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

9503 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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Have you found that your males "wander"? I've had that said to me, as well: that unneutered males are constantly looking for females.

It's rare to see altered animals in Germany. They feel, as you do, that it is unfair to surgically alter a healthy animal.

My rescue dog is spayed b/c that was a condition of her contract. In all fairness she's a pet and I had no choice, so it was done. My cat was also done. But I just somehow feel it's wrong to do Achilles, even though I've had more than one vet get upset with me on the topic.

That's a very good point about training...and I'm not sure that neutering DOES control aggression and other behavioral issues. Is there any evidence on this?
OMG: I think just met one of those people who SHOULD sterilize!

He was asking me I want a puppy (ummmmm, got a puppy: thanks). So he starts telling me that he as an English bulldog and they were going to breed her but couldn't find a stud and she went into season and was bred by a black lab! She had 5 puppies but they lost 3 b/c she smothered them. They kept one female and gave the male away. Now the bulldog/lab female they kept was bred by another black lab! So they have 11 puppies to find homes for.

He was telling me he was letting them go home at 6 weeks (which I said wasn't a great idea, I'd wait until 8 or so) and that they're beautiful dogs. I did tell him that I thought the puppy owners should be careful about teh dogs' hips with the extra weight from daddy lab on those bulldog frames (they've retained the build of a bulldog with teh flat nose and lab coloring, and lab size).

Hmmmmmm...................I think even Achilles was shaking his head while this guy talked LOL.
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Jenni Williams said:
What they don't like to tell you is that neutering INCREASES the likelihood of developing very aggressive, usually terminal, prostate cancer. Testicular cancer is rarely fatal, and can be cured by neutering once it occurs. I have one neutered animal, and my female cat is spayed. I waited until the dog was 6yrs old, and neutered him only because he was cryporchid. I will not neuter Caleb, (regardless of contract), if he should turn out to have bad hips because neutering is one of the worst things you can do for connective tissue problems and bone/joint issues. If that means sacrificing a replacement, so be it.

About wandering: I agree w/Mike that it's a training issue. Why would you allow your dog to wander, period? People have hormones too, and while some men can't behave :lol: , most would rather be "frustrated" than castrated :wink: . Not an expert on men by a long shot, but it's a hunch. :wink:
I was wondering exactly that about prostate cancer, Jenni! This might be TMI, but one of the reasons that neither hubby nor I is "fixed" is that the surgeries increase the liklihood of prostate cancer for him and uterine cancers for me! I was thinking that if it just cauterizing the vas deferens has that effect on human males, why wouldn't castration have that effect on dogs?

I never let my dog wander. EVER. I was just wondering if that weren't a myth. Does neutering actually take away sexual desire? My spayed female still has mood swings! And won't a dog still hope fences it can whehter or not its' been altered? And I do beleive your hunch is correct: most men would rather be frustrated than lose the wedding tackle all together...

I do understand neutering/spaying for otherwise irresponsible owners. There are people who just should not own in tact animals. But I'm just not sure that it's better for the animal. I suppose if I also owned an in tact female I might feel differently, but since I don't :wink:
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Poor Achilles hasn't got any fence to hop or not hop :cry: However, he did try really hard to dig a hole under my in-laws' whilie were there in Feb and it turned out that the dog next door was in heat. But we were able to get him to stop by correcting him and laying bricks across the fence line. So I completely see your point. Plus he's been doing GREAT at staying in our yard when he's out off leash, even when he does see other dogs/people. He already seems to know that he has to stay in his yard (we've only lived in this house about 3 weeks and we brought him home to an apartment with no yard).

I'm telling you after meeting the dude with 11 bulldog/lab mix puppies to find homes for I'm thinking you're right about the mandatory speuter thing :lol: . One oooopsie litter is one thing, but TWO? Shouldn't ya learn your lesson with #1?
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Jenni Williams said:
Stacia, there are many similarities between dogs and humans. I've looked into vasectomies for a dog as an alternative to just cutting off all hormone production, and found the same thing: higher risk of prostate cancer :cry: . So, I'm leaving things as they were created. 8)
Okay, 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.

I wonder what the effect of creating a doggie IUD would be. There is a slightly increased chance of ectopic pregnancy among human females with an IUD inserted, and there is increased risk of uterine infection at time of insertion.

I know: you're all laughing at me right now. This is what happens when Stacia's hubby is away for training for six weeks and she has no one to talk to besides 3 kids under the age of 8 (who are all thankfully asleep at thee moment), 2 dogs, and some squirrels in the front yard...and of course dude with 11 bulabrador puppies.
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Jenni Williams said:
I'm not laughing Stacia. I think I should be spayed, but I can't get a vet who will do it. :(
. 8)
Dang vets. Always turning us down...

I think I'm on to something dammit. Forget expensive spays/anesthesia/cancer: just go have your bitch fitted with a doggie IUD during her first heat. Suckers last TEN years!!!!!!! And she's fertile the minute you remove it!

Course there is that issue where it sometimes gets expelled, and that thing where it has strinngs that stick out of the vagina: but on a female sheppy who the heck would notice some strings sticking out under all that fur?

I swear that female dogs everywhere would collectively let out a big sigh of relief :wink:
Jeff Oehlsen said:
So in all seriousness, I see only a small percentage of dogs being any different at all after a neuter/spay.

And now for something completely different.
My Abbie didn't change at all after her spay. If anything, she got MORE ornery. She was about 2 years old at the time of the spay. My parents always kept their males in tact, so I have no idea in all honesty. We had one male neutered: our sheltie. He was 6 1/2 at the time and it was only done b/c he had testicular cancer.

I couldn't get the link to work, Jeff :( .

Another question in this same vein: Achilles won't try to hump our legs will he? OMG I could just imagine trying to fend off my currently 65 lb dog. Or the neighbors :eek: . I'd never have visitors again...
I got the article Jeff was trying to post:

It was a misplaced vowel :wink:
Kristen Cabe said:
Jak does this too - does kind of a really quick jaw smacking thing as he's drooling all over himself. LOL! ! ! !

Growing up my parents had this ORNERY little 5 1/2 lb dachshund/rat terrierr mix named Gizmo. He was the runt of their dachshund's OOPS litter and was born with fused hip joints so mama was gonna let him die. My dad wasn't having that and hand fed this darn dog and carried him around in his pocket! Gizmo lived to be 18 years old (just passed this summer) and was never neutered b/c my dad wouldn't "take away his manhood." He used to do that jaw smacking thing every time his mom peed! OMG it was disgusting!!!!!!!!! He also humped everything that walked, and even things that didnt' (like stuffed animals). And he definitely had "little big dog" syndrome. He also tried to attack everything.

The dog bite thing: I was thinkign that over and I think I might know why most reported dog bites are from in tact males. The people least likely to speuter their animals are ALSO the people least likely to train and keep a watch over their animals. These dogs aren't biting thanks to being kept in tact; they're biting b/c they haven't been trained not to, or b/c they've been abused (or are used for illegal dog fighitng). So IMO it isn't an unneutered male dog problem, it's an owner problem! As for why it's mostly males and not females: don't most people want male dogs for the whole image thing? And don't most dog fight people use males? Females bite, too, and I know I've read that females can be MORE aggressive than males in certain situations (i.e. that two females in na house is WORSE than two males).

I'm interested in the drives thing. I've heard mixed reviews on whether or not neutering affects drives. It makes a huge amount of sense that it affects growth. Hormones generally work in sinc within the body; a change in one affects change in others. This is the same reason that epidruals and narcotics have negative effects when administered to birthing female humans: intereferes with natural horomonal processes present to facilitate the labor and birth process, and the postpartum period (yeah, like any of you wanted or needed to know that).
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