Neutering - does it really change behavior?

For those of you who have had a male basenji neutered after you've had them for a while, does it actually change their behavior? Are they less aggressive? do they hump less? does it affect their prey drive?

And as for the health benefits, does it really lower the chances of prostate cancer?

Just wondering about other peoples' experience with Male B's…

It is not a magic fix for all behavior problems but taking the hormones out of the equation does make things easier. My experience with Nicky who is dog reactive, having been attacked by dogs pretty much every year of his life when out on walks, is that it made it easier for him to focus on training. He still gets worked up during breeding season but he is so much better than when he was intact.

I guess the best way to describe it is that it takes the edge off. You will still need to do training.

Basenji Mix

It has not changed Duke's behavior. He's been neutered almost 2 years @ 6 months of age. I could understand a reduction with male hormone aggression, but I wouldn't see a difference in Duke because he was neutered so young. Unless one wants to breed their male, two good reasons to neuter is to 1) remove their drive to breed and reduce the need to wander in search of a female, 2) remove all possibility for reproduction.

I don't know the statistics for reduction in prostrate cancer.

Jack was neutered very young at the shelter he was in….I think it was about 8 weeks old. He definitely still humps, but I don't know if it is more or less than before.

@lvoss:

It is not a magic fix for all behavior problems but taking the hormones out of the equation does make things easier. My experience with Nicky who is dog reactive, having been attacked by dogs pretty much every year of his life when out on walks, is that it made it easier for him to focus on training. He still gets worked up during breeding season but he is so much better than when he was intact.

I guess the best way to describe it is that it takes the edge off. You will still need to do training.

I would agree with all of the above. Querk was never a really high drive dog; neither dog reactive, or crazy during breeding season (except when our females were actually at the point of ovulation). So I didn't really see a whole lot of change in his behavior after his neuter last summer (age 8). Except he doesn't blink an eye when the females are in heat now. He is still crabby when the other dogs wake him up. He still has wild fits of crazy play once a day. He still rips up fast food bags if he can get to them 😉

IMO, there is no reason NOT to neuter a dog unless you (or his breeder) are really sure there are qualities about him that you really feel must be passed, on and can't be found other places. And even then, you can have his semen collected and stored (for about $100/yr in our area) for when you want to use it, and neuter him now. I think spayed/neutered dogs make much better pets. I think it is easier for them to concentrate on training and less on finding mates.

Oh, and yes it probably would help humping….but it really depends on what circumstances the humping is happening in. Humping occurs for various reasons...status, play, nervousness, excitiment, and sexual play...so less testosterone can help some of these situations, it doesn't change them all.

And, I have read that neutering reduces the likelihood of prostate cancer...but I have no statistics to point to. It definitely reduces the risk of testicular cancer 😉

@Quercus:

IMO, there is no reason NOT to neuter a dog unless you (or his breeder) are really sure there are qualities about him that you really feel must be passed, on and can't be found other places. And even then, you can have his semen collected and stored (for about $100/yr in our area) for when you want to use it, and neuter him now. I think spayed/neutered dogs make much better pets. I think it is easier for them to concentrate on training and less on finding mates.

I had Nicky collected prior to neutering. It is a good option, if the breeder wants to keep him in a breeding program but you would like to neuter. The price for collection and storage varies with the company used. The one I use charges $45/vial for collection and $60/year for up to 30 vials for storage. This also gives the breeder flexibility to use the boy whenever the time is right and not have to worry about trying to find the right mate in a specific time frame.

This message got posted twice and I can't figure out how to delete it. All I could do was edit it.

I should add that it helped with humping but it doesn't get rid of it completely. I think it really depends on why they hump.

There are some statistics on prostate cancer and though it does decrease risk, risk in dogs is not very high in the first place. The bigger benefits are in behavior.

How young is too young for a dog to be neutered? I only ask because I thought 6 months was the youngest possible but my friend just got a puppy from a shelter [who I would bet anything was not 8 weeks when she got him…he's a lab & sharpei mix & was actually smaller at "8 weeks" than Dallas was] but when she got him he was fixed already as it's shelter policy. Makes sense of course but I just didn't know it was physically possible…

As I've been told, It can change the behavior quite a bit if neutered around 1 year (late) but if neutered closer to 6 months, the adult behaviors haven't really come yet, so there won't be much (if any) change in the behavior. It all really depends on how much the dog has matured, but the only real thing to do is training.

wow, thanks for all of your input! I love the info on this forum!

Well, I have been recently thinking about having Lenny neutered… my original agreement w/ the breeder is that I would be his show home and that it would take her about a year to finish him (and i realize now that its not something that can have a timeframe accurately applied to it), and then he could be neutered and be purely a pet home. Well, it has been 2 years now and he has not yet won any points in any of the shows he's gone to (she says mostly cause he doesn't stand still on the block) and now that i've moved away from the breeder its obviously not possible for her to show him. She had talked about finding someone out here to show him for her, but its been 6 months and nothing has materialized from that search. i don't think she has looked into it much yet though, she has some of her own things going on that probably make it less of a priority. But she now says he probably won't be to his "prime" showing days for about 3 more years and wants him to stay intact.

So now I'm not sure what to do. I was trying to stay true to our original agreement of keeping him intact, but i really never planned to keep him intact indefinitely, which is what it seems like its turning into. If he's not ready to be shown, then there's no point in spending the $$ to do it, but I was just not expecting to keep him intact indefinitely.

He has been a ton better at the dog park, mostly cause I figured out that a lot of his aggression was because he was on leash. He still sometimes nips at dogs as they come into the park, and I'm working on how to distract him when new dogs come in (any tips are welcomed). Once he nips them once, he could care less about them... and then continues to play and run. He has been humping more recently... but it might be a dominance thing since lots of the lucky recipients are male.

So, I think he could really benefit from "taking the edge off"... I actually get sad sometimes when he goes into his crazy zone and I can't get him back. And if neutering him would help us to focus more on training, I think it would be great. Not to mention, neutering is obviously the responsible thing to do as a pet owner. I'm just not sure how to handle this situation... I did say I would keep him intact, but it was always "for a year or so"... and now it seems like an indefinite thing... which I'm not sure I'm ok with....

@Ninabeana26:

How young is too young for a dog to be neutered? I only ask because I thought 6 months was the youngest possible but my friend just got a puppy from a shelter [who I would bet anything was not 8 weeks when she got him…he's a lab & sharpei mix & was actually smaller at "8 weeks" than Dallas was] but when she got him he was fixed already as it's shelter policy. Makes sense of course but I just didn't know it was physically possible…

Early spay and neuter is really popular in shelters…obviously because they can place the dogs with no fear of them reproducing later, at an early age. I *think six WEEKS is the earliest a skilled vet can do a spay or neuter. It is quite a bit trickier, particularly the neuter since usually the testicles haven't dropped down into the scrotum yet. The spay is pretty much the same procedure, just smaller...but vets do spay and neuter or rabbits, ferrets, etc...so small isn't necessarily an issue. Anesthesia in baby puppies (or baby anythings) is more of a concern...but the vast majority of these operations are successful.

Personally, I would avoid spaying and neutering my animals prior to six months, and usually I would wait until one year. The endocrine system is very interelated, and I think it *may be detrimental to remove the sex hormones prior to all the systems being 'complete'. But, I won't criticize shelters for doing what they need to try to stem the number of unwanted pets.

Yeah, I read somewhere that for Basenjis in particular, the best age is just around 10-11 months.

@Tayda_Lenny:

wow, thanks for all of your input! I love the info on this forum!

Well, I have been recently thinking about having Lenny neutered… my original agreement w/ the breeder is that I would be his show home and that it would take her about a year to finish him (and i realize now that its not something that can have a timeframe accurately applied to it), and then he could be neutered and be purely a pet home. Well, it has been 2 years now and he has not yet won any points in any of the shows he's gone to (she says mostly cause he doesn't stand still on the block) and now that i've moved away from the breeder its obviously not possible for her to show him. She had talked about finding someone out here to show him for her, but its been 6 months and nothing has materialized from that search. i don't think she has looked into it much yet though, she has some of her own things going on that probably make it less of a priority. But she now says he probably won't be to his "prime" showing days for about 3 more years and wants him to stay intact.

So now I'm not sure what to do. I was trying to stay true to our original agreement of keeping him intact, but i really never planned to keep him intact indefinitely, which is what it seems like its turning into. If he's not ready to be shown, then there's no point in spending the $$ to do it, but I was just not expecting to keep him intact indefinitely.

He has been a ton better at the dog park, mostly cause I figured out that a lot of his aggression was because he was on leash. He still sometimes nips at dogs as they come into the park, and I'm working on how to distract him when new dogs come in (any tips are welcomed). Once he nips them once, he could care less about them... and then continues to play and run. He has been humping more recently... but it might be a dominance thing since lots of the lucky recipients are male.

So, I think he could really benefit from "taking the edge off"... I actually get sad sometimes when he goes into his crazy zone and I can't get him back. And if neutering him would help us to focus more on training, I think it would be great. Not to mention, neutering is obviously the responsible thing to do as a pet owner. I'm just not sure how to handle this situation... I did say I would keep him intact, but it was always "for a year or so"... and now it seems like an indefinite thing... which I'm not sure I'm ok with....

I would tell her all of what you just said here. If he is really that important to her breeding program, you can arrange to have him collected then neutered. In three years, she can evaluate whether or not he still fits what she needs for breeding, whether or not he is intact…kwim? He will still be the same dog. If it is just a show thing...well, things happen, people move, dogs don't mature at the rate or level we want them to. I think she would be understanding that an intact dog just doesn't work for your situation right now. I certainly would, as a breeder.

Good luck...these things can be touchy. Sometimes the breeder doesn't want exactly the same thing the owner does, but usually there is room for compromise. Don't be afraid to explain your concerns 🙂

Before he was neutered at 3.5 years old, Magnum would hump people when he got excited during play. That behavior completely stopped after he was neutered (it's been 8 mos.).

It was such a relief, because I could not get most people to believe that it had nothing to do with sex, and they ended up being very wary of Magnum and unwilling to interact with him.

I was in the same situation as you, Tayda. Magnum's breeder wanted to show him to his championship, which she figured would take about a year. Well, due to his SA issues, he gained a bit of weight, and after a couple of shows with no points (he was a major away from his CH), she decided to just let him be my pet and allowed him to be neutered (without lambasting me for allowing him to gain some weight–LOL!). Thank goodness! She hadn't planned on using him in her breeding program anyway--that's why she sold him to me. She did, however, want him to have a CH.

Maybe if you had a heart-to-heart with Lenny's breeder, you could get her to see your point of view? Lenny can't be the only dog she's hanging her hopes on as a CH? Personally, I wouldn't get him neutered without the breeder's okay, but then I work in a law firm. Does your contract say anything about it?

@Tayda_Lenny:

wow, thanks for all of your input! I love the info on this forum!

Well, I have been recently thinking about having Lenny neutered… my original agreement w/ the breeder is that I would be his show home and that it would take her about a year to finish him (and i realize now that its not something that can have a timeframe accurately applied to it), and then he could be neutered and be purely a pet home. Well, it has been 2 years now and he has not yet won any points in any of the shows he's gone to (she says mostly cause he doesn't stand still on the block) and now that i've moved away from the breeder its obviously not possible for her to show him. She had talked about finding someone out here to show him for her, but its been 6 months and nothing has materialized from that search. i don't think she has looked into it much yet though, she has some of her own things going on that probably make it less of a priority. But she now says he probably won't be to his "prime" showing days for about 3 more years and wants him to stay intact.

So now I'm not sure what to do. I was trying to stay true to our original agreement of keeping him intact, but i really never planned to keep him intact indefinitely, which is what it seems like its turning into. If he's not ready to be shown, then there's no point in spending the $$ to do it, but I was just not expecting to keep him intact indefinitely.

He has been a ton better at the dog park, mostly cause I figured out that a lot of his aggression was because he was on leash. He still sometimes nips at dogs as they come into the park, and I'm working on how to distract him when new dogs come in (any tips are welcomed). Once he nips them once, he could care less about them... and then continues to play and run. He has been humping more recently... but it might be a dominance thing since lots of the lucky recipients are male.

So, I think he could really benefit from "taking the edge off"... I actually get sad sometimes when he goes into his crazy zone and I can't get him back. And if neutering him would help us to focus more on training, I think it would be great. Not to mention, neutering is obviously the responsible thing to do as a pet owner. I'm just not sure how to handle this situation... I did say I would keep him intact, but it was always "for a year or so"... and now it seems like an indefinite thing... which I'm not sure I'm ok with....

If you don't mind, who is his breeder? While yes, some B's do not mature until they are 3 or so, if you add 3yrs to his current age that would be 5? Most dogs are typically finished by then. And if you are now not near your breeding and she is trying to find someone to show him, could get really messy… again IMO. Not sure that I would accept that he didn't get any points because he would not stand still?... I know many, many B's that live in pet homes that the breeders show them and they are just fine in the ring (with a little practice) and it is not like you let your "kids" run wild... they do have basic training.....
If it were me, I would offer to have him collected (at her expense) but that you really want to have him neutered.

Yes, I have expressed these concerns to her, and while she is honest that she does want him as an option for breeding… is open to coming to a compromise with me. So that is good. She did say that neutering him may not help with the aggression or humping... but I don't think any of her dogs are spayed/neutered, so i wanted to see what the experience on this forum was with neutering/spaying an "older" dog and how that affected their behavior. I'm definitely not trying to bad mouth her... so I hope thats not how it is sounding.

Question: Once he is neutered, he can not show and therefore can not finish his championship, and then probably wouldn't be bred... is that right? If that's true, then collecting from him and then neutering him wouldn't solve the issue, would it?

@Tayda_Lenny:

Question: Once he is neutered, he can not show and therefore can not finish his championship, and then probably wouldn't be bred… is that right? If that's true, then collecting from him and then neutering him wouldn't solve the issue, would it?

Having a championship or not doesn't change the quality of the animal. If the animal is breeding quality and has something to offer the breed then not having its championship shouldn't keep it from being bred. Just as having a championship doesn't mean that dog should be bred or that anyone would be interested in using them. If the breeder thinks he is something she wants in her breeding program, collecting him allows her to keep that option open while allowing you to neuter your boy. If her only reason for keeping him intact is that she wants to have a championship on him then you still have an issue but these are two separate things. Also, he can still be titled in all other events except conformation so could still "prove" his value.

@Tayda_Lenny:

Yes, I have expressed these concerns to her, and while she is honest that she does want him as an option for breeding… is open to coming to a compromise with me. So that is good. She did say that neutering him may not help with the aggression or humping... but I don't think any of her dogs are spayed/neutered, so i wanted to see what the experience on this forum was with neutering/spaying an "older" dog and how that affected their behavior. I'm definitely not trying to bad mouth her... so I hope thats not how it is sounding.

Question: Once he is neutered, he can not show and therefore can not finish his championship, and then probably wouldn't be bred... is that right? If that's true, then collecting from him and then neutering him wouldn't solve the issue, would it?

Well, she's right that it *may not solve the aggression and humping. You just wouldn't know until you try…it certainly wouldn't make it worse though 😉

And correct, he couldn't be shown after being neutered. But that is where the compromise comes in. He certainly could still be used in a breeding program without a championship title. Having had a handful of judges award a dog for his physical merit doesn't mean the dog should be bred, nor does not having a championship title mean that a dog absolutely shouldn't be bred. It is up to the breeder to evaluate what the merits of the dog are, and whether he or she should use them in the breeding program.....not the judges' decision.

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