To neuter and when to neuter..

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Sanna
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To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by Sanna » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:40 am

So Precious is growing up fast and the whole neuter/ not neuter/ when to neuter thing is something I find myself debating more and more now (both with others and myself..) I know it's been discussed on here a lot and I've read up on it quite a bit, do forgive me for going over the same old ground again ;)

I think it's likely that we will have him neutered at some point so that decision has pretty much been made, we are still considering the pro's and con's but are heading in that direction.

So the big issue really is getting the timing right (or as right as possible)- I was going to wait until he is at least 2 to let him fully mature and grow. I am fully aware that the stage he is now (16 months old) is pretty horrendous and I'm not at all looking for a quick fix or expecting neutering to necessarily change any behaviours, but I also worry that the more he gets to practice certain reactions and behaviours such as getting increasingly reactive to other males and relentless humping of dogs, humans and furniture alike (poor boy is pretty frustrated at the moment me thinks... :roll: ), the more likely they are to stay with him?
Also the fact that other dogs are not taking too kindly to him and it's been that way for some time, which I can many times only put down to him reeking of testosterone to high heavens..
He just seems so highly sexed (sorry I don't know how else to put it, what I mean is all these 'problems' seem to be based purely on testosterone/ male drive)- I wonder if it might actually help him to take that frustration away, and if it would also help him with the way other dogs react to him?

So on one hand I'm thinking the more he gets to experience it the more it becomes lasting behaviour, on the other hand of course he might very well grow out of it soon. And of course if that is the case the last thing I want to do is mess with it now and risk him being 'trapped' at this stage forever...

I discussed it with our dog trainer today (we do a mix of basic obedience, searching and agility; mainly we just go for fun); now to be honest he is a bit more old school- he would certainly not be entirely opposed to some more aversive techniques like a collar check, but is completely accepting of my choice not to use those types of methods at all- but he is also a real dog man and has worked with dogs for god knows how long.
Having talked to him about neutering in general before, I know he is very much of the opinion that it absolutely shouldn't be done too early and also isn't the necessity we are generally lead to believe. However discussing it to do with Precious specifically, who he has come to know for some time now so has a good idea of what he is like, he said to me today he thinks I really ought to do it quite soon and that in his case it would probably be a good means to helping him settle in himself and curb some of his *ahem* enthusiasm..
So this guy does know his stuff, and we both only have P's best interest at heart but I am finding it sooo difficult to make this decision!

Is there ever a right time?? When it's done it's done, can't change it then.. I really just want what's best for my dog, and if I can help him by neutering sooner than planned then of course I will but how do I know what's best?

Also, I have a question for those of you who have had your boys 'done', how was the aftermath of the actual surgery? How did they recover, what about exercise, how quickly did they bounce back? Suggestions for making the recovery as easy and pain free as possible for when (if ever :lol: ) I do make the decision?

Oh and completely nothing to do with this- switching to raw next month :D found a good local supplier, super supportive so am finally able to take the plunge! Feels good :D

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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by JudyN » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:05 pm

I haven't got time for a long answer now (and I'm not an expert on the subject anyway), but you say you don't want him to practise these behaviours, which makes sense. Humping furniture I suspect would either die off naturally or continue regardless (Jasper still humps his bed and I don't think I noticed a difference when he was neutered). Humping and reacting to other dogs is more of a problem. To what extent could you stop him practising these behaviours through management, e.g. avoiding other dogs, walking at silly times, and so on? If you can do this for a few months, the behaviour might level off anyway, and it will tide you over till he's fully mature.

I'm sure his testosterone levels are the reason other dogs often react to him. I see that as the other dog's owner's problem, not yours. But not all owners of dogs who don't like a whiff of testosterone will see it the same way :?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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minkee
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by minkee » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:17 pm

I'm watching this carefully too, Sanna :)

Other dogs can certainly react badly to Breeze, but it's already had a bad knock on effect that Breeze is hyper alert and wary of other dogs, and I can't tell which he is going to shout at. Lately it's been 'most of them'. So this doesn't add anything helpful to the discussion but just dispute's Judy's 'It's the other owners problem.'

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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by JudyN » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:33 pm

minkee wrote:So this doesn't add anything helpful to the discussion but just dispute's Judy's 'It's the other owners problem.'
In the sense that if your entire dog is happily minding his own business and my dog decides he wants to rip his head off, it's my responsibility to control my dog and make sure he doesn't upset yours and make yours more fearful/reactive. But that doesn't help you of other owners don't take that responsibility so yes, it is still a problem for you even if it shouldn't be.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

jacksdad
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by jacksdad » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:39 pm

Sanna wrote:He just seems so highly sexed (sorry I don't know how else to put it, what I mean is all these 'problems' seem to be based purely on testosterone/ male drive)- I wonder if it might actually help him to take that frustration away, and if it would also help him with the way other dogs react to him?
So, my 2 cents based on things Emma, Nettle, GWD, and Ari_RR have shared. I think you are seeing a problem of "frustration" bit too much from a human perspective verse what is natural normal for the dog.

Emma has mentioned a few times that around this age there is a surge of testosterone, and then it settles down to "normal" levels. Things Ari_RR has shared would confirm this.
Sanna wrote:So on one hand I'm thinking the more he gets to experience it the more it becomes lasting behaviour, on the other hand of course he might very well grow out of it soon. And of course if that is the case the last thing I want to do is mess with it now and risk him being 'trapped' at this stage forever...
My gut feeling.... disrupt and redirect to legal behavior if your concerned about him practicing unwanted behavior and it becoming habit for rest of life. For more specific advise, I would post specific questions.
Sanna wrote: he thinks I really ought to do it quite soon and that in his case it would probably be a good means to helping him settle in himself and curb some of his *ahem* enthusiasm
I am not there, can't see what is going on.... but the more I learn, the more I am personally uncomfortable with using spay/neuter to address a "problem" that is in reality a natural development phase. Or even a behavior issue that isn't directly related to unnatural hormone levels that can't be fixed with medical treatment.

To me, spay and neuter should be the vast majority of the time about population control. from what I am learning, health side affect wise, there is no ideal time. Rather you choose a time that is the least "harmful" odds wise. which seems at the moment to be after they reach adulthood.

Oh, last thought for now. if you are feeding kibble now, don't underestimate the effect of an ingredient or even missing ingredient in the kibble affecting energy and behavior.

just my two cents for all it may or may not be worth after adjusting for inflation.

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Nettle
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by Nettle » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:43 am

Definitely "behaviour modification before surgery". Otherwise it's a bit like cutting a dog's legs off to stop it running away.

Adolescence is a horrible time and more so with some dogs than others. Hang on in there - it does improve but for now it's all about management and being pro-active. When he is through this, then is the time to re-visit neutering and make your decision.
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by bendog » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:05 am

It's an interesting dilemma - with large breeds especially - and something similar came up in puppy classes last week. The owner of the black russian terrier - who at only 5 and a half months is already ginormous - is worrying about his adolescence. Their vet generally recommends waiting before neutering but both owner & vet are concerned he will be too big for her too handle if he decided to be a horrible teenager so they are also considering having him done early.

It's easy for us to say - wait - it will pass - but if you have a big, powerful dog - and don't have access to quiet nature parks at 5am like ArisDad, and may not be able to physically restrain the dog if he got into trouble - then I don't think we should totally overlook that.

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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by Sanna » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:25 am

JudyN wrote:I haven't got time for a long answer now (and I'm not an expert on the subject anyway), but you say you don't want him to practise these behaviours, which makes sense. Humping furniture I suspect would either die off naturally or continue regardless (Jasper still humps his bed and I don't think I noticed a difference when he was neutered). Humping and reacting to other dogs is more of a problem. To what extent could you stop him practising these behaviours through management, e.g. avoiding other dogs, walking at silly times, and so on? If you can do this for a few months, the behaviour might level off anyway, and it will tide you over till he's fully mature.

I'm sure his testosterone levels are the reason other dogs often react to him. I see that as the other dog's owner's problem, not yours. But not all owners of dogs who don't like a whiff of testosterone will see it the same way :?
I am trying to manage him as best I can, and avoid whenever possible; I try and walk at times and places where there aren't many dogs about but of course they have a tendency to pop up out of nowhere.. Humping people and furniture is no big deal, I just thought it should be mentioned- people can walk away and he can be redirected.

His reactivity to other dogs is getting worse, he is fine with most dogs we may come across, but when he does kick off now it is far worse and I am barely able to hold on to him let alone get any sort of focus. Again, it's only happened twice in the last month or so because I am trying so hard to avoid, but seems to be escalating. This ties in a bit with what Amy said- he is a big and very strong boy and I now outweigh him by only 5kgs..
minkee wrote:I'm watching this carefully too, Sanna :)

Other dogs can certainly react badly to Breeze, but it's already had a bad knock on effect that Breeze is hyper alert and wary of other dogs, and I can't tell which he is going to shout at. Lately it's been 'most of them'. So this doesn't add anything helpful to the discussion but just dispute's Judy's 'It's the other owners problem.'
This is exactly it and I worry it's making things worse, he seems to be getting a lot more suspicious of of other dogs as I guess they seem unpredictable to him, and if this in turn will have a knock on effect.
I agree it's the owners responsibility to control their dog, but not all owners are as switched on as you guys and because it is unpredictable the general response seems to be 'he's never done that before' or 'he's normally great with other dogs'..

Jacksdad- thanks. As usual you make some very good points and this is also why I was planning to wait. But I don't want to discount the opinion of our trainer without at least trying to understand this even better, I believe even Sarah Whitehead write something to the effect of that with certain dogs and behaviours earlier neutering might actually be helpful- depending on where the behaviour/ reactivity is coming from?
So although I was and still am prepared to wait it out, I didn't want to just dismiss this advice immediately. I really just want to figure out what's best for my boy..
Nettle wrote:Definitely "behaviour modification before surgery". Otherwise it's a bit like cutting a dog's legs off to stop it running away.

Adolescence is a horrible time and more so with some dogs than others. Hang on in there - it does improve but for now it's all about management and being pro-active. When he is through this, then is the time to re-visit neutering and make your decision.
I hear you. I am sticking this on the fridge :lol:
bendog wrote:It's an interesting dilemma - with large breeds especially - and something similar came up in puppy classes last week. The owner of the black russian terrier - who at only 5 and a half months is already ginormous - is worrying about his adolescence. Their vet generally recommends waiting before neutering but both owner & vet are concerned he will be too big for her too handle if he decided to be a horrible teenager so they are also considering having him done early.

It's easy for us to say - wait - it will pass - but if you have a big, powerful dog - and don't have access to quiet nature parks at 5am like ArisDad, and may not be able to physically restrain the dog if he got into trouble - then I don't think we should totally overlook that.
Thanks Amy for putting that out there- that's it isn't it, and I think also one of the reasons why my trainer suggested it might be better not to wait any longer. So far so good and fingers crossed, but if he ever did get away or was attacked I don't think I'd stand a chance..
We had a near miss just the other day with 2 Akitas, P can't stand them anyway (Akitas in general, apart from his girlfriend next door) and the fact that it's a pair makes it ten times worse. I've managed to avoid them til now but this time they were walking along the far side of the park, I wasn't too worried as they were a fair distance away so I just went to walk away with P in the opposite direction to get outta there but when he spotted them he went NUTS like I've never seen, I swear he wanted to rip their heads off and it really quite threw me as I was barely able to hold him back.

Complete avoidance just isn't possible though I am doing the best I can, I suppose it's a question of whether the occasional bad incident would form a habit cos he enjoys having a go, or whether it will stop naturally because it rarely gets to happen; and if he will get more and more suspicious of other dogs due to them potentially reacting badly to him (which seems to be where we are heading at the moment) or if this will fix itself as he matures and doesn't get that reaction so much.. This is a tough one for me :?

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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by WufWuf » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:35 am

I've never owned a male dog neutered or otherwise, I do how ever have a bit of experience with young males being neutered from the rescue (for those who don't know I worked in a rescue for a few years where the most of the dogs are kept in a large group)

99% of the dogs coming in are not altered, a good number are young ( 12-24 months ). The large young males who come in unneutered often (usually :roll: ) cause havok, it may be a few weeks before a surgery spot is open (usually only a week or two but can be longer on occasion). They go off and get neutered and everything is quite again - for a while. I've nothing to back this up apart from observation but it seems to me that the surgery is a traumatic event for them and this means that while they recover from the physical and mental trauma they seem quieter. To me it makes perfect sense that they would not be throwing their weight around while they are weak.

Once they recover and feel better (could be weeks, could be months and I think that humans are often very short sighted when looking at cause and effect) they start throwing off that obnoxious young male body language again and other dogs once again take exception. Some dogs throw their weight around due to insecurity but it's the mature confident ones who can have a sensible "conversation" without it escalating into anything that most people would see as aggression. I do believe that neutering a male dog before maturity may cause them to be insecure and they can have a tendency to over react due to this lack of confidence.

I would seriously question the advice that neutering would make a strong dog any easier to handle, unless they also chop off a few extra stones - of muscle :wink: :lol: .

In Precious' case I would guess that there's a few factors at play in his reactivity. I'd be reluctant to get into "could be's" having never met him but if you want to upload some video footage of him I can take a look if you'd like. I'd be great if I could see him at home interacting with you or the enviornment and one of him on a walk (NOT meeting other dogs just out and about in the world). I might not see anything you don't already know, I'm no expert I just have a strong interest in dog body language and dog - dog interactions which was one of the reasons I worked at the rescue.
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by ClareMarsh » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:56 am

I can't say it didn't cross my mind that I might end up neutering Ted when we went through the phase of other dogs taking exception to him. I practiced avoidance for quite some time and then one day it just wasn't a problem any more. Obviously it was easier as Ted is waaaaaaay smaller :lol: and he never reacted back. But it wasn't without work on my part and I was always worried that he would get hurt if I made a mistake.

The humping, I can't tell if you are stopping him but as long as it doesn't upset anyone in the house I'd have something he's allowed to hump (maybe not a person :lol: ). Ted went through a mad humping phase where he would be humping away pretty much every night as we were watching TV :roll: :lol: He still occasionally humps the same toy now but it's few and far between. I figured if he felt the need to then he may as well get whatever frustration he was suffering from out :wink:

I will also say on the maturity front that although people say toy breeds mature earlier at say 9/12 months old there is NO way Ted was mature by that age. Yes he was as tall and long as he was going to get and he was marking and humping stuff but I was still seeing his behaviour mature and his physique develop :lol: right up until around 2 years of age. I do believe that if I had neutered him then he would have been less sensible than he is now. Of course this is all easy for me to say as Ted is so small but I guess you want all the perspectives you can get as it's such a difficult decision.
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by minkee » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:36 am

On the humping front: it's hard to find a toy physically big enough for Breeze to want to tangle with :lol: A human in a blanket or a furry onesie is much more appealing. I did buy him a giant dog toy at one point, but it has now been so severely destuffed that it's only good for a floor rug, not for any humpy-business.

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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by Swanny1790 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:45 am

If adolescence wasn't such an important time in the raising of good sled dogs I'd be tempted to farm mine out for a few months (sigh).

I have a lot of altered dogs in my kennel. Population control is hugely important to me (and to most dog mushers), and the surest way to prevent accidental breedings is to spay and neuter. I would be VERY hesitant to recommend neutering before your dog is fully developed, though. You've apparently researched the health and veterinary issues than can arise from early castration in males, so I won't bore you by repeating them.

Jacksdad, as always, raises some good points. One I'd like to stress is ingredients in his feed. Check the label and be especially wary of corn (maize) in any quantity. There is a school of thought that corn and corn products disrupt the process that produces serotonin and can contribute to unwanted behaviors. As an anecdotal observation, I have a sled dog who suffers from OCD and if she is fed kibble with even a minute amount of corn or corn products. Her brain goes "woogeldy" in surprisingly short order (within 48 hours) and she resumes those obsessive behaviors we've worked so hard to eradicate. So long as she is fed corn-free her behavior is no different than any other dog in the kennel.

To help mellow his current behaviors and buy time until he reaches maturity, you might want to research and consider supplementing his diet with either melatonin or 5HTP, both are precursor to serotonin.

The castration surgery for males is very simple and straightforward so long as there is no retained testicle and recovery time is relatively short. Precious will need to wear the cone of shame (E-collar) or a very stiff cervical collar and you'll need to watch him closely to prevent him from licking and perhaps removing the sutures. You'll want to restrict his exercise until the sutures are ready for removal, in 7 to 10 days. Restricting doesn't mean no exercise at all - walks on lead are fine in most cases, but you don't want him running crazy, jumping, &c. Your vet will provide you some guidance in that regard.
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by jacksdad » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:53 am

Sanna wrote: I really just want to figure out what's best for my boy
of course. that was never in doubt. ultimately it is your choice what to do.

I will leave you with this.... you can always "snip" tomorrow, but once done it's done. so do NOT let your self get pressured by anyone, including your self to make a rushed decision. there is ALWAYS tomorrow.

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Nettle
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by Nettle » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:42 pm

Specifically re. the hypersexuality - yes of course he is. This is how adolescents are. The levels go far too high and drop to far too low until they settle at the right level. This hypersexuality isn't for ever, and it does have to happen. It's actually over quite quickly in the majority of male dogs.

Re. general control - such a big powerful dog needs to be kept below threshold as much as possible and we know this is difficult. Again, it isn't for ever. Take a look at harnesses with a front lead attachment, and use a double-ended lead or two leads - one off the collar, one off the harness - to help you hold your dog. Castration will not stop him lunging at other dogs, and it will make certain other dogs more bullying towards him. As Jacksdad says, you can neuter any time.
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Re: To neuter and when to neuter..

Post by Sanna » Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:19 pm

Thanks so much you guys for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences- I've only got time for a quick reply just now but it's all immensely helpful to me :)

WufWuf I will try and get some footage if I can, would be really interesting to hear what you guys make of him in general ;) And your observations from the rescue make complete sense.

Clare he gets to hump the sofa to his hearts content I couldn't care less, I have the same issue as minkee really :lol: he would prefer to hump me (funnily enough he's never tried to hump OH) but I would prefer not to be humped so we are currently in negotiations on that one :lol:

Swanny thanks for that. Re food these are the ingredients of the one he's on now:

Composition* Boneless Chicken*, Dried Chicken*, Brown Rice, Oats, Barley, (High Omega 3) Trout, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavours, Pea Starch, Lucerne, Seaweed, Hip & Joint Care Pack + (Glucosamine 450mg/kg, MSM 450mg/kg, Chondroitin 240mg/kg) *Total 45% Chicken*Ingredients
Analytical Constituents Crude Protein 25%, Fat Content 14%, Inorganic Matter 8%, Crude Fibres 3.7%, Moisture 8%, Omega-6 (2.5%), Omega-3 (1%)
Nutritional Additives (Per kg) Vitamin A 16,650 IU, Vitamin D3 1,480 IU, Vitamin E 460 IU
Trace Elements as Compounds Ferrous sulphate monohydrate 617mg, zinc sulphate monohydrate 514mg, manganous sulphate monohydrate 101mg, cupric sulphate pentahydrate 37mg, calcium iodate anhydrous 4.55mg, sodium selenite 0.51mg

He was on Orijen (also grain free) but I wanted to see if a lower protein content would make any difference (not really), and like I said he'll be changing to raw shortly :D

I will look into melatonin, that's interesting, thank you :)

Nettle and jacksdad I appreciate your input and experience so much, and again you've reminded me to trust my gut, stick to my guns and ask questions! It's so confusing when people who should know better than you maybe don't..

I have a front clip harness for him but haven't tried clipping the lead to his collar as well- will try it out, thanks for the suggestion ;) at the moment I use a gentle leader for street walks, not ideal I know but with the harness he still has so much power it's ridiculous, so I feel the head collar gives me a bit more control and we use his harness for 'proper' walks in quieter places where he can have a bit more freedom (and is less likely to try and mug some innocent passer-by's shopping bag..)

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