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Discussion Starter #1
more.

This is an argument in the sense of differing opinions appropriately expressed.

We have heard for years and years that one of the main reasons to neuter is that intact dogs are more likely to roam. I think we buy into this, especially since their olfactory is so much better than our own. However, I am not so sure.

In too many cases, the terms "responsible dog ownership" and "spay/neuter" are intimately connected. However, I believe that responsible people mayb be as resoponsible if not more responsible by not neutering their pets. If their purpose in not neutering is to responsibly add an exemplary specimen to the gene pool, or because they want their dog to grow and mature properly, or because they are not convinced that neutering is as safe and does not negatively affect the dog's health, or that they want to use the dog for certain working/performance events where keeping the hormones intact makes sense, they are not in my opinion being irresponsible.

However, irresponsible people almost NEVER neuter a dog. This is not true of spaying bitches. People spay bitches out of convenience probably as often as out of a sense of responsibility. But irresponsible people generally do not see the need of neutering a dog.

To get to the logic. The shelters and humane societies claim that the majority of dogs that come into shelters as strays are not neutered. But I would counter that the majority of dogs that come into shelters as strays are owned by irresponsible people.

The responsible owners either have their dogs neutered and contained, or are keeping their intact dog contained. Where the irresponsible owners are not neutering, and some of them do not bother to keep their dogs contained. For this reason, a higher sample of roaming dogs are intact.

Now, everyone who has bitches, knows that the dogs come around when they whiff the scent of an in heat bitch. But how do we know that a neutered dog would not be just as likely to show up? I mean, mmmmm -- smells like vanilla, what is grandma baking -- brings us to the kitchen, how much moreso does a dog smell a female and go to check it out, with or without hormones. Those without hormones, generally do not have the opportunity, but if they did, when we peer out our window, how can we measure their sexual status?

In fact, a young boarder collie showed up at my place a few years ago, and his owner said he was afraid of this and he would get him neutered. He got him neutered. He still roams, I seem him regularly.

So maybe that only works if you neuter young enough. I do not know, but it seems to me that the responsible owners are keeping their animals home whether they are intact or not, and those that really do not care are not bothering to get their dog neutered and are not bothering to contain them.

So while the numbers may say that intact males are more likely to roam, we could just as easily make the statement that irresponsible owners are more likely to let their dogs roam and are more likley to have intact dogs.
 

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I totally agree with you. I think intact dogs will roam at certain times for certain reasons but many alters will roam for their own reasons. A beagle neutered a six weeks will probably still roam far and wide, following wherever the nose leads.


Responsible owners have dogs that don't roam because responsible owners carefully manage their dogs.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzerNow, everyone who has bitches, knows that the dogs come around when they whiff the scent of an in heat bitch.
Umm, I've NEVER had a dog "come around" when my girls were in season. And yes, I let them outside during that time.

We don't have alot of loose dogs period in our area. Better dog ownership? More responsible owners? Less dogs? I don't know.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzerIn too many cases, the terms "responsible dog ownership" and "spay/neuter" are intimately connected.
I agree! Spaying/Neutering does not even mean a pet owner is responsible. They could still be irresponsible and have a "fixed" pet. Also, it is true that a dog left intact might have a very responsible owner...such as yourself?

Originally Posted By: selzerBut I would counter that the majority of dogs that come into shelters as strays are owned by irresponsible people.
That is more likely, true. I think that we are a very small percentage of dog owners out there, Selzer. We are very responsible, while most people probably are not as vigilant as you and I. So, it is easier to make sure dogs are spayed and neutered, because most owners are not going to be keeping as close an eye on their dog as you. I know, it's a shame.

Originally Posted By: selzerit seems to me that the responsible owners are keeping their animals home whether they are intact or not, and those that really do not care are not bothering to get their dog neutered and are not bothering to contain them.
Exactly, I think you hit the nail right on the head there!


This is a very thoughtful and insightful post.
 

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Responsibility and irresponsibility are a sliding scale, not black or white. My parents and my brother are what I would call fairly responsible dog owners. They own indoor/outdoor dogs and are not nearly as fanatical about their dogs as I am about mine. They have nice fenced-in yards with good fences, but both my parents' dog and my brother's dogs have been out of the yard before. I want to stress that my family are not irresponsible dog owners. They're probably average or a bit better than average because they keep their dogs UTD on shots and HW prevention, maintain their fences, etc. But they're not as responsible or as interested in their dogs as a lot of people on this board.

Because my family members are 'fairly' responsible, I prevailed upon them to neuter their pets at about 1 year old. When their dogs DID out of their yards (as bored outside dogs tend to do on occasion) they were found on the front porch or somewhere on their own property. I believe that, had they not been neutered, there is a much greater chance that they would have gone roaming, especially if they had scented a female in heat.

I really do think that neutering is the best option for the vast majority of people.
 

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I think that intact males are indeed more likely to roam, but a responsible dog owner is more likely to have them properly contained in such a way that they won't be able to roam.

As far as neutering solving a roaming problem, if the dog is an adult and has been doing the behavior (whatever intact-male-related behavior it may be) for a while it's already a habit and neutering is less likely to help.

Additionally I think an intact male dog is less likely to exhibit the typical male "problem" behaviors in general because they are being properly trained and contained. If there is a behavior issue a responsible owner will be more likely to address it (by training, by neutering before the behavior become ingrained, or by properly containing the dog.)

I do agree that not spaying or neutering does not necessarily mean an owner is irresponsible. There are many legitimate reasons for not having a dog s/n. However I think most pet owners out there are not keeping their dogs intact for those reasons and in the majority of cases it is better for pets to be s/n rather than relying on the responsibility level of the general dog-owning public to keep them from breeding.
 

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The problem itself has no solution, at least not here in Ohio.

We do not have the money to chase law breakers down, so even if they pass mandatory spay/neuter laws the irresponsible owners will not bother. If it is required for a license, they will not get a license. It is not lawful for the dog warden to come to your propertly looking for an unlicensed dog. They can only look if called for another reason. So the majority of people would be better off, never bothering with licensing and the whole nine yards.

The responsible people, law abiding people will get kicked in the pocket book for being responsible and law abiding. And that makes the world go around.
 

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I think intact dogs, bitch and dog, are more likely to roam, the instinct to find a mate when a bitch is in heat would make her want to roam, I knew a bulldog who'd KILL any adult dog if given the chance, when she was in heat she let males into her own yard, she tried escaping to get out with them... The males smell the hormones and obviously feel the same, and have more of a drive to find the bitch in heat. though I've seen neutered male who are obsessed with females in season, protective and defensive around them, and a male who even bred a bitch, though he was neutered. Just because his nuts are gone doesn't mean he can't smell.

Only one of my male dogs was neutered, and that's because he was inherited fixed, and all he wanted was to roam... Jaeger and my old male GSD are, and were not fixed. Mo, the old boy, lived to 16 intact. No problems... He was well trained and contained. Jaeger is all boy, and would probably be a horny mess if he caught wind of a bitch in heat, but he'll never have the chance of getting to her.
 

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Originally Posted By: APBTLoveI think intact dogs, bitch and dog, are more likely to roam, the instinct to find a mate when a bitch is in heat would make her want to roam, I knew a bulldog who'd KILL any adult dog if given the chance, when she was in heat she let males into her own yard, she tried escaping to get out with them... The males smell the hormones and obviously feel the same, and have more of a drive to find the bitch in heat. though I've seen neutered male who are obsessed with females in season, protective and defensive around them, and a male who even bred a bitch, though he was neutered. Just because his nuts are gone doesn't mean he can't smell.

Only one of my male dogs was neutered, and that's because he was inherited fixed, and all he wanted was to roam... Jaeger and my old male GSD are, and were not fixed. Mo, the old boy, lived to 16 intact. No problems... He was well trained and contained. Jaeger is all boy, and would probably be a horny mess if he caught wind of a bitch in heat, but he'll never have the chance of getting to her.
I dunno. I think it also depends on the dog. My neighbor has beagles who are females & arent spayed.
Keys has never tired to go over there......
 

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Quote:However, irresponsible people almost NEVER neuter a dog.
This is a central premise of the argument and I don't think it's accurate. You're thinking of people who make an effort to go out and alter their dog but even if that were true (and I'm not sure that it is) you're still not thinking of all the people who adopt a neutered dog from a shelter or a rescue group with not very high standards. There are plenty of irresponsible owners who end up with neutered dogs.

That said, I think discouraging roaming isn't a big argument for neutering. Maybe it works but you've got to do it before the dog gets into the habit of roaming (like the Border Collie you mentioned?) I don't know. I agree that correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation. And even if neutered dogs are less likely to roam, that's no excuse for not practicing good containment. Roaming, as you have correctly pointed out many times, is a containment issue not a surgical issue.

I guess my take on it, isn't that people should neuter to keep their dogs from roaming and it isn't that intact dogs are necessarily going to roam, it's that if owners are irresponsible about containment, it would be preferable that the roaming dogs be altered so that they're not adding to the already considerable problem of pet overpopulation.
 

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Quote:We do not have the money to chase law breakers down, so even if they pass mandatory spay/neuter laws the irresponsible owners will not bother. If it is required for a license, they will not get a license. It is not lawful for the dog warden to come to your propertly looking for an unlicensed dog. They can only look if called for another reason. So the majority of people would be better off, never bothering with licensing and the whole nine yards.
This is why I support enforcement that's targeted to dogs picked up roaming.

If an owner of an intact dog is responsible and gets the appropriate licensing for their intact dog, chances are that will be the end of that, but in the rare event that such a dog escapes and is picked up, the owner will be able to get their dog back intact.

However, when animal control picks up all the other gazillion roaming intact dogs of irresponsible owners that AREN'T licensed, they have a mechanism to make the owners alter their pet if they're going to reclaim it so they're not just turning the dogs back out to roam and reproduce willy nilly.

Yes, that may result occasionally in people deciding they're not going to bother and not reclaiming their pet, but as harsh as it sounds - I'd rather they left ONE unaltered dog at the shelter than got the dog back intact if they're going to let the dogs reproduce and create even more dogs.

So there's no extra manpower needed, you don't have to chase anyone down, and the impact is targeted to the truly problem dogs - the ones that are owned by irresponsible people who don't license them and don't alter them AND allow them to roam.
 

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Originally Posted By: pupresq
I guess my take on it, isn't that people should neuter to keep their dogs from roaming and it isn't that intact dogs are necessarily going to roam, it's that if owners are irresponsible about containment, it would be preferable that the roaming dogs be altered so that they're not adding to the already considerable problem of pet overpopulation.
Very good point, and probably the one that should be stressed above all others.
Sheilah
 

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I think if you leave an intact male in the wild, yes he's going to roam. I have an intact male and he marks and is interested in females when they are in heat. I don't really concern myself with either behavior. The difference is that my dog is UNDER CONTROL. I can take him on an hour long walk and only have him pee/mark once to relieve himself. A few weeks ago we had multiple females in head and they "dripped" on the floor at training, yet Nikon was focused during obedience and turned out his best protection session yet. I often have him off leash at home, at my parents, at his breeder's, on vacation, and at our training clubs and have never once had him run off. In fact, two times now he's broken out of his crate at training. The first time, he was sitting outside the door of the training building. The second time we were already outside and he just ran over to me on the field ignoring all the other dogs (and he can be dog aggressive). If left to his own devices as a stray, I'm sure he'd roam (for a lot of reasons....food too!) but as a pet I think that training, control, and his access to the resources I provide overcome the "urge" to run away.
 

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I can only offer anecdotal evidence.

The two intact males I have known for a long time in the past.

One was my brother in laws dog, he disappeared for a week at a time when a dog somewhere went in heat. Would do most anything to escape. He once found him miles from home in someone's yard with a dog in heat.

My younger brothers dog did the same, gone for a week or when a dog somewhere went in heat, until the time he didn't come home. He learned to open the glass sliding door and climb the fence to get after the girls.

I have only had two dogs in heat, both attracted a decent pack of males hanging around the house. One managed to mate, a stray that was in heat when I found her.

I don't do intact dogs, I can see a developmental reason to allow a dog to have it's first heat, or wait till he drops to spay/neuter, but unless you have a real need to breed your dog their is only upside to fixing your dog IMO and no downside.
 

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I don't know if intact dogs are more likely to roam, but I think they have more reason to and might go farther because they have a destination if they smell a bitch in heat. When altered dogs roam it's usually because they are bored.

I absolutely hate how people say "responsible owners should spay and neuter" IRRESPONSIBLE owners should spay and neuter because they've already demonstrated that they are irresponsible and are unable to contain their dog. Responsible owners should have a choice. If you are responsibly keeping your dog it won't matter if it's intact or not.

If I ever get another male dog I'm not neutering. There are too many negative health side effects. I don't find it responsible to neuter my male, causing a 4x increase in prostate cancer, when I can just contain him the same way the law says I have to. For females, however, there are more health benefits.
 

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If a male is used for breeding, I think he is often much more game for the game. But, then he is going to be intact because he is for breeding.

I have both intact and altered animals. I don't notice that much difference in their behaviors. I never bought altering as a behavior mod tool except as a kinda "hope" in bad cases. I don't manage them differently based on intactness. They all must be kept contained.

The upside or downside of altering females.regarding health is not altogether clear and it may depend on breeds and various cancer risks within those breeds.
 
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