Today amidst the blood curdling screams of a bitch being bred, Boy and Leeloo took that first important step toward producing puppies. Last night they were very close to being bred but when Raimi managed insert Plug A into Socket B, the owner of Socket B yelped and her OMG lightbulb went on. I could tell, in his next few attempts, that she had put two and two together and come up with an extreme violation of her person. "You want to put what WHERE?"
I called Erin, the most experienced live cover Ridgeback breeder I know, for a little advice. It was sound, as always. Manage the bitch, not the dog. If he's doing his part just manipulate her until she is in the right spot. See, although I grew up in dogs and have had 3 Ridgeback litters, I was never present for the breeding of Halo - she was bred twice in California and once in Las Vegas. Ridgebacks are not Pulis and both dogs are very strong so managing to get them bred was going to be a bit of a challenge. Quality time with the parents coming right up.
I mostly needed a hand managing both ends of Leeloo. Boy was being very good, trying his best and working in exactly the right spot but everytime he got close to Plug/Socket connection she twisted around and he was unable to get the power turned on. With a little help from my Dad holding Leeloo's head, me directing her bottom, and my mom guiding Boy, we managed to get a tie after a few false starts.
Leeloo screamed for a good 5 minutes or so once they were tied. And I don't mean whining, pitiful noises - she was screaming her heart out. Everytime either one of them moved the crying increased slightly in pitch. It was fun let me tell you. Once Boy was relaxed into the tie and we could turn them(so they are facing away from each other) Leeloo did everything in her power to make the experience as annoying and uncomfortable as possible.
She kept backing into Boy, turning sideways, trying to lie down or sit or simply walk away. My Dad had a death grip on her collar to stop her from moving and I had my hands underneath her tummy to stop her sitting. She took advantage of this by relaxing her hind legs so I was holding her up. My mom managed Boy's head where he simply leaned against her leg with a dreamy expression on his face, panting heavily and clearly in his happy place.
Leeloo's expression was one of horror. Of violation. Of extreme distress. Her pretty eyes were popping out of her head. Everytime she looked at me those big browns bored into my brain pleading to make it stop. They were tied for 23 minutes and then voila, tie broken and dogs seperated. Leeloo is spending a couple hours in her expen feeling sorry for herself and not speaking to me. Boy is satisfied, sleeping on the dog bed next to me, occasionally looking through the French door where he can see Leeloo in her pen. She's his girl don't you know.
Tomorrow we will try again and then skip Monday and try on Tuesday. Canine sperm can live for up to 5 days in the uterus so if we cover the run of a 5 day span it will hopefully meet the eggs when they are most ripe. I can't see me doing a breeding without help particularly considering Leeloo's behaviour. Boy was perfection and did his job admirably - I guess if you're going to be good at something it might as well be that.