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Old 11-27-2013, 11:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Neutering for Dog-Dog Aggression?

Should I neuter my 6 month old pup now so he can continue to socialize at the dog park?
I know this question involves two controversial topics, speutering and dog parks, but I am interested in hearing viewpoints from all sides. I have read the general threads on neutering but I was interested in opinions specifically about intact males and dog interactions. Also, I wanted to say that I am neutering my dog at some point. I started off planning to wait until 18-24 months to neuter Oso, but knowing that I could reconsider at any time if behavioral issues came up.
Oso is done teething, basic obedience trained, clearly maturing but no major issues of challenging me. Up until about 2 weeks ago, I would say he is very well socialized and interacts and plays well with dogs of all ages and sizes. Recently at the dog park, Oso got into one major disagreement and I noticed that several older neutered (and possibly intact) males have been snipping at him. Then today I noticed him displaying what I though were overly dominant behaviors toward several dogs (one reacted back and the other did not). I think neutering might *help* solve this problem. The alternative is that I stop bringing him to the dog park, which is doable because I can exercise him other ways, but will it worsen his socialization?
P.S. attached a few more recent photos
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Neutering for Dog-Dog Aggression?-img_0887.jpg   Neutering for Dog-Dog Aggression?-img_0911.jpg   Neutering for Dog-Dog Aggression?-img_0949.jpg  
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The pup needs training, you could neuter him if you want but it will not change what you are describing. The option of not going to the dog park is a good one. You can socialize him better by taking him to Home Depot and other places on leash as opposed to let him run free uncontrolled with other unknown/uncontrolled dogs as this is not socialization, it is recipe for disaster.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Could you give me an idea of what additional training I could do with Oso to help? It's so hard to monitor dog's play and know how to step in! I've been attending puppy play groups that teach me how to recognize appropriate play behaviors. I know Oso's signs of getting riled up and have him take a break when he starts playing too rough. I also do immediate time outs when Oso squares off and barks, snips, pins a dog or otherwise seems too pushy or dominant. I've gotten multiple compliments about how well socialized Oso is and how well he plays. To me, it seems as though the problem interactions happen so quickly that I can't step in and adjust Oso's behavior to keep the interaction positive. For example, other dog sprints up to Oso and growls, Oso growls back, and the posturing begins.
Do not fear, I also take Oso on plenty of walks and socialization trips. He loves meeting new people (maybe too much) and can walk calmly past a neutral dog.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Truth is...if YOU want to continue going to dog parks and enjoying them, you should neuter your dog.

The reactions from other dogs won't be there and you'll be much calmer. It's true...you can train your dog to not react and to ignore other dogs. But you can't do anything about the other dogs. When I used to go, and when I go on occasion, to the dog park, its the other dogs that I have problems with. They start to react to my dog. And yes...for educated owners they know that its just training, but at a dog park, an intact dog gives everyone an excuse to blame something. And on top of that, you have a GSD who will also get blamed when a fight breaks out between him and the labradoodle that's been humping him for the last 5 minutes.

It's really a lifestyle decision. I used to like dog parks. Really enjoyed going and having a place for my dog to burn off some energy and socialize with other dogs. Then my boy matured (around a year old) and I started seeing behaviors I didn't like. So we stopped going because I had made the decision not to neuter. So now we meet up with people, go to other parks where he can be off leash (now that his recall is 100% reliable), and don't need that strange dog interaction. Just really depends on what's more important to you.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Step 1 would be to increase your value to him, this way he will interact more with you and always look for you as good thing, all excitement comes from you and not other dogs.

Step 2 would be to really reduce the uncontrolled play with other dogs, keep it controlled by having him close to you (step 1) this way you can act before anything happens.

Step 3 would be to improve obedience away from you like commanding sit and down from a distance and building time before you release then add distractions. Teach him attention heeling, goes very well with step 1.

In the meantime while you work on steps 1, 2 and 3 (about a years worth of work), keep him on a line and only let him run offline when you have a pretty good command of the environment.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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First I am no expert, but I do have a 6 month old Dutch Shepherd and ask myself many of the questions you are asking. I have decided that if I neuter at all it will be after 1 year. Why? Long ago I had a GSD who blew her knee out. My husband, before I met him, had a Shiloh shepherd that blew his knee out. Then I read this: Golden retriever study suggests neutering affects dog health :: UC Davis News & Information
My dog, I hope will be a SAR dog, I hope to avoid blown out knees. So that is one. The other is that 6 month olds are a pain... but we don't neuter our teenagers, we work through. I am hoping to work through the tough times with my DS to get to the other side but I admit that neutering is always an option. But I keep hearing that if I hang on and get through this adolescent period I'll be very happy.
I don't go to dog parks as it is just too much for my dog. He gets too amped up. So we hike instead and do obedience work.
Again, no expert but how I am muddling thriough.
I look forward to this thread.
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Old 11-28-2013, 01:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Uhm, in your third picture, the leg there looks like it is full of blood. I hope that your ok, and that wasn't a training issue that needs to be dealt with, or came about because of a disagreement at the park?
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, we are just starting distance and off-leash obedience work. Oso has a pretty good recall away from mild distractions, but when he gets sucked into dog activities it is not guaranteed. I guess I don't have a problem stopping dog park visits, it is just really nice to have a large area where Oso can sprint and fetch. He LOVES chasing balls, but unfortunately my fenced backyard is barely large enough to get him running. Maybe I can find some tennis courts or something to play fetch in. It just seems like an hour off leash tires Oso out way more than an hour walking on leash. I don't want to take him running with me until he is fully grown. I do lots of training, "mind games" and tug through out the day but the sprinting really makes him calm for the rest of the day.
Oso does have one dog sister at home (but she is much smaller so she doesn't always want to play with him) and three dogs he sees at work. So he does have dog friends he knows and can continue to spend time with.

forgot to mention that was our halloween costume: Oso was a shark (appropriate for a teething puppy) and I was the shark attack victim. I tricked a few people with the moulage on my leg
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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also, @martemchik, yesterday there literally was a labradoodle whose owner I had to tell to make her stop humping my dog
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Just saw the pics, Oso looking good. Did you name him after Special Agent Oso?
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