Will neutering calm my dog?
Original Question: Our son and family have moved back from Alberta and they brought their 4-year-old male lab with them. It’s totally untrained and very, very excitable. I have just asked (emailed) a woman here in Ajax about a training session. The dog (named Jack after my late father) has not been "fixed." I often hear that a dog will settle down after having been “fixed." Is there actually any truth to that? PS. They are currently living with our daughter but will be moving in with us, our cat and our dog. Thanks for your time. - Stu
This is a good question.
Due to the effect of testosterone, it will often promote unneutered male dog behavior such as aggression, over-excitement, humping, etc. Neutering can often prevent these behaviors from happening. But there is one big problem with this. If the behavior is well ingrained in the dog over a few years, it is now a learned behavior. It may have been promoted by the hormone from the testicles, but since it’s been going on so long, the dog has now learned to be like this and the neutering is not guaranteed to reverse any of it.
It may have a small positive effect on this, but you can’t rely on it or expect that it will. It’s reasonable to neuter because of other reasons (such as testicular cancer that can develop later in life etc.), so I would say to go ahead and perform the neuter for the medical benefits, but there may be no improvement in behavior unfortunately.
I think you’ll probably have to attack this problem through training. It sounds to me that the dog is fairly dominant and it is likely, and I’m just guessing here, that he didn’t receive a lot of discipline when he was young. This is a typical problem and I hate to say this, but I do see it more often in dogs that are owned by young couples who may not have invested a lot of time doing the responsible training/disciplining of the dog, but were more interested in the more fun aspects of dog ownership (ie. playing in the park, cuddling, etc). That being said, talk to your veterinarian to see if neutering is right for your dog.
Best of luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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