How do you feel about neutering?

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How do you feel about neutering?

This is a discussion on How do you feel about neutering? within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Most people seem to agree that pets should be neutered, but in the working community I've seen a lot more disagreement on the issue.. I've ...

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Old 07-27-2014, 11:57 AM
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How do you feel about neutering?

Most people seem to agree that pets should be neutered, but in the working community I've seen a lot more disagreement on the issue.. I've read quite a few places that it's recommended to wait until they're 2 years of age before neutering a working dog to give it time to fully grow, but also a lot of people seem to not want to neuter them at all. I've heard that dogs seem to lose some of the 'spark' or 'oomph' when they're neutered, so that they get a bit calmer when working.

So I was just wondering what people on this forum think about neutering working dogs and what your experiences are with it.. Do the dogs change when neutered? Is either considered 'better' than the other? Do they work differently somehow? And of course, do you or do you not neuter your working dogs and why?

I'm sure it varies greatly and some people probably neuter some of their dogs but not all.. If that is the case I'd love to know what some of the reasons were for neutering or keeping the dogs intact..
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:57 PM
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My personal view? Whatever your dog is, if you know where your dog is 100% of the time, e.g a well fenced yard, inside the house, whatever and you can control him / her during say a competition if there's another dog in season nearby, then I wouldn't worry about neutering. If not, well.... I have spayed all my bitches and I haven't seen any difference in their personalities or drive - working bred BC's all of them. Just my opinion.

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Old 07-27-2014, 01:01 PM
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I don't deal with working dogs, but I'll put in my 2 cents. I've heard that dogs don't fully mature in their physical form until 18 months to 2 years old. I would honestly prefer to wait the next time I get a male dog. I believe my male dog is somewhat underdeveloped because he was neutered at 2 months old. If you wait longer, it will let the skin tighten up so you don't get a dog with a sagging belly and such.

As for behavior, yes, neutering does modify it slightly due to the stop in production of testosterone. It makes dogs calmer, more docile, and more willing to listen. It all depends on the dog on what it changes though, since some people don't even notice a change in their dog. It's also been shown that dogs who have been neutered later in life (as in years down the road, not usually around 2 years old) have more of a chance of keeping their sex drive. The same applies to sires who have been neutered. I've seen this happen in several dogs when they've gotten neutered, yet they still try to mount a female - especially one who is not in heat. But, once again, it all depends on the dog. I'm not saying that it will happen, there's just a higher chance of it happening.

I don't know how differently working dogs act whenever they have been neutered, but I honestly believe that in the majority of dogs it wouldn't make a difference. I would imagine that it would create a dog who is more willing to listen to you and who has settled down enough to concentrate and perform a duty correctly. I also believe that if someone has only one working dog then, yes, they are allowed to share their opinion. I don't believe that people should have the right to spurt it off as fact if they only have one dog in which they received undesirable results. What are the people in the working community experiencing and what are they saying?
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:48 PM
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In a vacuum, for the health of that one individual dog, the studies I have looked at point to it is VERY SLIGHTLY healthier to leave a dog intact.

HOWEVER, I support neutering to help control the pet population. Some will say that they can assure their dog will never accidentally mate...but then how do you explain all the accidental matings that do occur. There is a reason we wear seatbelts even though most of us are good drivers.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:38 PM
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Whatever floats your boat.

I think the research is very clear that the best/healthiest time to neuter is sometime after 1-2 years. But sometimes stuff comes up and it needs to be done sooner. And of course, not everybody can handle an intact dog. Neutering at a younger age might not be good for the individual dog, but sometimes it has to be done for the greater good of population control and preventing breedings.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:46 PM
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I'd say that most of the top field dogs I knew or knew of were intact. Probably more intact males than females. I knew some awesome neutered field dogs too. Many people keep working dogs intact to keep the option open for breeding.

Same with dogs used for meat hunters. Some were intact and some were not. I don't think neutering makes a dog more compliant or trainable. It does keep accidental litters from happening. Not every working dog should be bred unless it has traits truly worth adding to the gene pool.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:49 PM
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Its all certainly circumstantial but what it comes down to is how responsible you find you are capable of being with the animal.
I disagree with spaying/neutering prior to full development unless its absolutely necessary, like in situations shelters have to face. But I do think there is way too much of a speuter fad, to the point where Ive been refused when offering to help foster/volunteer with shelters because of my unaltered female (despite all their animals being fixed).
In Norway I've been told by a few people that its illegal to spay/neuter an animal in their country unless for medical reasons, like an emergency spay if the bitch gets pyo. They think its cruel and unnecessary to remove completely healthy reproductive organs from your animal just because they are inconvenient for you.
I think once a dog has matured you won't really see a big difference. Bitches may go through more moody periods with their hormones.

The Viszla study is an interesting read since it also considers behavioral impact of altering a dog (particularly concerning fear).

So I say yes to spaying/neutering for the most part as long as the dog is already matured. Once they are it shouldn't effect their behavior much at all.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:35 PM
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I don't think there is a correct age to neuter a dog. For a male as soon as their testicles have descended they can be done. Having said that, I just wait until the male dogs start throwing their weight around. Some never do, and if you live in an area with few stray dogs, and no female distractions,you might not need to. Don't wait until male dogs start lifting their legs, my cane corsos always squatted,but I think they were too big to stand on three legs. Bitches are only a problem when they are season. Then you need a very well fenced garden, to stop her escaping to find a mate, and to stop suitors getting in. Also there is the mess to think about.
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:32 PM
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I don't think there is a correct age to neuter a dog. For a male as soon as their testicles have descended they can be done. Having said that, I just wait until the male dogs start throwing their weight around. Some never do, and if you live in an area with few stray dogs, and no female distractions,you might not need to. Don't wait until male dogs start lifting their legs, my cane corsos always squatted,but I think they were too big to stand on three legs. Bitches are only a problem when they are season. Then you need a very well fenced garden, to stop her escaping to find a mate, and to stop suitors getting in. Also there is the mess to think about.
An adolescent dog will start "throwing its weight around" regardless of whether or not you get them neutered. IMO and in my experience neutering a young doesn't magically make behavioral problems or training obstacles go away. The exception is when the problem is directly related to a desire to breed- if there's an intact female around you'll have an enormously greater distraction with an intact male than with a neutered male.

I used to be one of those people that subscribed to neutering everything except the very top of the line dogs. I never thought I'd wind up having one of those dogs that I'd deem "worthy" of keeping intact, and I was under the impression that intact males were much harder to manage. Then I found myself having one, and then two intact males. I've now had intact males in my life for well over a year and I really haven't had any problems that I wouldn't have had with a neutered male or spayed/intact female. They've been around plenty of intact females in their lives and don't turn into raving lunatics as some people would lead folks to believe.

One HUGE thing to consider for performance breeds is the desire to breed the best proven dogs. That is simply impossible if you neuter all the best guys before proving them in the performance venue in question. I don't really subscribe to the notion that you can't have highly successful performance dogs who are neutered. With proper training they should theoretically still do everything they were designed and bred to do when neutered (except breed, of course), though I suppose I don't have any evidence to back it up. So, I wouldn't see any problem with neutering my personal dogs for performance venues. But if someone has any interest in breeding, bettering performance stock, or anything of the sort it seems counterproductive to neuter the dogs before participating in such events. Sort of like the "don't eat your best cow" logic. It may produce pretty darn good meat, but if you don't breed the best then you'll be working with lesser quality representatives. Perhaps not bad dogs, but they haven't been proven in their sport.

Same with showing, though you mentioned performance. By default the dog needs to be intact to be shown. It would be a heck of a lot easier not to have to deal with intact males and females all in the same area at the same time, but the purpose of conformation showing is supposedly to evaluate breeding stock. Can't do that if they're fixed. I also think that show people should work towards putting performance titles in their breeding stock. Dual purpose dogs with proven structure and proven functionality are wonderful things, though in some breeds it's darn near impossible

I picked my boy out right around the time he was born (only one male in the litter and I wanted a male) wanting a pet/companion/performance dog with show quality being a great plus, but not a necessity. I figured I would definitely keep him intact long enough to at least try him out in the show ring before even thinking about neutering. If it didn't look like he'd turn out in show I wouldn't see any reason to keep him intact. For health and development reasons I'd wait until at least a year old.

Now, a year later, he's finished in the show ring, he's shaping up to be a good performance dog if I can get my act together (I'm still learning) and I have no intentions of neutering him. He's got what it takes to produce quality show pups, seems to have great performance potential, and would hopefully make great puppies for either venue. Even if he hadn't turned out in the show ring I still probably wouldn't neuter him. Not because I'd want to breed him necessarily, but because I don't see it as a necessity. We've gotten by more than easily so far. The only thing that would likely change my mind is if problems arise with health testing when he's old enough. I'm not expecting any, but I won't allow him to be bred with certain issues. For example, keeping a dog with a high grade luxation intact isn't worth the risk for me, even if the odds of them breeding are extremely low.

On the flip side, I don't think that the average person is responsible enough to handle having an intact dog. The general population around here has proven that to me. Do note that I would consider the average person on here to be much more capable than the average person on the streets... I'm not trying to single anyone out. As such, I do think that early spay/neuter is a good thing. For health and development reasons I'd like to wait until over a year, preferably closer to two. Many people can't handle a bitch in season, or a male as he starts feeling his hormones. By default to prevent those problems you'd need to have them fixed early in life. For what it does to reduce accidental litters I'm on board with the plan.
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:08 PM
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There is never a truer test of steadiness and recall than the first time your intact adolescent male walks by a bitch in heat.
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