Sexual Behavior & Reproduction in Dogs with Dr. Ian Dunbar

Canine Sexual Behavior

From Anestrus to Zygote

Simply put, canine sexual behavior is fascinating.

I moved to the US in the 70s to research canine sexual differentiation — the physiological process underlying the development of sex differences. Obviously, the sexual behavior of male and female dogs differs substantially, but dogs have many other sex differences (e.g. urination postures and olfactory preferences).

The most interesting sex difference turned out to be social behavior and especially aggression, which lead me to study dog behavior as a whole, including dog-human interaction, behavior, temperament, and training problems, and eventually, dog training — the easiest, quickest, most effective and most enjoyable way to teach dogs how to live happily with people.

My research posed so many intriguing questions and often revealed surprising answers, some of which have become integral to the practice of modern dog training (e.g. bite inhibition and subliminal bite triggers). However, not all of my findings have become common knowledge. Particularly in the area of social structure and “dominance,” there’s still a lot of misinformation out there, held by the general public and professional dog trainers alike.

After observing a dog pack for over a decade, I learned a lot of truly remarkable things about how dogs manage their relationships, maintain social harmony, share valued resources and socialize their puppies. It’s complex, it’s often sexually differentiated, and it very rarely involves physical domination of any sort.

It all started with two simple questions:

1) How do novice dogs learn how to have sex?

2) How do first-time mothers learn how to give birth to, and care for, puppies?

This seminar is particularly dear to my heart, as it presents the findings that would set the stage for my entire career. I find this subject to be entirely fascinating. Words cannot convey how much I enjoyed the time I spent conducting this research, and how happy I am now to make this information available to you.

I hope you enjoy it!

- Ian Dunbar

Topics include:

  • The fundamentals of natural selection and genetics
  • Domestication — selectively breeding for promiscuity and ease-of-socialization
  • Social heredity vs. genetic heredity — what puppies learn from playing and socializing with mother, littermates, and people is as important as genetic dispositions
  • The behavioral endocrinology of dogs, both males and females, is absolutely unique and very different from other mammals
  • Behavior differences between male and female dogs
  • Testosterone! Wow! This is a bit different!
  • Female estrus cycle — anestrus, proestrus, estrus and metestrus
  • Female proceptivity, attractiveness and receptivity
  • How to accurately determine the time of ovulation (within 24 hours) by observing behavior and sexual reflexes
  • Social and sexual partner preferences of female dogs
  • Canine courtship — nature’s temperament test
  • Development of maternal behavior in primiparous bitches
  • Genetic diseases and genetic diversity (or lack thereof) in pure-bred dogs
  • How to improve the genetic health of all dogs

This online seminar consists of six hours of video lecture. It has been approved for 6 continued education credits by the CCPDT, IAABC & NADOI. You can download a certificate of achievement when you've completed this course.

What's included?

7 Videos
6 Texts
2 PDFs

Canine sexual behavior is fascinating and complex. Learn about this topic from one of the world's leading experts: Dr. Ian Dunbar

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Dr. Ian Dunbar
Dr. Ian Dunbar
World-renowned dog trainer, veterinarian, and animal behaviorist

About the instructor

Dr. Ian Dunbar is one of the world's most respected experts on dog training and behavior. He grew up on a farm, training cows, chickens and yes, dogs. He received his veterinary degree from the Royal Veterinary College at London University and his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. 

In 1982, he designed and taught the world's very first off-leash puppy socialization and training classes – SIRIUS® Puppy Training. Subsequently, he created and developed the San Francisco SPCA's Animal Behavior Department, he started the American Kennel Club's Gazette "Behavior" column, which he wrote for seven years, and he designed and organized the K9 GAMES®.

In 1993, he founded the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. With over 5000 members in 48 countries, the APDT has grown to be the world's largest association of dog trainers.

He has authored numerous books and videos, including five seasons of Dogs with Dunbar, a popular television program in the UK.

He has given over one thousand seminars and workshops around the world and has been instrumental in the rise of reward-based, fun and games, scientifically sound dog training methods.

What others have been saying about this course:

Nela Graham

All vets, trainers and breeders should do this course!

As a Veterinary Behaviour Consultant I thoroughly enjoyed the review of canine sexual behaviour and Ian's vibrant presentations! He paints the picture of the grim dysgensis situation we've created in the dog world and what we can do about it! He e...

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