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What effect does nuetering have on a dog's temperment?

9499 Views 52 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  susan tuck
I've seen a lot of articles and messageboard replies in various places on the 'net concerning the "aggressiveness" of un-neutered dogs. It got me wondering what, if any, effect neutering has on a dog's temperment.

I have a 12 mth old un-neutered male and was told that if we were going to neuter, not to do it until after 2 years of age b/c it might affect drives. I'm not sure how true that is, either. The breeder about had a heart attack when I asked about a spay/neuter agreement during his purchase (she couldn't understand why anyone would want to sterilize a dog).

So I'm turning to you experienced dog people: is there a difference? Do you neuter your dogs? If so, at what age?
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Kristen Cabe said:
Personally I won't neuter my male unless there's a phsyical medical reason to do so. Same goes for spaying my girl, unless there's a medical reason, I won't do it.
There are several physical medical reasons for speutering. Spaying a female can decrease her chances of developing 'breast' cancer - the percentage goes down to almost 0 if she is spayed before the first heat. It can also completely eliminate the chances of her deveoping uterine or ovarian cancer, and pyometra (a very serious infection of the uterous, which can be deadly and is extremely costly to treat). Neutering a male dog can decrease the chances of him developing prostate disease, and completely eliminate the chances of testicular cancer.

As for the behavioral problems that are supposedly solved by speutering, many of those things CAN be dealt with through training, but some cannot. Female dogs have mood swings just like some women do, and can become cranky and even aggressive when they are in heat. Bitches in heat are not fun to deal with - why do you think the term is used for certain women?! :lol: The inclination to roam is also something that can't really be trained out. When a male dog smells a female in heat (and he can do so for miles!), he is going to do all he can do to get to her. Sometimes he can cause injury to himself in the process. One of my trainer's dogs was so frustrated that he licked his front paws completely bloody raw because the bitch in the kennel next to him was coming in to heat (they didn't realize she was in heat at first). Also, statistics prove that intact dogs are more likely to bite; most of the dog bites you hear about in the news are from unneutered males.

Is this an arguement for speutering? Yes and no. I do not feel that anyone on this board needs to be fussed at or lectured for having intact dogs. Jak is intact, and will remain so until he is at least 2 years old, but will be neutered at around that time if he isn't suitable for breeding, or when he becomes too old to be bred. My other dog was spayed at 2.5 months old. She is a mixed breed. I have no experience breeding dogs, and no desire to have a female with puppies. No reason to keep her intact at all. The average pet owner, however, should not own an intact animal, in my opinion. There is absolutely no reason at all for average people to own or breed an intact animal just because. That's where our overpopulation problem stems from, and I'm sure you all are well aware of this. Shelters and rescues that don't speuter their animals before they are adopted are a BIG peeve of mine, as are breeders who sell their animals to pet homes but require that the animal be bred at least once before the new owner is allowed to speuter it.
Well said.

Also, the original poster asked if other forum members do spay/neuter. My answer is yes. Because I plan no breeding, my personal belief (not forcing it on anyone else) is that a male who is kept intact but not bred is maybe going to have frustration and tension that's not necessary, and the health reasons for spaying females are compelling, for me. Again, I see others' points of view on working dogs; we were asked for our own opinions.
Jenni Williams said:
.......I love the astute medical statement that neutering eliminates the risks of testicular cancer :lol: . Well....duh. Just hack off everything that might get cancer some day. :wink: .
Lots of good points being made on both sides of this issue.

Sarcasm and "well....duh" are probably not required to present another point of view. I know we can play nice!
Mike Schoonbrood said:
......I also think that studies are skewed, I've said it before and I'll say it again -- lets say they take 3000 dogs for a study... how many of those 3000 people take the kind of care of their dogs that most dedicated working dog folks do? I'll be you that my dogs are healthier than at least 2000 of the dogs in the studies. They don't take into account good breeding, lifestyle or good health. ......
This is a huge point, Mike. No study I know about ever followed dogs who receive the kind of vet care, nutrition, or exercise program that's the norm among working-dog people. People with working dogs from known lineage are going to have a much different point of view than that of people with a lot of experience adopting dogs with unknown parentage and unknown health history. People who take excellent care of their dogs are also not likely to have accidental pregnancies or wandering males.
Jenni Williams said:
....Connie, I was not quoting anyone on this forum :? :| . I have heard this ridiculous, *obvious* statement countless times from people with medical degrees, and I can't think of anything but "duh" to say when I'm told's like saying that you'll never be killed in plane crash if you don't fly. :wink:
OK, sorry, mistake. Another poster had made the point and I thought the remark was about her post. (I must be guilty myself to be so quick on the draw! :oops: )
Stacia Porter said:
.......this might sound totally and completely ridiculous, but bear with me for a moment. I do know of a contraceptive device in humans that actually has a BETTER pregnancy preventative track record than female tubile ligation: the intrauterine device. Now of course it's not more effective than hysterectomy, but we know that hysterectomy has its risks, as well......
It doesn't sound 100% crazy. I believe the first vasectomy was done on a dog.......

But Kristen is right about the early IUDs (and probably the "improved" ones, too). The Dalkon Shield was recalled after several class-action suits, back in the 70s.
Woody Taylor said: dog is a family dog first, everything else second, and a dog that I cannot be with 100% of the day and a dog that spends very small chunks of time by herself in the backyard when my wife and I have to take care of our pack members who are not housebroken . So my situation is different from the experts on the board. What I dont' like are sentiments that spaying/neutering is something that's unnecessary or even just for lazy owners. I think it's a very pragmatic and practical action for many different owners to take.
Woody, referring to spaying and neutering in general as something for "lazy owners" would be an *extremely* biased statement. It's a pragmatic and practical action for *most* owners, IMO. It's just that this board and other working boards are not made up of "most owners;" it's made up (largely) of people who own and/or breed working-line dogs.

Also, remember that some of the resulting issues discussed above (for example, in the canine athlete article linked) have to do with "early" spaying/neutering (under 6 months) as opposed to spaying/neutering in general. Early spaying and neutering is really a separate discussion, IMO, from whether to spay/neuter in general.
Woody Taylor said:
I understand 100%. You and I have talked about this separately and you know where I am coming from...I get concerned about people surfing in and out of this forum and picking up an argument that suits their ideals rather than their situation. Then all of the sudden my neighborhood is filled with intact male APBTs with high-stim ecollars that target legs and arms. :D :D :D

In any case, I should have qualified my own post earlier...I'm definitely referring general spaying/neutering rather than early spaying. But overall I think it's (it being general spaying) a gray issue at this level of dog ownership, and much clearer as you get down the line to more recreational/domestic-only dogs owned by people like the two folks I saw this weekend with live prongs and flexileads :roll: . Those types of folks should get their dogs fixed. I will call this the Cesar Milan rule--if he would consider you a good episode, you must fix your dog. :lol:
I LOOOOVE that "rule"!!!!! LOL!!!
Jenni Williams said:
There was only one excerpt I posted that only related to early neutering, and that was the growth thing, same as Jeff said. The article was particularly against early neutering, but those issues apply to ALL neutering at ANY age; early is just far worse.....
Yes, I meant that article. I thought it was an argument against early neutering.
Jenni Williams said:
....Woody, what do you mean about "people surfing in and out of the forum and picking up on an argument..." :?: You confused me there, buddy. Did I miss an earlier argument? :?
Woody can speak for himself, I know, but I think he means pet owners who are not at the level of responsible dog-owners that this board represents, web-surfing and concluding that they are OK in not neutering and, as Woody says, "picking up an argument that suits their ideals rather than their situation."
Jenni Williams said:
....Do you mean the excerpts I posted or when I asked Jeff if the article he tried to post was the one I thought it was?...

LOL! I meant the canine athletes articke about early neutering which Jeff posted and got the URL wrong.
Woody Taylor said:
.....It's a working dog board for working dog people--I probably should not be posting in here...
I think I don't belong on the Fluffy forums, if for no other reason besides doing extensive research into canine health and nutrition. But I also think I learn a TON about training and behavior and about the subject of working dogs (with which I wanted to familiarize myself thoroughly before looking for a SchH dog), and I do work with other peoples' dogs.

Like other working dog forums, this one attracts as members people who may not yet (or ever) have a working dog, but who are much more responsible and serious about their dogs' training than many owners on the more casual and social dog forums. I'm not putting down the Fluffy sites; they serve a purpose, but it's one I personally don't need.

Talk about getting off topic! :oops:

QUOTE: I'm not sure that those people he's concerned about would even BOTHER to read such a fascinating, informative site made up of such highly intelligent beings such as ourselves. END

I never thought of that! :lol:
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