This can be a hot topic and one which has people coming out strongly in favour of or against this medical procedure.
Neutering is the generic term to describe the de-sexing of a dog. For males it’s also called castration or for females it’s known as spaying. ✂️
What does this have to do with dog training? After all, we train what’s between the ears, not what’s between the legs!
Well, you may or may not be surprised to hear that the same urban myth continues to be shared by the ill informed and uneducated professionals and amateurs alike, online and offline, in parks, training classes and vet surgeries.
Let’s clear that one up right now.
Neutering is a surgical procedure to prevent reproduction. It’s NOT behaviour modification or training by surgery.
Here’s what this operation won’t do:
“Calm them down a bit”
Stop aggression towards other dogs
Stop aggression towards people
Stop pulling on leash
Reduce separation anxiety
Make them get along with other dogs in the home
All of these issues can be addressed by a professional training and behaviour modification programme.
Here’s what neutering will do:
Here’s what it MIGHT do:
Reduce mounting/humping behaviours
Reduce the potential risk of certain medical conditions developing in future. (If a dog has no testicles it can’t develop testicular cancer – who’s to say it would have anyway?)
Reduce roaming (what responsible owner allows this anyway??)
Anyone who tells you otherwise is being less than truthful, yes, even your vet!
Now, this might sound like I’m anti-neutering. Not true. I have both neutered and entire dogs. My reasons for neutering have NOTHING to do with behaviour.
One thing I DO feel is that any dog being neutered must have reached adult maturity and bone growth plates must have closed. The age for this is variable according to size and breed. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the dog, the longer it takes.
Sex hormones also have a part to play in bone and muscle growth and emotional and mental development. Dogs need the hormones to develop correctly. So, neutering can be appropriate for adults, but in my opinion, never for a puppy.
So, in summary, if you’re struggling with your dog, don’t try to modify behaviour with a scalpel, it doesn’t work.
Contact a trainer who specialises in the type of behaviour rehab you need and who can show you videos of their clients before and after so that you can see clearly what service you are buying.