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Old 03-03-2012, 09:58 AM   #61 (permalink)
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That I like that's something we all need to remind ourselves whenever a new study comes out on the benefits of xyz over abc
Well if causation is established, or even if Occam's Razor says the most likely culprit is that neutering/not neutering caused a certain thing, then sure, it's not unreasonable to make that leap.

But in many (if not most) cases, particularly in the realm of behavior and psychology, where things are not so concrete, it becomes very difficult to move beyond correlation.

So it is important to note that when a study says "neutered males may be more aggressive" - well, that's probably true, assuming we have a well-formed study. BUT...why are they more aggressive? The jump most people will immediately make is that neutering causes aggression.

But, isn't it more likely that an evaluation of neutered dogs vs intact dogs will find neutered dogs more aggressive on the whole, because typically neutering is encouraged as part of a treatment for unwanted/unwarranted aggression? You're neutering them, you aren't performing brain surgery. It probably WILL affect the behavior but at the core, a dog just like any other creature is still a product of his genetics and environment.

Dogs without problem behaviors are more likely to be left intact, again, on the whole.

That would be my explanation as to why a study says neutered dogs are more aggressive. I find it very difficult to believe (excepting cases of pre-pubertal neutering, I can believe that messing with the hormones and the natural mental maturation process could cause undesirable behaviors, including certain types of aggression - but that's just my unfounded opinion) that neutering a dog will CAUSE him to become aggressive.

I would definitely believe that neutering an already aggressive dog would still leave him with some level of aggression that is above that of a dog without aggression problems.

And, again, as a disclaimer, let me stress that I'm talking "in general." With over 75 million owned dogs in this country, I'd find it to be sheer lunacy if there were no exceptions to that rule, particularly when we are talking about something as complex as behavior.

So any time one sees a study like this...it is important to be very careful not to leap to the conclusion that most closely matches your ideology. It's an impulsive instinct. Put on your skeptic hat and use your critical thinking skills to think what all the possible explanations might be for that correlation to be found.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #62 (permalink)
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And, again, as a disclaimer, let me stress that I'm talking "in general." With over 75 million owned dogs in this country, I'd find it to be sheer lunacy if there were no exceptions to that rule, particularly when we are talking about something as complex as behavior.

So any time one sees a study like this...it is important to be very careful not to leap to the conclusion that most closely matches your ideology. It's an impulsive instinct. Put on your skeptic hat and use your critical thinking skills to think what all the possible explanations might be for that correlation to be found.

If neutering/spaying were so detrimental as to cause aggressive dogs every time, vets would have stopped doing it way back when.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:25 PM   #63 (permalink)
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He was an adult male that had been a foster in my home for over a month before he was neutered. Two weeks after he was neutered, he was suddenly dog aggressive. And still is. This was 1.5 years ago.
I'm curious now, to all dogs or just certain ones?
I could actually possibly see how that could happen although not necessarily hormones doing the work.
Also at around 2 weeks-1mo. an adult dog in rescue or in a new adoptive home may be starting to show his true colors, so are we able to say for certain the neuter caused it, or was he going to be that way anyway?
Do you know his history enough to know if he was dog-aggressive to other dogs prior to you taking him in?
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:47 PM   #64 (permalink)
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All I know is... I've never seen neutering make a dog MORE aggressive.

I've seen many dogs who became less aggressive after neutering.

I've seen many dogs who were aggressive before and after neutering.

This is merely anectodal, since I have not conducted a formal study, but I have seen thousands of dogs before and after neutering, some of which I've followed up on for years. I have never seen a dog become MORE aggressive after neutering, unless you count the behavioral issues that come on late in life (dementia, grumpiness, siezures). My feeling is that those dogs would still have the same late-life issues if they were left intact, but since most dogs I see do not grow old with their testicles still attached, I can't definitively say. I can say that I've come across some very nasty intact elderly dogs, as well as nasty neutered elderly dogs, but the ones that are intact have a bit more "oomph" to their nastiness.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:53 PM   #65 (permalink)
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All I know is... I've never seen neutering make a dog MORE aggressive.

I've seen many dogs who became less aggressive after neutering.

I've seen many dogs who were aggressive before and after neutering.

This is merely anectodal, since I have not conducted a formal study, but I have seen thousands of dogs before and after neutering, some of which I've followed up on for years. I have never seen a dog become MORE aggressive after neutering, unless you count the behavioral issues that come on late in life (dementia, grumpiness, siezures). My feeling is that those dogs would still have the same late-life issues if they were left intact, but since most dogs I see do not grow old with their testicles still attached, I can't definitively say. I can say that I've come across some very nasty intact elderly dogs, as well as nasty neutered elderly dogs, but the ones that are intact have a bit more "oomph" to their nastiness.
I believe this too.
I took in a senior intact male GSD off death row, and boy-oh-boy.
He was "growly" at the shelter, I'd been told, so when I met him, I took his pics, and was going to put a heavy duty collar on him. I decided against that - the collar we have you have to pull it tighter/almost too snug, then place the prong thing in the hole (leather collar, you know), and ended up sending him to a GSD rescue with an experienced foster home.

It was a good thing I did - he showed no hesitation to be bitey, but he did find a great home after his way-late-in-life neuter. The same thing, the home was very experienced, but this dog had lived his whole life being a crotchety mess who probably didn't have much guidance in his life either.
He was the boss of himself and nobody else was going to take that position, when I met him!
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:15 PM   #66 (permalink)
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If neutering/spaying were so detrimental as to cause aggressive dogs every time, vets would have stopped doing it way back when.

And vets wouldn't push Science Diet either.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:54 PM   #67 (permalink)
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Folks, the issue isn't nuetering, the issue is aggression. I would take the dog to a very good behavoirist and get a hands on assessment of causation if its apparent. These internet psychologists cannot diagnose from behind a computer. Do the behavoirist and if that's not satisfactory do a medical workup. After that if you don't have causation(and you may!!!), then you can start considering some proactive stategies.JMO
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:47 AM   #68 (permalink)
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Joey's going to be neutered next week, due to an enlarged prostate.

I had two friends say, now he'll be more calm.

While it would be a nice bonus, I don't expect the neutering to have that kind of effect, and I wouldn't neuter just for that reason.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:37 AM   #69 (permalink)
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I don't notice any difference calmness, but I notice a big difference in 'biddability' - how easily a dog "goes with the flow," so to speak.
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