Sorry-I know this was addressed to Icy, but thought I'd share too-hope you don't mind. I've done collections around a year of age. That way I am able to monitor if he is or is not fertile and be sure that if I continue to invest in the stud that I have a cause or if I should neuter him as a pet. Also we are able to check for the sperms mobility, etc. If I were to receive a bad report, I could continue to monitor or look for another stud.
I usually schedule the vet to look at samples when he comes here for routine checks and health certificates. It never hurts to do it and you can monitor your stud's fertility and know where you stand. It also helps to elimate factors if you have a female that turns up not bred. I know this sounds gross, but it also gives me and the vet a chance to examine all the neccessary parts for mating-if you get my drift.
I would also recommend that if you will be doing artifical insemination that you start them early with this type of handling. I made a mistake once and waited until the female was in heat before handling him this way. It really made him nervous, but after a few times, he's quite the sport and loves going to the grooming table.
***Edited By: myshadow on 6/26/2005 4:13:57 PM*** Reason: add
If you have a microscope you can do your own fertility check.
But dependent on your breed I wouldn't collect before a year of age. My own is an example. Males are 'mature' but they don't really become manly with the testosterone to go with it untill after a year of age or so. Smaller breeds are more fertile older.
If you are going to collect semin for storage, I'd do it earlier in the dogs life. But for other things have a repro vet check the semin. Its probably going to cost you an office visit plus time, and repo vets are often pricey, so just budget yourself in a hundred bucks.
You want to check for the spem count, vitality, and make sure they are not malformed. Spermies that swim in circles are not useful.
There were actually some articles on one of the recent dog world magazines that talk about preparing male dogs to stud work, and one of the things they specifically mentioned was making sure the dog was used to being 'handled', no pun intended heh.
I think my vet maybe has charged me like $25, but I usually do it when he comes here for other things. I usually collect it and he checks it for me. I thought about buying a microscope, but for what he charges now, I can't justify it.
I would suggest a year for the best results, if your dogs are registered with AKC, they have rules thaat the male must be a certain age for them to recognize the breeding (thinking its 9 months)....not sure if that pertains to you or not
langniappe the magazine article says that you should start early on getting your dog used to his testicles or sheath being handled. I am kinda doing it already with Riddick now, but he is already pretty used to having his testicles touched because he's a show dog.
All dogs are diffrent. Some males will not ejaculate without a bitch in season around. But you should always handle your male dogs when young. Start immedatly.
For the ring they must be able to let a stranger touch their testicles. Not to be peverted, but part of our weekly ritual is a rub down of everything. I also check my males shafts for smegm build up and to make sure there is no discharge.
This allows them to be handled easier for breeding as well since some have horrendious aim, espcally with alll of the leg lenght my guys have.
Some males will do fine with just hand stimulation. Some wil need a female in season to be present. Basic handling will prepare them for collection later in life. If you have bitches in season you can practice the collection.
Be warned once you start colelcting many males anticipate it. Don't be to enthuastic becuase some won't figure how to breed a bitch on their own. Also, many can be taught to ejaculate on command which is pretty cool if you can get that one down.
If you are deeply disturbed by what I've said above, sorry :P Breeding isen't always pretty and plesant although we're talking animals here. You can also go to your repo vet or normal vet for help and advice on how to get your male started and askt hem to show you what to do.
LOL! One of my males will literally just spazzes out everytime we head to the grooming table for anything. Last time I took him up for his nail trimming, he just hopped right on my arm and went to town. I couldn't believe it! I laughed so hard and it was too late before I could get him off of my arm. YUCK. Since I wasn't breeding with him, my 4 year old was standing there, just in stitches laughing (he had no idea-except that the dog was going nuts and his hair was flopping everywhere like a muppet!). He thought he got too excited and peed-we just left it at that!
But, I will say by sampling and doing AI or hand breeding, it has made all of my dogs so easy to handle everywhere we go. Did some CERFs the other day and they were so good and the vet couldn't believe how well they just sat there and handled everything. Still need to reCERF the little guy above-bet he may have something different to say about him!