ARTICLES & ADVICE
FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY
Spay and Neuter
Anthropomorphism (attributing human
to animals) is the number one reason male dogs are not neutered.
Questions I hear regularly
in my classes that are all aspects of
hormone related behaviors, and also great examples of why males should
be neutered early:
Testosterone is the male sex hormone. It is
constantly being produced
by the testicles. This is a powerful hormone that creates many
secondary sex characteristics that at one time were vital to the
survival of wild dogs. These secondary sex characteristics are of
little use to the modern dog living as our house companions.
- Will neutering my dog change his
- What are the risks of neutering my dog?
- What happens if I don't neuter my dog?
- Will my dog still lift his leg?
- Are males ever too old to be neutered?
- My male is "marking territory" all over
my house, how can I deal
- My male is aggressive toward other dogs,
is this normal?
Unaltered or intact males are driven by hormones, driving him to look
beyond his boundaries for feminine companionship. While seeking out
females, the male will "mark" his presence by leaving urine and fecal
scent markings. These
marking behaviors make him the target of your angry neighbors, other
dogs, unknowing drivers, health risks and even poisoning. While on his
to find females, this male dog is constantly on the alert for other
that might deter his quest or challenge his authority. Fights between
males are inevitable, no matter how wonderful they may seem. Even if
male is the only dog in the house and is never, ever allowed to roam
wander, his hormones still affect his behavior. Some of the more
hormone venting behaviors are barking, chewing and mounting. While
to be alpha in your household pack, some males may even try to dominate
owners or their children.
Early neutering may delay leg lifting for urination, but it does not
necessarily prevent it. This leg lifting behavior seems to be innate in
male dogs. Early neutering will decrease the desire to wander, the need
to challenge and dominate, the overpowering urge to mark territory and
the frustration of not getting all the females on the open market.
Neutered males are able to concentrate more fully on their job in life
as an obedience competitor, agility competitor or full-time lap dog.
Neutered males work harder and concentrate more fully on the task at
Neutering has many health benefits too. Older male dogs, like their
human counterparts, are prone to benign prostatic enlargement, which
can lead to infection and problems with urination. Unaltered males have
more incidents of rectal deviation and subsequent perineal hernias and
perianal gland adenomas (tumors of the anus,) and testicular tumors are
also fairly common. Neutering can prevent these conditions.
Neutering surgery is simple with little risk. Both testicles are
removed through a small, single incision in front of the scrotum. In
the majority of neuter surgeries, the veterinarian does not have to go
into the abdomen like they would to spay a female. The dog can go home
the same day or the following day with little after effects from the
neutering. Neutering is most
effective if it is done before bad habits become permanent, although
neutering is better than no neutering at all. The benefits of neutering
greatest if it is done before the dog reaches puberty.
A bit more on anthropomorphism. Thinking that taking away a dog's
"manhood" is cruel is inaccurate. Your dog will love you more because
he won't be thinking about the "girl" down the street. Think of
neutering as a gift of freedom from uncontrollable urges and constant
Neutering is a good thing:
- Neutering changes the personality in a
- Dogs do not get fat and lazy from being
neutered. (Dogs get
fat and lazy from too much food and too little exercise.)
- Adult males can be neutered safely.
Better to neuter while they
are healthy than be forced into surgery as a senior dog.
- Territory marking comes on after
puberty and is extremely
difficult to correct. Neutering before puberty will solve this
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