Should I Neuter MY dog?
You just left the vet’s office following your puppy’s six month check-up. Everything went well; he got his shots and you even managed to hold him still through the dreaded nail clipping portion of the visit. Then, as you were leaving, the vet’s assistant handed you the brochure – “What You Should Know About Neutering.”
As you walk home, you consider the pros and cons of neutering while Rusty (blissfully oblivious that the fate of his genitalia hangs in the balance) trails along beside you. The brochure quotes various reputable sources who all say that the benefits of neutering are many and the risks few. In fact the only downsides the brochure mentions are potential anesthesia reactions and infections of the surgical site.
Your friend Jess had her dog neutered not that long ago though, and you remember her telling you that Gus wasn’t the same afterwards. She said she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but he just didn’t act like he used to, and he felt like a different dog. You wonder – does neutering a dog change his personality?
From what you recall of biology class, you know that neutering would effectively eliminate most of the testosterone Rusty’s body produces. Without that testosterone, would your protective alpha dog suddenly become a docile follower? Rusty is always looking out for you and making sure you are safe; do you really want to risk losing that and instead having a dog that hides under the covers trembling at the sound of a knock on the door? Would Rusty lose his fearlessness along with his fertility?
A tug on the leash brings you back to the present, and you see Rusty proudly lifting his leg and marking as his territory the side of a very expensive luxury car. From across the street at the outdoor cafe, you hear an angered shout of the owner of said car. It seems he witnessed Rusty’s transgression. Ducking around the corner after offering the owner an embarrassed apology, you begin to think that personality changes from neutering may not be all bad. A decreased interest in excessively marking territory would actually be a welcome change.
At home, you go online and do some research; Rusty deserves for you to make an informed decision. Many veterinarians, breeders, and dog owners say that the changes which they noticed in their dogs following neutering were more in behaviors than in actual personality. They observed a decreased frequency of sexual behaviors like marking expensive cars and humping dinner guest’s legs. The neutered dogs were also less likely to become agitated around female dogs. One of the most notable benefits was that the neutered dogs became less focused on other dogs and instead they re-focused on their humans. Un-neutered male dogs can become more aggressive and territorial as they age, so rather than making Rusty completely docile, neutering him may simply temper his protective nature so that it remains at an appropriate level.
Does neutering a dog change his personality?
It’s hard to know for sure, but what is clear is that his behaviors are likely to change for the better. Sorry, Rusty—time to make an appointment with the vet!