Every once in a while, during class instruction we get a question that usually requires time, thought and even a thorough discussion about who/what/when/why the dog parent is asking.
However, when we are in the middle of teaching a group class, it’s a challenge to give a proper answer. So this series of posts will be the Classroom Response.
A Classroom Response should be efficient, to the point, thoughtful and open for discussion at a later time.
So when a student recently asked if a dog being left intact until adulthood was causing behavior problems, this was the Classroom Response:
“Generally, for family dog purposes, we find spay/neutering to be helpful with behavior when we are seeing intense responses. For example, the hormones do no invent behaviors out of no where, but they can intensify them and exacerbate the problem. Generally peaking around 18 months, hormones are great if I plan to show my dog for conformation, or have the best influence on growth plates should I have a performance dog (competitive level agility, etc).
If I have a family dog, with a solid obedience foundation and any intense behavior that I was struggling with, then I would strongly consider neutering much earlier than 2yo.
Those hormones will also increase the desire to roam and seek a female in heat. These adolescent males become escape-artists when hormonally charge and scent a female. Again, I want to decrease that roaming behavior.
Neutering is not a quick fix and if the unwanted behaviors are well-reinforced then they will continue whether neutered or not. In the end, neutering is part of the picture but it isn’t the whole picture.
Happy to answer any questions and hope that was helpful.
What were your considerations for spay/neutering your dog? Why or Why not?