Neutering a non-confident fearful dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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Neutering a non-confident fearful dog

I don't even know if the two go hand in hand and I know there are so many differences of opinions on fixing dogs anyway, but I'm going to throw this out anyway.

Knuckles is a fearful, non-confident dog. We are working on this and making progress, but I know he will never be a fearless, confident dog. He's getting to the age where I can have him neutered, but I just don't know what to do. Eventually I do want him fixed only because even though I have no intentions on giving him an opportunity to go have some big boy fun (by accident or not), things happen and I don't want to be responsible for one more oops litter in the world. So my question is - do you think waiting until he's older will make a difference? Giving him his full "manhood", for lack of a better word (not enough coffee yet), will help with his confidence/fearfulness during his development or does it even play a part in it?

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 10:46 AM
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I think pups are far more likely to wind up with behavioral problems when neutered before maturity. That said, I think the biggest problems lie in the 2-4 month age so many like to advocate - and that really once you get past a year old you're having less and less risk.

That time frame obviously changes with differently sized dogs and different rates of maturity (my dog is 26 months old and STILL has a youthful frame - and frame, mind you, he's not really even started the filling out I don't think).

If I were you, (since you appear to be responsible and understand the implications of allowing your dog to breed, and will be guarded against that), I would wait until the 18-24 month age frame, rather than this soon.

There are a couple studies I linked in another thread not too long ago - I'll have to see if I can dig them up again - but neutering was correlatedwith more fearful behaviors in dogs as well as other problem behaviors.

Now, I'd caution against making too many leaps with that - I think it's likely, because I believe all a dog's hormones are necessary for optimal development, but that's JMHO (and you certainly aren't killing a dog if you do anything sooner) - the correlation could be explained by other things. Maybe dogs that display fear aggression are commonly mistaken as being truly aggressive, and people think that neutering will take that aggression away - aka "problem behavior" dogs are more likely to be neutered than well-behaved dogs, so that could explain the correlation. Remember the golden rule of statistics, correlation does not imply causation.

I think neutering him this young could certainly affect his normal mental development, and with a dog that shows fear/non-confidence I'd want to stack every card in my deck that I was able to. I am wary against saying it "will" make a difference, but I'm confident enough to say that it is likely to (and I freely admit that this is from mostly anecdotal, secondhand accounts, and my own readings of veterinary literature - I've really only had experience with two dogs from puppy age onward).

I would also say to you that at six months it is very difficult to discern his adult temperament unless you have had a lot of experience raising pups, and specifically, German Shepherd pups, and even more specifically, German Shepherd pups of his line. The fearful, non-confident behavior could be a fear stage - in which case I would especially caution you against neutering during this as even slightly traumatic events can really affect how a dog's psyche develops during this time.

Hope that helps. It is always good to see more people who understand the gravity of allowing an unproven/untested/etc dog to breed.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 11:02 AM
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My Rocky is a fearful, non-confident dog. He was neutered at 9 months. I didn't notice a behavior change from before to after. Hopefully xxMyRoxyxx will show up. . . I forgot what age she neutered her Rocky, but he's another non-confident boy. I'd be interested in what she has to say, if his behavior changed at all.


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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 11:26 AM
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being a rescuer, i'm a huge advocate of altering animals. however, when i got my Hugo he wasn't neutered and i came on here and asked about the best age to neuter an older gsd (he was 1.5yrs when he got here in november last yr). i got ALOT of good information . so i did some internet research on the info i got.

there's something i found out. hormonal development in young dogs, especially males it turns out, is extremely important both in emotional/mental and physical. it has immense effects on the bone thickness and strength, the breadth of the sternum and development of hip joints, surprisingly, in the growth plates. psychologically, and if you think about it it makes sense, the hormones really deal them a knock out blow. just like w/teenagers going thru puberty but in a real rushed spasm. if you remove those hormones too soon they never get to finish that and they get stuck right where they were. eventually they may come out of it, but they may stay right there too and you end up w/what could turn into a problem dog.

now, all the politically correct literature will tell you that you should get your animal altered asap, no matter what the consequences are. but you have to keep in mind that they are referring to people that are irresponsible owners, people that will let their animal run the street, those very animals that will end up at my house, or some other rescuer or shelter.

my dog Hugo, who i've decided to keep as my own will not be altered until he is 3yrs old. after having him to the vet, he has some growing to do across the sternum and some more growth in the spine to do, he has more muscle mass to put on, and a bit more height. he's got very heavy bone and i don't want to damage that. he's very much a puppy right now, and i want him to "be a man" in his mind before i do the deed. i will wait. there are no proven medical reports telling anyone that testicular cancer is anymore prevalent in later neutered males than in puppy neutered males. others will tell you different, ask them to show you the reports. there are reports showing just the opposite.

never neuter your pet because it's politically correct. it's always better to wait if you're educated and responsible. i have been RE-educated, thanks to this site.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 11:27 AM
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It's hard to say and I've often wondered that myself. I have seen nervous intact dogs become less nervous after neutering. Testosterone is something of an "upper" in terms of behavior, everything is a bit more intense with testosterone, and if a dog is fearful, I can see how it could cause some conflicting emotions.

Statistically, most dog bites are from intact dogs. Fearful dogs are more likely to bite whether neutered or not, but I can see how testosterone added to the mix might weigh more into the "fight" than the "flight", and make him quicker to bite in order to solve his problems. Once that starts, it can become a pattern... "I bit that scary person and he went away" ... next time he's more likely to repeat what worked, whether neutered or not.

Then again, testosterone is supposed to be a confidence drug.

So, I really don't know what the answer is. If it were my dog, I'd probably go ahead and neuter around 8 or 9 months to preclude any male-type issues complicating things.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonwyke View Post
there are no proven medical reports telling anyone that testicular cancer is anymore prevalent in later neutered males than in puppy neutered males. others will tell you different, ask them to show you the reports. there are reports showing just the opposite.
According to the following literature review, it's actually not prevalent, period.

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If my understanding is correct the .9% figure also includes those dogs with retained testicles, so the real risk for an intact dog with everything where it is supposed to be is even lower than that. It's truly insignificant ("significant" in medical literature is anything with a risk over 1%).

I am sure in rescue/shelter situations it is seen more than that considering often the dogs are not from the best genetic or environmental backgrounds (those being a couple of many factors in cancer risks).

~

What you'll likely get by neutering young is stopping sexually dimorphic behaviors from developing in the first place, behaviors that may not really go away, or only reduce in intensity/frequency, when you neuter them later. You will also probably have a more "biddable" dog that is less likely to contest you. I am not above admitting there are benefits to to neutering a puppy at six months of age.

I consider that secondary, however, to the risks of neutering at that age (if you have the ability to make that choice). Currently I really don't have a good opinion on what age would really be best to have a dog neutered to balance out developmental, behaviors, and health risks/benefits. 18-24 months seems like a decent age and is one most often cited by users on this forum, though.

However if you decide upon six months that is your decision and your decision alone and you need to decide what works best for you and your pup. And do not let anyone feel like you are killing him because you decided to neuter him that young. Because, that simply isn't true. This is just one of those very divisive issues in which people tend to fall very strongly to one side of the aisle or another.

Last edited by Draugr; 02-25-2012 at 11:41 AM.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draugr View Post
If my understanding is correct the .9% figure also includes those dogs with retained testicles, so the real risk for an intact dog with everything where it is supposed to be is even lower than that. It's truly insignificant ("significant" in medical literature is anything with a risk over 1%).

I am sure in rescue/shelter situations it is seen more than that considering often the dogs are not from the best genetic or environmental backgrounds (those being a couple of many factors in cancer risks).

~
i'd have to thoroughly agree, draugr. resq/shelter situations are working from the basis that the animals are mostly unwanted/uncared for so cannot be allowed to produce more unwanted/uncared for animals, as well as possibly unhealthy animals.

i also agree w/this

"However if you decide upon six months that is your decision and your decision alone and you need to decide what works best for you and your pup. And do not let anyone feel like you are killing him because you decided to neuter him that young. Because, that simply isn't true. This is just one of those very divisive issues in which people tend to fall very strongly to one side of the aisle or another. "

in the end, whatever decision is made, the dog will not suffer from it. the what ifs, could bes, and maybes are things everyone deals with in keeping animals.

dw
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 11:58 AM
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I had two male puppies from the same litter. One we neutered at 6 months the other we waited on. The dog we neuterd was less confident and less dominate that his brother and at 9 he still doesn't lift his leg. Size they were the same. Same height same weight. The one we waited to neuter had more classic lines, the one we neutered at 6 months always looks more rolly polly and chunkey even tho he was the same weight. However as puppies he was always the chunk also he was the less dominate as a puppy. I personally do not think neutering younger made any difference.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 12:08 PM
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My older dog was less confident as a pup and I did not neuter till 5 yrs due to health issues. His confidence improved dramatically with maturity.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 12:10 PM
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my dog was neutered at a young age...around 7 months. he too isn't all that confident. i did not notice any change in this after he was fixed. his personality has remained the same.

Chobahn 3/26/10
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