Pet Know-Hows: Male Dog Behavior When Female is Pregnant

Do you notice a particular male dog behavior when female is pregnant? Most dog owners are familiar with the behaviors of females during pregnancy. Therefore, it is easier for us to respond to their needs and understand their demeanor. Perhaps your male dog reacted in an unusual manner during the female’s pregnancy and you’re not quite sure about the cause of the reaction and how to respond to it. You might even ask yourself, “why is my male dog’s behavior like this when the female is pregnant?”

If your female dog is expecting to give birth to a litter of puppies, you should keep any intact males in the house away from her. When male dogs are in the presence of expectant females, particularly when they are in labor, they may become extremely stressed. This is due to their inability to do anything at the moment about their attraction.  

When Should I Separate an Intact Male Dog From a Pregnant Female? 

Separate an Intact Male Dog From a Pregnant Female

When a female becomes pregnant, their pack mentality does not weaken as dogs are naturally pack animals. Unlike the belief of most pet owners that male dogs should be kept away from females during the whole duration of their pregnancy, this is only accurate during the last few weeks, when the baby is weaned. Below is a guide on female dog pregnancy stages and when you should separate them from male dogs:

First Three Weeks of Pregnancy

The gestation period of a female dog is about nine weeks, where a few shifts will be visible during the first three weeks of pregnancy. During this period, some noticeable changes include increased appetite, swollen nipples, increased love and affection, vaginal discharge, and a decrease in physical activity. 

Moreover, it’s normal for your female dog to be irritable and growl or snap at her male counterpart as her hormone levels fluctuate. If male dog behavior when the female is pregnant isn’t aggressive, there is no need to separate your male dog from pregnant females. 

Second Three Weeks of Pregnancy

The growing puppies can increase your female’s hunger during the next three weeks of pregnancy, which can trigger some food guarding. Thus, she should be fed alone to avoid fighting with other dogs. 

Visible changes during this period of pregnancy include 20 to 50 percent gain of body weight, urination and behavioral changes, clear and odorless vaginal discharge, abdomen enlargement and firmness, sudden appetite decrease during the sixth week, and puppy movements that can be visible in the belly. Your female should be allowed to continue playing and engaging with your male, but not so much that she will become exhausted.

Final Weeks of Pregnancy

Male dog behavior when the female is pregnant in the final stages could be detrimental. Hence, this should be when your female dog is separated from the male. Puppy growth is nearly complete during this period, which means the puppies will begin to shift into a whelping position in the birth canal during the female dog pregnancy’s final days. 

Isolation helps her get used to the whelping area and decreases the risk of infectious spread of disease. Keep the mother and newborn puppies away from other dogs until they’re three weeks old, and then bring the male to the litter if he’s safe and updated on vaccinations. Keep your male away from the female dog until the litter is weaned if he isn’t neutered. 

Male Dog Behaviors You Need to Know About

Male Dog Behaviors

Having a male dog can bring us a lot of joy and relaxation, particularly in the early stages when they are still cute puppies. Unfortunately, as male dogs enter puberty, they reach sexual maturity, which brings with it changes not just in their physical appearance but also in their behaviors. 

You may have to deal with the hormonal effects of the rebellious adolescent period, just as a human parent would with their child. We want to provide the best treatment for our dogs and respond to their needs as pet owners. To do so, we must be mindful of these dog behaviors and understand why they occur. 

Behavior #1: Mounting

Humping or mounting is one of the most embarrassing dog habits for owners. Mounting is also triggered by other causes such as overexcitement, superiority, or underlying medical problems, even though it appears to be solely a sexual thing. Animal behaviorists ascertain that mounting or humping is a very common behavior among dogs that is often unrelated to sex. 

Accordingly, when an intact male is aroused, he will vent his sexual frustrations through his cherished stuffed animal or other unfortunate animals that share your home. This can be aggravated if a female in heat is in close proximity, as male dogs can detect a female in heat from a distance of up to 3 to 5 miles, depending on the direction of the blowing wind and the dog breed. In some situations, local discomfort may cause agitation in the dog, and humping is a good way to alleviate it.  

Behavior #2: Aggressiveness

When a female is in heat, some intact male dogs can exhibit aggressive behaviors directed at other male dogs. Although neutering the dog isn’t a cure-all, it can help to mitigate this form of aggression if its hormones trigger it. On the other hand, defensively aggressive dogs are motivated by fear, and instead of fleeing, they decide that the only defense is a strong offense. 

Defensively aggressive dogs show a combination of nervous and violent postures. They may charge at a human or another dog that scares them at first, barking and growling. At the same time, some dogs become aggressive because of their innate instincts of defense and direction for the pack. Animals choose pack leaders naturally because they know who is the strongest and most capable of leading them. It’s a task that’s both selfless and instinctive for dogs. The pack leader, in exchange, has full faith in the pack. 

Before your dogs look to you as their leader, you must win their confidence, loyalty, and respect, which you can do by giving them laws, limits, and limitations.

Behavior #3: Roaming 

A healthy male dog has a natural desire to explore. They are under pressure to leave their mark in the neighborhood. If there is a female in heat nearby, this behavior becomes even worse. Dogs can detect the smell of a female in heat from a distance of several miles, and they can remain in the area for hours or days. Although roaming is an everyday intact male dog activity, it can also be hazardous. If a male dog goes outside to look for breeding mates, he could be hit by a car and killed, or he could simply roam too far from home and become permanently lost. 

Finally, dogs who go outside are much more likely to develop deadly diseases such as rabies or enteritis. Dogs that are fixed live longer than their unfixed counterparts, and this may be due to genetics. A dog’s roaming behaviors, as well as other hormonally-charged habits like persistent vocalization, urine spraying, mounting items, and violent physical combat, can be halted by neutering.

Behavior #4: Marking

Some male wolves can be seen urinating on trees, bushes, or rocks in the wild as a pack of wolves migrates from one location to another searching for food. The wolves will raise one leg and dribble a small amount of urine. This is purely a marking strategy. Part of this instinct has survived in domesticated dogs. Using urine to leave a scent mark is a popular dog communication technique. 

Marking is most likely to happen on or near new or novel odors, especially urine left by other dogs. In most cases, the amount of urine used for marking is insignificant. While intact males are more likely to have this problem, many neutered males and spayed females do as well. Male marking activity is reduced in more than 80% of male dogs after neutering, but it is only eliminated in around 40% of them. Female dogs that mark during estrus should also be neutered. 

Know that any item that your dog sniffs and examines could be a viable target for marking. Although the best stimuli for marking are the urine and sexual odors of dogs and other animals, your dog may be drawn to any fresh or novel odor it senses along the way.

Behavior #5: Digging

Digging is an instinct that dogs acquired from their wolf ancestors. It is something that all dogs do to some extent and it’s as normal to them as wagging their tails or barking loudly. Dogs dig in the dirt for various reasons, including escaping, tracking predators, creating a cool place to sit, and hiding something valuable to them. 

Some dogs, however, “dig” inside as well. This is a perfectly natural dog activity that occurs most frequently at night and during naps. Dogs with a strong prey drive are more likely to dig for mice or other small creatures they hear or smell underground. One of the most common reasons dogs dig holes is that it’s just plain fun for them. It is a perfect way for dogs to alleviate boredom or distract themselves from anxiety. Chronic digging is frequently a warning that your dog isn’t having enough exercise or mental stimulation.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!