Dog castration - whether or not to neuter my male dog

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by simonD, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. simonD

    simonD Registered Users

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    Other Threads You May Find Helpful The Forum RecommendsGeneral information on neutering and Information about castration



    I know topic been done to death but just interested in members views on castration. I have had labs most of my life and only with our last lab did I castrate. He simply was chasing bitches like I never have seen before. The vet, interestingly, wasn't convinced castrating would help but it worked instantly and to be honest his already good behaviour became really even easier for us living in fairly populated dog area - south coast UK.

    We now have a great successor to him, Archie, who is now 16 months. He has the gentlest temperament, great on recall etc. He is a family pet from working strain. Basically most days he is at family home or with the hundreds of other dogs in the local park - each one it appears with the prerequisite ball and unwilling to play with anyone else. Archie is recently definitely sniffing scents with great interest and air scenting. He isn't dashing off but sometimes is choosing not to immediately come on recall, preferring to sniff out grass or any nearby bitches first. Really isn't a great problem.

    However, it is clear there are two schools of thought on neutering. One of the elder respected local dog trainers suggests neutering when reaches full maturity and when I have mentioned reasons not to her response was, "I've heard it all before". I am not planning to neuter unless good reason to BUT I do feel as an intact dog there is ? greater chance of him been "beaten up" by less nice intact dogs plus other associated issues. I'm also after some assurance that this noticeable increased interest in sex is likely to subside with maturity. Because, if not, I do wonder if there is a place for neutering. I know leaving him is definitely, medically, in his best interest, like raw feeding probably is, but I do wonder if, unfortunately for him, it is sometimes in the owners best interest to neuter?
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I can only give you my experience - I've lived with 2 entire dogs growing up (a Collie and a Labrador) and I have an entire male now.

    Sniffing scents and ignoring recall is definitely not restricted to entire males! My bitch is completely capable of doing this! :D

    I think you do have to work a bit harder with an entire male in some respects. As he got older, Charlie piled on muscle on his shoulders and hind legs and he is a very strong dog indeed. He learned things like if he picks his moments he can lunge hard enough to pull me off balance and get to what he wants to get to - so we spent a LONG time walking down the middle of the road! :D My bitch just isn't strong enough to do this. And I definitely have to watch that he doesn't pee on things in pets at home, but we pretty much get round without problem these days. Apart from that, I haven't had any problems.

    I think his interest in girls definitely got more intense as he got older, and he can be a little bit annoying around my entire bitch - obviously a lot worse when she is in season. But generally, he is more responsive to me - even around bitches close to their season - than the average pet. So it all comes down to training. Obviously, since I have an entire bitch too, I have lots of training opportunities and can train coming away from a very interesting smelling girl from the comfort of my armchair! :D

    Living in a busy place is actually a benefit when it comes to this kind of training, because you will have plenty of opportunity to train around bitches, including bitches in season. We meet a bitch in season off lead on Wimbledon Common about once every 2 weeks. :rolleyes: I know, seriously. :rolleyes:
     
  3. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    Hi , this is , I think , a personal decision , but one you should make as an informed decision and definitely not one to rush into . I did have my dog castrated at around a year old , but in hindsight , I probably would have been better allowing him to mature even more . I don't regret my decision, because whats the point ? Even more important is that Sam has lymphoma which may or may not be genetic , and so the thought of an accidental mating makes me go cold . Just take your time , get all the information you can , and do what you feel is right .
     
  4. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    My experience is that an adolescent male is definitely more likely to be 'put in his place' by other male dogs - but not by other intact dogs particularly. I find it much more likely to be castrated dogs. Possibly because castrated dogs find the strong scent of testosterone more threatening in that they don't smell like that themselves, and meet fewer dogs that do - although since only 50% of dogs in the UK are neutered you wouldn't think this would be a good reason. At 16 months, your dog should be well over this period though.

    I have struggled a little with this, and took great care getting Charlie through adolescence. As got older, he became more confident and a bit more 'don't mess with me, mate' rather than acting like a puppy, and the problem went away. He can get stiff around other male dogs time to time (when the other dog is stiff too) but I don't have a big problem with this, it's just boys being boys and I ask him to turn away and he does - I had to train this, obviously.
     
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  5. leejane

    leejane Mum to the Mooster

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    Hi,
    Just to add my own personal experience.
    Monty was castrated at the very earliest opportunity - just over 6 months. He was about to undergo an anaesthetic to have his joints x ray'd and the vet suggested that we might as well have it done all in one go to save extra stress, another vet visit, and as it happens the cost (though this was never a factor) I did some research - it had to be pretty quick - but I read a fair bit - and I thought that we would probably end up having him castrated anyway so we said yes. I spoke to two separate vets and talked through the pros and cons before hand.

    Monty still absolutely loves other dogs, and has to be recalled quickly away from them as if we get too close he will still always run up which I try massively to avoid. He is occasionally submissive when he knows he's met his match, and sometimes gets humped by other dogs. (poor hips! we are quick to get him away if this happens) If he was any more re-active to other dogs I would have found this even more difficult to train, though of course who knows what he would have been like ... When we meet dogs now I only ever check for their friendliness , not whether they are female / male, intact or not... having to do so might add a level of stress that I would not personally not want to think about.

    One thing I have noticed is that he has kept a slightly pretty face - he is often being called 'she' although he's very tall.
    As he had a poor diagnosis with hip dysplasia that day this became our only concern, and apart from checking his stitches I never gave castration a second thought after that . I wouldn't hesitate to do the same again.
     
  6. MF

    MF Registered Users

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    I can only talk from my personal experience of one entire male dog. He did lose interest in the girls as he got older. He's now 5 years old. At around 2-3 years of age he was a challenge, wanting to sniff AND mount every girl dog, and he'd go crazy for bitches who'd just been spayed. He is SO much easier now. Still likes to sniff every dog's nether regions, but will come away when called (usually).

    However, I have no control if there's a bitch in heat and he must be on leash and I must hold in for dear life until the bitch in heat is about 100m away or out of eye sight. Then he will walk nicely on leash, but if I let him off, he'll hotfoot it in pursuit of the bitch. It's illegal in my area to take a bitch in heat out in public so walks are generally quite easy.

    I don't find he's picked on. He's very friendly and confident but has had the odd stiff encounters with other dogs, but always extricates himself without fuss.
     
  7. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    We have very few castrated dogs where I live - it tends to be that bitches are spayed, and dogs are left entire. That's what I did with my first two - litter mates. I thought it would be too hard to have Willow have a season, so I had her spayed beforehand. I wish I'd waited. She has issues which may not have anything to do with being spayed, but equally, may have. no point crying over it now, but, still, I wonder, "what if" on a near daily basis.

    My boy will never be castrated unless he developed over-sexualised problems. He is very anxious and, whilst the research is incomplete, I think there is some merit in worrying about dogs becoming more fearful after castration. That, and I just don't think it's necessary; I manage my dogs so they don't get the chance to have "accidents", even if the local population doesn't. I live in Spain in the summers and last year had my neighbour's bitch camped outside our gate, desperate to get to Shadow when she was in season! :eek: Still, I have gates, and I have leads and there was no way he was going to get to her.

    My boy tends to be reactive to other males, which exhibits as stiffness and awful body language in the first instance, and can escalate if allowed. He is a LOT better than he used to be, and much of this comes down to lack of socialisation opportunities where I live. He hasn't, to date, had a bad encounter with a neutered male, however. OK, we don't meet many, but when we were in the UK this last winter, we met more and had no issues.

    I am definitely of the opinion "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and to neuter a dog just because it's what's expected socially is wrong. When people talk about behaviour, I have to wonder - the vast majority of gun dogs are entire, and have to travel in confined quarters in the beaters' wagon. Are they simply bred to be more tolerant of other dogs? My experience would be a vehement "no". So I guess it's about the training and being given the experience to be in that sort of environment regularly enough it becomes the norm.

    I'm still undecided about having my bitch puppy spayed. I have become quite strongly opposed to the idea of doing it just for convenience, which I admit was a good portion of the reason I had Willow spayed, but I've never been through a season with a bitch, so it may be that it's just too inconvenient to manage, especially with an entire dog in the house - and him staying entire is, at this stage, completely non-negotiable.

    I'm not anti-neutering but I am anti the ridiculous social pressure to do so in certain organisations and countries, which seem to assume that you're completely irresponsible if you choose to leave your dog entire.
     
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  8. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute

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    We have only had female labs, but my Malamute and the Collie I had growing up were both intact, and I don't recall ever thinking it was a problem. That said, our county charges quite a bit less for licenses for a neutered dog, and a lot of doggy daycares will not take an intact dog after a certain age.

    We have spayed all three of our Females. The first was a rescue, and spaying was a required condition for taking the dog. Tilly and Cooper we did mostly for our convenience. We did not want to confine our pups 2x per year for several weeks each time, since it would mean they could not go with us on hikes or swims if there were other dogs around. That is a likely occurrence here in the states.
     
  9. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog

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    As I've been very vocal about on the forum before, I will not be neutering my next dog if I have a choice (i.e. if he's not a rescue who is already castrated when I get him). This is because my beloved Brogan had SO many health and behavioural problems linked to early neuter, including his final cause of death. It's a very personal decision for me, so respect to whatever decision you feel is best for your own situation.

    Two links I like to leave in these types of threads - good, clear info that I found interesting and helpful.

    http://www.silverhillrottweilers.com/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf
    http://gpmcf.org/articles.html
     
  10. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    I've had both a castrated males and uncastrated. Now I've done both I think letting the dog mature physically and mentally is the best option for me and my dogs. Ive found my uncastrated male as easy to live as my castrated.
     
  11. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    Being "beaten up" by less nice neutered males is also a distinct risk. In fact my intact boy got his worst beating from a neutered male. A friend found his dog was much better off at DDC after he was neutered due to so many neutered males picking on him.

    So many things can play into this. I am lucky to be in a rural area where we can walk off leash without meeting too many, or any if I choose, other dogs. If I had to board my dog or use DDC or hire a dog walker neutering my dog might be easier. Though I have had no trouble finding a boarding place that will take him, I hear others say they have. Licensing fees to my township are higher because he's intact and again, I've heard of some horrendous price increases.

    I have even read of training facilities refusing to deal with intact males, something I find to be ridiculous. It sounds like your trainer might be inexperienced in training intact dogs but all the ones I went to had conformation breeding dogs in their classes, the ones who wanted to be more than just a pretty face in conformation and wanted to put some performance titles on as well.

    If I did decide neuter was best, for my male, I definitely would wait till around two years old and along the way expect (because we did) run into this phenomenon, read at Puppy License to Misbehave:

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/dog-communication
     
  12. xxryu139xx

    xxryu139xx Registered Users

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    Interesting this post came up. I just scheduled Sparky to be neutered next week.
     
  13. MF

    MF Registered Users

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    When I hear about neutered dogs picking on unneutered dogs, I often wonder if the neutered dog is just a bully and then the excuse: oh, it's cos your dog is intact. Is that dog also picking on other neutered dogs?

    I wouldn't be castrating my dog because of other dogs' behavior. But I would be making sure the owners of those dogs keep their dogs under control and away from dog.
     
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  14. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog

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    Agree 100%! I'd always heard it as the opposite - that un-neutered dogs pick on neutered dogs. So I think that's just an excuse that people use in whichever way suits them. Some dogs are bullies, some dogs do attract bullying. Not sure how much the neutering does or doesn't come into play.
     
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  15. lucky_dog

    lucky_dog Registered Users

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    My almost 3 year old isn't neutered, and at the moment I don't intend to.

    When I got him at 7 months, he was too anxious to even consider it. He was completely terrified of being inside new buildings, to the point that he would be hovering an inch off the floor trembling with fear. Even by 12 months I wasn't confident that he could cope with an operation - he's medium sized, so this would be the age his joints should have fused, so no effects on growth from the neuter. I'm really glad that I didn't do it, because after reading more about it, I've realised that it might not be the best thing for all dogs/owners. Living in Germany also changed my attitude to this. When I asked my vet about arranging it, he asked me why I wanted to neuter him!

    Our trainer recommended waiting until he is 3, because this is the time they reach maturity and you have a better idea of adult behaviour. Adolescent boys can be a pain, and can be bullied a lot, so by this point you are through that, and other aspects of your training should be resolved.

    We meet lots of unneutered male dogs every day, and Lucky is fine with them. Some he knows and gets on with very well, others indicate they want a bit more space by using a stiff body posture, he understands what they are communicating and doesn't approach them. He did learn this the hard way, but now he knows to give these dogs space.

    With dogs in season, there are a lot here and also walked off lead. Sometimes I do have a problem with this. Last spring, he was stressed out for two weeks, and would lie by the door whining. I had to keep him on the lead on our walks if I noticed he was looking a bit crazy. Usually, this doesn't happen, and the only problem is if he gets to actually meet an in season dog, that I have to put him on the lead, convince him to walk away, and after about 20-30m I can let him off again. You might notice your male dog "frothing" at the mouth sometimes? I think this is when they are sniffing pee of in season females, so if I notice this I watch him more carefully off lead.

    The only other problem is that he goes through phases of humping other dogs - but I think this is excitement, and probably not related to being uncastrated.

    I found this article very useful (I think petmd isn't the original source:( http://www.petmd.com/dog/care/evr_determining_best_age_to_spay_or_neuter?page=2

    If you look at table 3 at the end, you can see the health risks divided by whether they are more common in neutered or unneutered dogs, and most importantly, whether these are a big risk to health or not. For example, uncastrated males are highly likely to get testicular cancer, but this rarely metastasizes, and so is of low health significance.

    Here in Germany many people I have spoken to try a suprelorin implant before castration. This have an implant that lasts for either 6 or 12 months. Then you have an idea of what the effect will be in your dogs behaviour, and can make a better decision.
     
  16. JenBainbridge

    JenBainbridge Registered Users

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    I've had Stanley castrated - it was about 3 weeks ago.

    It was for daycare purposes or I probably would never have done it. There's been no change in his behaviour at all though - so I could dispel the rumours of "it instantly calms them down". Stanley came out of the vets bounding around like tigger with a cone on, we didn't even have the dozy night.

    My main concern now is his weight. He's always stayed slim quite easily - so I'm hoping he doesn't start gaining weight now. I'm keeping a close eye on that waist.
     
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  17. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    I thought this too. Now whilst this is just anecdotal it is interesting. When Benson has has the suprelorin implant, male neutered dogs have ignored him, not one scuffle. When the implant wore off a couple of male neutered dogs become, well unfriendly again. Benson doesn't behave any differently now, nor does he have any inclination to meet with other dogs, unless they are already mates. With other entire dogs, it is more of a delicate bristling, then they are both on their way. He does have mates that are entire, and that's just play as usual.
     
  18. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    This is my experience too - any problem with dogs reacting to Charlie (as opposed to just being reactive dogs that react to any dog) has largely been with neutered males, not entire males.
     
  19. Saba's Boss

    Saba's Boss Registered Users

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    I've found this thread really interesting, so many thanks to all for contributing your points of view. Saba is now 19 months old, and entire. He's a good-natured, friendly dog, still playful, and of course, there's room for improvement both in his behaviours and my ability to manage him.
    I have no plans to have him neutered and no plans for breeding. Saba loves meeting other dogs for a sniff and a play. Off-lead, I can get him back quite easily, but on-lead, he still pulls like a damned train when he sees another dog. There have been a couple of 'handbags at dawn' encounters when meeting other on-lead dogs, but no real aggression, and we're working hard on his impulse control.
    Having carefully considered all the comments here and elsewhere, chats with the Vet, breeder, and our trainer, I'm inclined to leave him intact.
     
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  20. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    My vets neat retirement age and he says hes seen things go full circle. Hes glad we are starting to think a bit more about the individual animal more now and their needs
     
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