We had a question online about a year-old stud who just had his first semen evaluation at the vet. The count was low, and the owner was concerned about the low count. She asked if she should to a "clean out" collection prior to the next evaluation and how she can make him more comfortable with the process.
When you have poor sperm count in a year old stud in a first collection there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. According to repro vets I've spoken to, there's no value in a "clean out" but at the same time there's really no harm in it either.
2. He's still young. And he's new at this. So you have a combination of inexperience and immature hormone levels you are likely dealing with.
More collections/breedings will help increase testosterone, which will help increase sperm count. They will also increase his experience.
Many young dogs have no idea what they are supposed to do. And even if they have sex drive, they haven't yet experienced the pot of gold at the end of the breeding rainbow. So they need to learn there's a (very) high value reward for successfully breeding/collecting. That takes a few times, but the more drive a dog has, the faster they can be expected to learn.
Breeding is a skill. They need to learn it. The only time you can expect a first time stud to hit a home run and have a successful breeding with a high sperm count and a pregnancy is if it's the stray basset hound-akita-yorkie-whippet mix running loose in the neighborhood and your dam happened to get out of the fence just this once.
3. the best way to help him be comfortable with it is to give him practice. You can pay your repro vet to do that or you can learn to collect at home.