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Hey peeps,

My boys has just crossed the 1 year mark around 2 weeks ago. He is still intact. I know for sure that I am going to have him fixed, but just contemplating on if I should wait until he is 3 years old (when he is done growing.) This is not a discussion on should I - should I not, it's a question on when.

Since I've brought him home, we went to 3 different vets. First one was VCA, I liked the vet but VCA was off my budget (I used a free coupon for that 1st visit). Second was Banfield - Horrible vet. Refused to answer some of my questions. Last one was at a clinic in LA for his annual check up - finally found a reliable pet hospital and vet! Here's what each of them said on when to neuter:

1. VCA: 1 year
2. Banfield: 6 months
3. Clinic: 2-3 years

Now, I've done some research and I believe that I somewhat agree with waiting until he's 3. The reason why I started this thread is because of my dog's 4 behaviour issues. 1. Since he was around 10-11 months when he started lifting his leg to pee, he has been very toy possessive / resource guiding with other dogs. He would either steal another's toy, or if he finds a toy in his possession, and another dog comes just close, he will react aggressively. Only to dogs. Never humans. 2. Around a month ago, whenever there's a big-ass dog in the park, I'm talking big danes or say, tibetan mastiff, he'd stalk them and try to hump them relentlessly. NOT aggressively. 3. He still jumps a lot whenever I have guests coming in, but he'll calm down after 3 minutes max. 4. He has been afraid of food bowls! I haven't figured out what happened. Now I either have to hand-feed him, or 'scatter' his food on the floor to make it seem like 'I dropped it.' Thinking of having to do this for the rest of his life everyday bothers me a lot. And... I heard that after being fixed, some dogs develop more appetite.

I understand that 3 of these behaviour are dominance issues. Our trainer kept asking me to neuter him asap, but I always tell her I will wait until he is done growing. Some research shows that by neutering dogs, it would reduce its dominance behaviour because of lack of testosterone - while some research say it's a matter of training. Honestly, I think that neutering does play a part in that, and it does compliment training sessions. But again... 1 year is much to young to me...

Other than that, he is an absolutely fine male German Shepherd. He has never shown aggression to people, and the only times he's shown aggression with other dogs is when there's a toy involved. Gentle with kids and toddlers (which is such delightful surprise!). Highly obedient. Creepy clever. I take into account the fact that he is still intact and will need vigorous exercise on a daily basis to outlet his 'excess' energy, and thankfully that's what I'm able to provide for him. Can't tell you how important and significant it is to exercise our dog according to THEIR needs.

Question is, what are your thoughts on this situation? I'm 90% sure I would want to wait, but the other 10% I'm weighing other options too. I always find people's opinions on this forum useful. Thanks in advance! My boy says hi.
 

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If you are to neuter two- three years is the age to do this the older the better. With that though there are many health benefits keeping male dogs intact unless there are any risks like a retained testicle or prostate issues. Neutering will not help any behavior issues. Training along maturity is where things all come together. Any issues thought to be rid by neutering and not addressed otherwise will become ingrained. Hi He is very handsome!
 

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I would wait at least until he's two. I believe the growth plates close at/around 18 months (someone please correct me if I'm wrong!) and I would want to ensure he had his hormones until then at the least.


Your behavioral issues I do not think will be fixed by neutering.


Lifting his leg to pee (marking to some degree) I think is normal for most male dogs. Heck, I've seen some female dogs do it. Neutering will not fix this at all. I usually hear people worry when their boy DOESN'T lift his leg to pee ( "well, he's 8 months and he still doesn't lift his leg").


Toy aggression - I'm guessing this is at the dog park? I'd do my best to just make sure he does not have access to toys there. I have a park I go to where there are some toy possessive dogs and the owners will specifically pick up any balls/ropes left behind and put them up. People usually understand since they don't want a fight that can be avoided.


Humping - best fix is probably to prevent him from doing it in the first place (training?). I've known a few people to use e-collars to prevent it. I'll bet he picked up this behavior at the park itself. Neutering probably won't change this since it can be a learned behavior (my Shiba learned to hump at the park. He got neutered, and still humps select dogs who hump him back *shrugs*). My friend has a dog that MUST hump any new dog that comes to the park and is obsessive about it - unsure if it's excitement or something else (it is annoying to me, but he's not my dog). He's neutered and still does it. Maybe someone else has better advice for this one.
 
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I’d wait till 2-3yrs. My dog Russ just turned 3 when I had him neutered. He was a big, filled out dog by then.
 
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One of the good things about males is that we can afford to take a Wait And See position. I agree that most behavior issues are due to training and maturity and genetics. Many people have desexed their dogs and not noticed much of a change in behavior or not seen any change at all! So Neutering is not an answer for poor manners.

Your one year old dog is smack dab in the middle of adolescence! We can all tell you pushy teenage-dog stories. With good consistent rules, rewards for good behavior and fair consequences for bad, your dog will turn 3 years old and you'll look back wondering what happened to that 1 year old scamp you once knew.

Our dog is 4 1/2 and still intact. His long hair is the only issue. It hides his "junk" so I have to make a point to check for injuries when I groom him each night. Looks like that won't be an issue with your boy.

By the way, a few months ago I watched my spayed female hump my boy. Shocked me completely. I think she was overexcited about something. I told her to knock it off and haven't seen her do it since.
 

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All those problems you listed are training problems, I really doubt neutering will "fix" any of those things. You need to be stepping up your game and working with him more, NILIF. Jumping on people should be worked on immedietly, by a year old I expect my dogs to be over that. When G was a year old we had our 100 year old neighbors over, if he had jumped on them at his size he would have probably killed them. That's just not safe. Not trying to be mean here just realistic so you get an idea of where you're at. Toy possessiveness is another thing to be worked on, or don't have toys out around other dogs. If your guy is already marking and lifting his leg he will continue to after being neutered. The reason I choose to keep my male intact is because if you neuter too young you dramatically increase the chances of hemangiosarcoma a deadly cancer common in the breed. If you really plan on neutering I'd wait as long as possible. You might want to look into a better trainer... that's a poor solution for bad behavior. I've seen many dogs become more aggressive from neutering.
 

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Neutering also reduces the risk of disorders associated with the anus/anal glands due to the reduced sex hormone. I've seen several suggest on this forum this can be a significant concern and neutering really does help. This is only reason I'm considering neutering my male, perhaps at age 5 or so. My thinking is there might be an inflection point age where the benefits of being intact become outweighed by the risk of anal disorder.

I haven't seen much information on this topic and I'd love to learn more about it if any here have opinions.
 

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I know this may open up a can of worms but I don't understand why we need to remove crucial body parts to lessen an mostly unlikely risk, just to replace them with an other one.
Neutering cannot replace training and the OP's issues are behavioral and can be corrected with the correct approach. MY inlaws had an out of control hunting dog so, poor guy was neutered. The only thing that changed was his coat (for the worse) and his IQ (just by the looks alone)
 

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I agree with others to wait. Keep doing your research, there is new research that claims behavior may become worse after neutering.

Some obedience training and manners would go a long way to correct all of yours and his issues. I've never neutered any of the male dogs that I have owned and worked. I've never seen any issues with an intact dog. For some reason many people think that neutering a dog will fix behavioral issues, the dog is still going to have the same issues. What do you do when the neutering doesn't solve these problems or they become more intense and worse? Start some good obedience classes now and in a year you won't need to neuter him.
 

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I neutered my male rescue at age 3 1/2 due to a very bad prostate infection. The only thing that changed behaviour-wise was he stopped peeing on the counter at the vet's. He used to do it EVERY SINGLE TIME we visited there.

He would still go after in-heat females and even tie with them, if allowed. He would still fight other males if challenged. He still was just as smart at learning new things, and I didn't notice a change in his energy level. Neutered dogs get fat because people overfeed them.

I would have left him intact if it hadn't been for the infection and his very swollen prostate gland.
 

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I prefer animals to be the way God made them. All my male horses have been stallions also. Its TRAINING that is required for dogs and horses, not loss of parts.
 

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I prefer animals to be the way God made them. All my male horses have been stallions also. Its TRAINING that is required for dogs and horses, not loss of parts.
Sorry (a little) to steal the thread. Have you had them together in the presence of mares? My understanding is that they will get along from young age on and without mares in the area. Just curious.
When I was riding horses in the 70's and 80'sin Europe stallions were gelded as yearlings. Potential breeding stock was left intact until they made it through conformation tests, proofed working ability and allowed to, I believe, sire 10 foals who were also judged. If approved they were listed in the registry as a breeding stallion. If not, they were gelded. These were very popular as riding horses; trained with stallion looks.
 

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Neutering reduces a dog's metabolism by @ 20%. Dog food nutrition is based on "servings". If the dogs diet needs to be restricted by 20% to maintain the same weight, then the necessary nutrients are being fed at a twenty percent reduction as well BUT the nutritional requirements were not reduced, only the caloric, by the procedure, hence increasing appetite as the dog seeks to satisfy its nutritional needs.

Neutering is not the harmless procedure some would have you think and it is not reversible. How does one "fix" the aforementioned dilemma? There are dozens of threads on this forum where people neutered with hopes of curing training issues only to have these people return weeks or months later scratching their heads saying: Well, that didn't work. What can I do now? The answer is always the same. Train.
 

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Have you considered a vasectomy as a possible option opposed to neutering? That way there's no accidental litter risks, but your dog is still perfectly intact otherwise - physiologically and physically. Neutering isn't a magical fix for issues in relation to behaviour or obedience, though. Your dog is likely just taking advantage of a situation that has been presented to him, and he has learned he gets what he wants when he's successful.

1. Since he was around 10-11 months when he started lifting his leg to pee, he has been very toy possessive / resource guiding with other dogs.
This is something you allowed to happen. If you notice your dog is toy possessive with other dogs, then do not allow for that environment to exist. No toys laying around, begin feeding in a crate or in separate rooms, and monitoring your dog's interactions with one another. Your dog views other dogs as competition for "his" things, and he is willing to fight them for it. The easiest way to stop it is to not let it happen in the first place. Neutering has nothing to do with that. If you don't have control of the environment, then you need to have control of your dog. I understand that people may bring toys to the dog park you attend, but that comes down to really hammering out a solid "leave it" command.

2. Around a month ago, whenever there's a big-ass dog in the park, I'm talking big danes or say, tibetan mastiff, he'd stalk them and try to hump them relentlessly. NOT aggressively.
I'm no expert, but it sounds like a dog trying to climb the social ladder. He was never corrected for this behaviour, so he's going to continue. One day it might not end well.

3. He still jumps a lot whenever I have guests coming in, but he'll calm down after 3 minutes max.
Normal excitement for a dog that's never learned "four on the floor" for greetings. Starts from puppyhood, isn't so cute or nice when they're adults.

4. He has been afraid of food bowls! I haven't figured out what happened. Now I either have to hand-feed him, or 'scatter' his food on the floor to make it seem like 'I dropped it.'
Have you tried feeding him on a cookie sheet instead of a food bowl? What does he drink out of? You could always trying using the same container that he uses to drink out of to also eat out of. Alternatively, you could get very fancy and just feed him with a normal "people" bowl or a tupperware container.
 

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Max had a retained testicle is why I decided to neuter him. One of the smartest dogs I ever I have owned thus far -neutering did not effect his intelligence lol! smarter then most people and fit to -he does not lack of energy in the slightest. I had a intact male gsd who easily put the pounds on after he reached middle age as his metabolism slowed down as what usually happens with age. Overfeeding is what contributes to overweight animals- neutered or intact-knowing when to adjust the amount given is important.


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Sorry (a little) to steal the thread. Have you had them together in the presence of mares? My understanding is that they will get along from young age on and without mares in the area. Just curious.
When I was riding horses in the 70's and 80'sin Europe stallions were gelded as yearlings. Potential breeding stock was left intact until they made it through conformation tests, proofed working ability and allowed to, I believe, sire 10 foals who were also judged. If approved they were listed in the registry as a breeding stallion. If not, they were gelded. These were very popular as riding horses; trained with stallion looks.
I have never had a spayed or neutered dog in my whole life. Never have had unwanted puppies because I watch over the bitches when they are in heat like they are teenage daughters. One Russian Wolfhound I had was given a vasectomy after he has been collected by the pound. He was such a shy, soft dog he needed all his testosterone. So I found a vet that would do a vasectomy. It is a bandaid operation.

My stallions (I have had four) were and are trained that interacting with mares while under saddle is strictly forbidden. No looking, no talking. If they look or talk this will escalate so their head is pulled around and they are circled until paying attention to their rider. When a certain special halter is put on they know they will be bred to a mare but they must lead properly to her.

One problem for domestic stallions is that they are often kept locked up in stalls. They do not have a natural life. In nature, stallions who cannot win a herd of mares live in bachelor bands. My stallion lives with a buddy stallion in a big pasture. They can run and kick and bite each other and groom each other. One is a black Arabian. The other is a cream colored mini stallion only 35" tall.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all for the response! Here is mine:

I am very aware that neutering won't 'fix' a dog's behaviour, but I was hoping it would help. I AM thinking of getting a new trainer, since we started with that trainer, he has not nipped at strangers (1 out of 10 times now, as opposed to 9 out of 10 before). But her method was very basic that I could have thought that alone, so I might get a new trainer in the future. And it's very true, my dog is literally on his adolescent year(s), I needed to be reminded of that!

Thank you for the suggestion but I'm not gonna do vasectomy, I weighed out the options between that and neutering with my last vet, I'd rather do neutering.

'Neutered dogs are more dog-aggressive' YES! WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?? My boy was attacked twice months ago, for no apparent reason. By 'attacked' I mean full on attack, the other dog grabbed my boy's neck, pulled it to the ground and got on top of him about to rip face off! One of those 2 attacks was by a 120lb neutered male GSD. It COMPLETELY took me by surprise that I just froze, thankfully my friends at the park came in right away to get that dog off of mine. We discussed why the attack had happened and since we all were there to witness, we came to the conclusion it was most likely because my pup was intact and the other wasn't! So the attacker could smell my pup's 'junk' so to speak. I was quite new on the whole topic by that time, I was like whaaaaaaaat....... Ok......
 

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Wait...your trainer is telling you to neuter your dog due to TRAINING issues???

When you take away the hormones and create an imbalance, it's highly likely a dog will be more aggressive, especially a female. the other dog attacked because he was allowed to attack. Period. There is no way an attack like you described didn't come without warning to the owner many times over.

If you have no females and you can keep him from breeding AND you find a trainer that actually trains, there is no reason to neuter him.

Where are you again? For some reason I'm thinking the UK?
 

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I think I'm gonna have more trainings on NILIF and leave it command. Starting today. Plus my pup has developed this 'I'm alpha' to littler younger pups. I know that ADULTS do tell off puppies to teach them how to behave, but I think mine is just being a brat who recently has come to notice how big and strong he is. So I'm gonna be the one to tell him off next time.

With toys... It's ridiculous. Once I was at the park and this lady came in, brought a BAG full of dog toys and just started to throw it around like an effin santa claus. I couldn't believe it. What a stupid, STUPID, irresponsible thing to do. Really honestly I couldn't believe the level of stupidity. I saw one person who came in with a pit puppy thanking her, 'Oh my God you're such a santa claus! Thank you for all these toys!' not long after, a fight broke in between 2 dogs who wanted the same toy. ? I COULDN'T believe my eyes that day. Just PURE stupidity.

Ever since my dog has exhibit toy possessiveness, I have tried to get toys out of the big dog area everytime I see one lying around within proximity. But there ain't nothing I can do with tennis balls. They're everywhere.

One thing that scares me is when he finds a toy and another dog tugs on it, and they're playing tug o' war. Once the other dog owner tried to break it up in the middle of the war, he ended up getting bit by his own dog (minor, just a scratch on his finger, thankfully). So now should my boy is engaged on a tug o' war, I tell the other dog owner to wait until one of them wins, don't get in between. Only then, we can dispose of the tug rope safely... Hopefully. I play tug o war with mine too at home, SOLID release command and pull command. But he listens only to ME.
 

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He is afraid of food in food bowls, I'm saying afraid, afraid. Ears down, body low, tails tucked, eyes uneasy. I know I need a dog behaviourist or psychologist for that, not a dog trainer. But he drinks water just fine. I might try the cookie sheet thing! Great suggestion ?

I too am happen to be in Equestrian ever since I can remember, or at least I was (on hiatus since moving to the US lol). I think stallions and intact dogs are 2 very different creatures. The effect of not having the testosterone is far more prominent in horses.

Reading all of you's responses, now I'm thinking of waiting till 4 lol.

I started a thread not long ago on 'How much did your GSD grow from 1 to 3 years?' some of them even grew up until they are 4. So.....
 
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