Does Neutering Change A Dog's Behavior?

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Although you love your boy doggie to bits, you might not necessarily love the classic hormonally charged behavior of male canine adolescence and adulthood. Fortunately, neutering often stops -- or at least noticeably decreases -- the anxious, restless and often aggressive behavioral patterns that emerge with sexual maturity. Phew.


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Aggressive Behavior

When a male dog is neutered, the desire to behave aggressively with other canine peers tends to go away. Testosterone is associated with aggression, and neutering surgery entails greatly reducing levels of the hormone. If a dog isn't driven by the intense desire to mate, he won't feel the need to partake in fierce physical battles with other rival dogs, either. When male dogs behave aggressively toward each other, it's often because they're fighting over the attentions of a receptive female.

Less Wandering


One of the most worrisome aspects of having an unfixed male dog in your life is the wandering factor. Hormonal male dogs are motivated by a strong need to leave their homes and find "in season" female dogs for mating, whether they're right next door or blocks away. Whether he tries to run away while you're out walking him or he attempts to break out through the windows, it can be extremely frightening. Since neutered dogs usually cease harboring these feelings, they generally remain more focused and attentive to their lives at home -- and less preoccupied with going outside and mating. Neutering a dog also usually reduces frustrating vocalization -- think persistent howling.



Mounting stances in dogs are more than a little awkward, especially when your guests can see -- yikes. Humping in canines can indeed signify a variety of different things, from dominance to playtime. However, it also often can indicate sexuality. Whether your pooch constantly tries to hump your spayed pet poodle or the legs of your coffee table, neutering him just might be the way to put an end to it.

Bye to Urine Marking

Unfixed dogs with hormones racing madly through their bodies usually want everyone around them to know it. They often communicate this to others by, unfortunately, marking things with urine. If you notice yucky wet spots by your front door, there's a strong chance your pet is trying to get the female cocker spaniel across the street to notice him -- sigh. If you neuter your pet, this inclination likely will go away. If he has no reason to want a female dog's attention, he probably won't feel compelled to mark.


Spaying Female Dogs

Neutering male dogs can reduce a lot of frustrating actions, and the same applies to spaying female dogs. Spayed female dogs don't go into estrus, and as a result don't experience the behaviors that go along with the cycle -- namely antsy behavioral patterns, reduced attention span, anxiety, inordinate genital licking and bloody genital discharge.

Set Up Neutering Surgery

If you want to deter the typical behaviors that are linked to male canine sexual maturity, the ASPCA recommends neutering your cutie while he's still a puppy, prior to 6 months old. Dogs often become physically mature around this time, and if you neuter before then, you might stop a lot of behaviors from ever popping up. The same is true for spaying female dogs. Discuss with your veterinarian the optimal safe time for fixing your puppy or adult doggie.


By Naomi Millburn


The Merck Veterinary Manual: Behavioral Problems of Dogs
American Humane Association: Spaying/Neutering
ASPCA: How Will Neutering Change My Dog?
ASPCA: Spay-Neuter
ASPCA: Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
The Humane Society of the United States: Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet

About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.