Neutering questions- sorry it's a novel

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Kelsey&Axel, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Kelsey&Axel

    Kelsey&Axel Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Axel turned 1 on December 20th and only recently have I noticed his head is looking like an adult and filling out a bit. He has started to fill out a bit in his body as well but still looks like he doesn't have much for shoulders as excess skin still flops around as he runs.

    Over the last 3 ish weeks I have noticed that Axel has now become boisterous. He used to be a calm chill dog with some minor issues such as stealing things but now he is much worse! I just keep saying he has hit adolescent years and I keep trying to keep things out of reach so he can't steal in the first place. But that is really hard to do when my OH just doesn't follow through. He basically hates Axel now that he is boisterous and is always mad at him. It quite frankly upsets me. He never grew up with dogs, where as I have, so I'm more patient maybe?

    Axel has been wonderful at day care until this past week. One day he was the star he has always been then the next day I'm told that he his food aggressive now and won't let dogs near the water bowl if he is drinking out of it and he has started humping again. I was told that if he gets worse then he is now then he can't continue to go. They told me to neuter him because that is why he is acting the way he is. Well, I left in tears. To be told literally the day before that he is wonderful, and the only young dog to be allowed in with the puppies because he's so kind and gentle, to the next day, being told he's aggressive and crazy... I have been so upset for a week now just trying to get over it. But I'm still just as upset.

    So I took Axel to a store today to see how he behaved around people and new things.. he did great! So much better since the last time I took him there. He was so sweet to everyone, no barking, no pulling, didn't get excited when kids ran past him. Just very well behaved. IMG_0978.JPG

    So then we headed to the vet to discuss neutering. He was very curious and sniffing and whining in the exam room, which isn't like Axel. Well least not until he changed over the last few weeks.

    The vet said that Axel is done growing, he won't grow anymore, his head is the size it will be for ever now. Said that neutering will calm him down a bit but he is a teenager so he will still be hyper. He said it will stop humping and territorial issues that we are having at day care.

    Just everything I read says that he won't truly be done growing until 18 months, so if I neuter him now, will he not continue to grow? Will he not get a bigger head? Or is his head done growing? Will he not get good muscle mass if neutered now?

    I sadly do have to rely on daycare for another year so if they won't allow him because of behaviours and not being fixed I feel like neutering Axel is just what I have to do.

    Axel is still so tall and lanky, but maybe he just won't look like his parents who were stocky. I just thought he would fill out over the next year or two but after visiting the vet today I feel like that won't happen.

    i guess my last question is for those who have neutered your lab, did they bulk up at all after?
     
  2. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    AT 9 years old Oban is still intact and was finished growing at one year old. Though he is bench bred you can see in my avatar he is not one of the heavy set show Labs you might see today. Thing is though, they are all different and probably the best place to ask this about Axel is his breeder. How old were siblings, if any, when they finished bulking up? Sire? Some people say their dog put on width in head, shoulders, neck and chest till nearly three years old.

    And, by the way, neutering MAY stop humping. There is no guarantee, especially if he has already started and is not being taught not to. Ask your Vet if he/she will guarantee that, what the compensation to you will be if he doesn't stop.
     
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  3. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Having him castrated will not stop boisterous behaviour. It will not stop him guarding food. It will not stop him barging water bowls, nor pulling on the lead (and neither will that head collar you have on him - I mean, once you quit using it), nor nicking stuff. Only training will do that, and possibly avoiding the chaos of the average daycare (but maybe you have a great one, of course).

    It might, but it might not, stop him humping stuff.

    All of that said, if you feel you have to have him castrated, then at least he is a year old and it's not ridiculously early.

    I'd say Charlie finished putting on muscle at about 2.5 years old. I think you can clearly see the difference in him compared to neutered male dogs. He has much more muscle and is altogether more masculine looking. But, that's not a big deal, it's not like there aren't loads of smashing looking neutered males around.
     
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  4. Rosie

    Rosie Registered Users

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    Gosh, it's really hard. I feel for you.

    We went through the same with Pongo - perhaps not so extreme as you are having with Axel, but the same. We got through it, and Pongo's breeder helped us by sending us a letter saying that he represented some old and valuable bloodlines and that she might want to breed from him in a few years; that was enough for the day care place to agree to keep him, even though their rules say that no entire dogs over 12 months are allowed. Pongo is now (at age three) a laid-back, gentle boy with very few issues. And I am quite sure that neutering him would not have changed his behaviour anyway.

    BUT - if your day care place insists, then your choices are limited. It is better to have him neutered and cared for well during the day, than leaving him entire but shut up in the house alone (if that would be the alternative...but see below). Lots of dogs are neutered and perfectly happy - and a decade or so ago, it would have been considered absolutely normal practice, so it is not the end of the world. He is twelve months old, and close to full grown, so you have done well by him giving him all that growing time.

    ON THE OTHER HAND - we did this year take Pongo away from day care, because there was one occasion when they said he'd behaved badly (and yes, I was just as upset as you were, I was angry and defensive and hurt), and also because the day care centre is now so busy that I don't think it is a healthy place for him any more. Instead, he goes to our local kennels as a day boarder. I thought he would hate it - shut in all day apart from two hours of walks and exercise. Guess what? He loves it. He absolutely loves it, even better than day care. I guess he still gets to see lots of dogs (even if not play with them), and he gets one-to-one play and attention twice a day for an hour. And it isn't at all stressful, as I think day care was for him. So I would suggest checking out local kennels and seeing if they do day care, if so they are very likely to be happy to have un-neutered dogs and your problem is solved.

    One way or another, Axel is a very beautiful boy and lucky to have you!
     
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  5. Kelsey&Axel

    Kelsey&Axel Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Thank you for your kind words, I was holding back the tears as I read it; It is a bit refreshing knowing I'm not the first going through this and won't be the last, but thankfully we have this forum to go to when we need some help. Not to mention I have kept this bottled up inside me for a week.

    I definitely couldn't help but get defensive and upset while the lady at daycare told me everything. It almost makes me not want to go back, even though both my dogs absolutely love it there.

    I also couldn't help but think, he is a puppy who has hit his teenage years and yet you run a daycare and act as if this is the most horrid thing you have seen. But once again, I'm upset and defensive. Sigh.

    I will have to look up a day kennel as you suggested, not sure if we have those around where I live but it's definitely worth checking.

    Also where I am in Canada, they recommend neutering before 6 months old. That is what I have always known until coming on this forum and being educated. I even asked the vet today (who actually owns a chocolate lab) when he neutered his dog, he said 4 months! So I phoned around to several other vets today and they all but one said before 6 months. The other one said 8-10 months old. It is just so different over here for what ever reason. o_O
     
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  6. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I kind of sound like a broken record with questions such as this, but whatever you decide to do, please do independently look into the medical pros and cons of neutering. US vets (and I'm assuming Canada is similar) will nearly uniformly tell you that neutering is ALWAYS a good thing. However, this has more to do with culture than it does with science. A very good study, in fact, on Rottweilers has shown that neutering shortens male dogs' life expectancy by 2 years vs. unspayed females. Early neutering (this does not apply to Axel as he is over a year) is also associated with joint/bone problems and a host of other issues. The Rottie study is probably the best put together, but there is plenty of other info out there as well to suggest that blanket neutering may not be the way to go in all circumstances. Here is a good summary with full citations.

    I'm pretty militant that my next dog will not be neutered, but that's based on (1) having lived through a myriad of health and behavioural issues with Brogan which could all be linked to early neuter and (2) never having had an un-neutered dog. So yeah...easy for me to say, "I'll never neuter another dog" because I've not lived through the sort of pressures you are getting now. And I won't be getting those pressures, because I now live in Germany where the culture is the exact opposite - my vet would be positively horrified if I asked her to neuter a puppy. So whatever you decide is right for you will be right for you, I just wanted to share some info that I wish I would have had way back when.

    Axel is a beautiful guy, by the way - cute picture of him shopping for his next DIY project. :)
     
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  7. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I do feel that daycare with lots of other dogs, does nothing for dog behaviour if they are allowed to play all day and have no real bounderies! So perhaps you could get a dog walker to come and walk Axel or look into @Emily_BabbelHund .

    I have had one dog castrated at 11 months and one at 19 months, perhaps the one done at 19 months has slightly more muscle on his thighs. Having them castrated cured the marking everywhere and stopped the prepucial catarrh (discharge from penis), but did not calm them down at all and wasn't my intention on castration. I did not intend to castrate the second dog, but could not cope with the yellow discharge up the walls et :p
     
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  8. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I'd take him in an instant! :D
     
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  9. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I should have finished the sentence! Should have said @Emily_BabbelHund's suggestion:D
     
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  10. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    It's very mixed in the UK. Some vets think all dogs should be neutered, other vets don't care much. Early neutering (before 6 to 8 months) is unusual though. I saw a statistic somewhere - it could have been the Blue Cross report on UK domestic animal health - that put the rate of neutering dogs in the UK at 50%.

    I have never taken either of my dogs to daycare. Charlie went to a puppy creche but it was a million miles away from what I think of as 'daycare'. I visited just about everyday care around me in London, and decided I'd change jobs before I left a dog in any of them.

    I rely on dog walkers - it's quite an expensive option, more expensive than daycare. Not least because I pay for Charlie to have individual walks, because I don't want him free running with a lot of other dogs. It would ruin his training (I don't think this would be the case for all dogs, but for Charlie it would be terrible).
     
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  11. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Ah darn, I was ready to add him to my "Auntie Emily doggie daycare" list. :happy:
     
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  12. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    It was one of the first things the vet asked me when I took Luna for her jabs. I wasn't interested in getting into the discussion, so used the breeder contract as an excuse :D
     
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  13. Beanwood

    Beanwood Moderator

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    We have gone down the dog walker route. It is very expensive, but we have 3 dogs. I personally think dogs prefer their own homes, a good walk, and are happy to snooze most of the day away :). Day care is full of noise, bustle and barking excited dogs, this can be a really stressful environment for them.
     
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  14. Kelsey&Axel

    Kelsey&Axel Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I have been wondering what this yellow discharge was. I'm constantly cleaning my floors because of it o_O thank you for your input regarding the muscle tone difference:)
     
  15. Kelsey&Axel

    Kelsey&Axel Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I'm going to think on this and decide in time.

    I am going to avoid daycare now when it comes to Axel. As a few of you have mentioned, he could be picking up bad behaviours there. He's completely fine at home and doesn't guard his food or bones or anything. In fact, Odie stands right by his face and picks up all the little pieces that fall and Axel doesn't bat an eye.

    Now to start to decrate Axel during the day. Gulp. I'm scared :eek:
     
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  16. Boogie

    Boogie Moderator

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    ...Tatze went to daycare two days a week before I retired. There were five other dogs there, two of them pugs, who she adored. She still loves pugs and says a special hello when we meet them.

    The person who ran the daycare did so in his own home. The dogs went for two good walks - the rest of the time he worked in his office upstairs and the dogs slept all over the beds!

    We decrate our Guide Dog pups at 6 months old and use anti-chew stuff all over the furniture legs, skirting boards etc. So far it has worked fine :)


    ...
     
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  17. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Just out of interest, at what age are guide dogs neutered?

    I had so much conflict ion advice about Homer when he was young about neutering. If fact bullied by his agility trainer.

    Homer has gone to his day care since he was 4 months old so they know him well. When he was coming up to a year old she did make noises about him being done, and I said I'd wait till he was one year old. Then I waited a bit more, he calmed down, they calmed down, or realised that the regular income outweighed any behaviour issues.

    I'd not rush into it and get him whipped off on the first day any things been said by his day care. Have a conversation with them and say you are confused because one day he's the best behaved and there are no problems and then all of a sudden he's guarded his food.

    As a primary school teacher for young children we can't suddenly slap on a full suspension for a child for bad behaviour without giving prior warnings to the child and the parents.
     
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  18. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    We so often hear this thing about dogs guarding food at daycare - what on earth are they doing with the food such that they even find out dogs guard it? Throwing in into a pack of free running dogs? For goodness sakes....yeah, loads of dogs all together plus food - perhaps make sure dogs have their space when food is around. Mmmmm?
     
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  19. Boogie

    Boogie Moderator

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    Guide Dog bitches are neutered 3 months after their first season, dogs at 12 months old :)


    ...
     
  20. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Good to know! What do you actually use? Is it something like spraying with Bitter Apple or something you actually physically wrap around the furniture?
     

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