do female dogs cry when mating? Female dogs can cry when mating if it’s too early in their cycle, they have a medical problem, they’re anxious or stressed, or the male dog is too big.

As you can see, crying during mating does indicate a problem.

How severe that problem is can range, however.

So let us delve deeper into those reasons so you may get a better idea of why your female dog is crying.

We will then look at some suggestions to ensure your dog remains safe during such an interaction.

Reasons Why a Female Dog May Cry When Mating

Your female dog may cry when mating if she is accepting the male dog too early in her cycle, she has a tumor or an infection, she’s stressed or anxious, or the male dog isn’t the right size for her.

Mating Too Early

If your female dog is crying while mating, it could be too early in her cycle.

The reason it can be painful for females if they mate too early in their cycle is because in the early stages, her vulva is engorged with blood, and the nerve endings there are very sensitive.

Female dogs attract male dogs right from the beginning of their cycles, but they won’t be ready for mating until 7 to 10 days later.

You can tell your bitch’s cycle is progressing because the discharge she produces will change from being thick and bloody to more watery and merely tinged with blood.

If your female is receptive and ready for mating, she will pull her tail to one side when the male sniffs her vulva.

A Medical Problem

There are a few medical problems that could cause your female dog pain when mating, such as:

  • Tumors. If your female dog has a tumor in her vagina or around the entry to her vagina, she will experience pain when mating.
  • Infections. Some females can develop infections, either in the vagina or in the womb. One such infection is pyometra, which is a life-threatening infection in unneutered female dogs.
  • Hip pain. Any problems in her hips (such as hip dysplasia) can cause pain when mating.

Feeling Anxious or Stressed

It’s possible your female dog is feeling anxious or stressed about the mating process.

Perhaps it’s her first time, or she’s had a bad mating experience previously. If a previous mating has gone badly and she is traumatized, she won’t want to mate again – and she may anticipate pain and whine, even if she isn’t in actual physical pain.

The Male Dog Is Too Big

It’s essential to consider the size of the stud when looking at breeding your female dog. Ideally, both dogs will be close in size and weight.

Even though the female doesn’t carry the entire weight of the male during mating, if he is much bigger than she is, he could inadvertently hurt her.

In addition, if the male’s penis is too big for the female, he could literally rip her vagina and cause a lot of pain and damage.

Do Female Dogs Feel Pain When Mating?

Female dogs don’t necessarily have to feel pain when mating. There are a few instances, though, where a bit of pain (in either dog) can occur.

Here are some circumstances in which your female dog may feel pain, other than the problems mentioned above:

  • If it’s her first time. If it’s the first time your female is breeding, then it can be a bit painful. Her vagina has to swell to accommodate the male’s penis, and depending on his size, this can be painful.
  • If the dogs aren’t in the right position. Dogs who don’t have a lot of breeding experience may not know what position is best. Sometimes a male dog who is new to breeding can struggle to find the female’s vulva, which can make the experience a bit painful for her.
  • If the male is stressed. A stressed male dog may move more than he should, particularly if he becomes anxious when the bulbous end of his penis swells. Dogs who are especially stressed when experiencing new sensations may move around more than is required, causing a bit of pain for both them and for the female.
  • If one or both dogs panic. If either dog becomes stressed, the natural instinct is to run away. But because they are locked together, they can’t do that, and they may seek to separate before the process is complete. This is when both dogs need reassurance from their respective breeders because any premature attempts at separation can cause even more pain for both dogs.

Sometimes both dogs can be very relaxed – to the point where it looks like they’re sleeping while they’re locked together!

If this happens to your dogs, don’t disturb them – count yourself lucky that they are so content!

What Does Normal Mating Look Like for Female Dogs?

Normal mating for female dogs has several stages, which begin when the female is ready.

The Normal Mating Process

For female dogs, normal mating begins when she is ready to receive the male dog. She indicates this by:

  • Urinating more often than usual (marking spots, which signals her readiness to breed)
  • Having a vaginal discharge that is slower and changing to the color of straw (rather than that of blood)
  • Approaching males with her tail held to one side
  • Possibly being aggressive towards other female dogs

Once a male dog approaches her, and she’s ready to receive him, here’s what happens:

  1. She will let him sniff her vulva (this is why she puts her tail to one side). This stage is the ‘flagging’ stage
  2. The male then mounts her and inserts his penis and starts thrusting (and ejaculating, which he will do several times)
  3. While the male is thrusting, the bulbus gland on the tip of his penis is swelling up
  4. Once the bulbous gland is fully swollen, the male will lift his hind leg over the female: they will be ‘locked’ end to end. This is the ‘tie’ or ‘lock’ stage
  5. The dogs will stay locked together for anywhere from 2 to 40 minutes or longer (2 to 20 minutes on average, depending on the breed)
  6. Once the male has finished ejaculating, the bulbous tip on his penis will go back down to its normal size, and he will pull out from the female

Read more: How Many Times Should A Dog Mate To Get Pregnant?

Slip Mating

Sometimes you may notice what’s called ‘slip mating,’ which is when the male dog withdraws his penis before the bulb enlarges.

If this happens, it’s often because the female isn’t ready and moves as soon as the male dog penetrates her.

The solution is to wait until the female is fully ready to mate (see above for the signs she is ready).

Despite popular belief, slip mating can still impregnate a female dog if the male dog has ejaculated before withdrawing his penis.

The male dog will ejaculate several times during the mating process, but the first ejaculation often contains the most semen (and, therefore, sperm).

Other Mating Suggestions To Keep A Female Safe

In order to keep a female safe during mating, you can check both dogs are compatible (their genitalia as well as their weight). Allowing them to meet beforehand can also help considerably for a smoother mating process, as well as keeping them still during the lock phase.

Check The Genital Compatibility And Health Of Both Dogs

It’s a good idea to check with your vet to see that both dogs are compatible – that is, one isn’t significantly larger than the other.

You don’t want either dog to become seriously hurt, so check that the dogs have compatible genitalia.

You also want to be sure that both dogs are fit for breeding, as it can be a strenuous process.

Check The Weight Of Both Dogs

Make sure the weight of the male dog can be tolerated by the female dog without causing her any injury. This is even more crucial for smaller dogs like Dachshunds, who have delicate spines.

Let The Dogs Meet Beforehand

Allow both dogs to get to know each other before the female enters the fertile part of her cycle (about two weeks after she’s gone into heat).

If they can become familiar with each other’s scent, this will reduce any potential stress. They will be better able to focus on the task at hand when it comes to mating time.

Letting the dogs meet first will also allow you to see that they get along. When the female is in heat and the dogs are wooing each other before mating, some males can get a bit rough.

Both dogs may bite and paw each other, which could inadvertently cause injury: if they are used to each other beforehand, you will make it easier for them when they are dealing with high levels of hormones later on.

Keep Them Calm During Breeding

Do what you can to provide a calm environment for the dogs during the mating process:

  • Keep other people away (no need for spectators!)
  • Make sure there aren’t any loud noises, running children, or other distractions
  • Calm your dogs if they become frightened or uneasy: pet them, praise them, or hold them – whatever is needed

The area in which they are mating must remain calm and quiet throughout the process in order to keep both dogs safe.

Keep Both Dogs Still During The Lock Phase

During the lock phase, do your best to keep both dogs still. Many breeders will have the dogs on their laps during this process: this might sound odd, but dogs appreciate the support of their owners, even in this instance.

There have been instances where male dogs have run around while still locked to their females, resulting in severe injury or even death for the female.

And even if she isn’t fatally injured, it can be extremely stressful for her. She will perhaps be traumatized by the event, as well as less likely to want to mate again.

Note: Never attempt to separate two dogs during the lock phase, as this could cause severe damage to both dogs. Let nature finish the process.

Always Be There While Your Dogs Are Mating

It’s essential to never let two dogs mate without supervision. Even though this is a natural process in the wild, breeders will always be present during mating in case there are problems.

If you have dogs of different heights, this is even more essential – they can run into problems, in particular during the tie process.

Some male dogs aren’t strong enough to hold on – or the female won’t let him – and he’ll need a bit of help.

If you provide the male with a non-slip surface (or a platform if he needs it), he’s less likely to slip off and potentially cause damage to himself or to the female.


Female dogs may mate when crying.

It’s unnerving. And rightly do.

It does also indicate that something is up.

So do learn from the experience, especially if you do intend to breed her again.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to ease your dog and hopefully prevent this response and reaction in the future.

And if in doubt, do contact your vet. That’s always an appropriate response, particularly when it comes to breeding.

Related Guides: