Neutering to reduce anxiety?

I know I've chosen to keep my B intact since he hasn't had any issues, but it seems within the last few weeks he has been having problems.

He's about 14 months old and is just now showing more anxiety. He has started to chew on furniture while i'm away and is more anxious when I am leaving. His stools are not as firm as they were before. I know my vet mentioned that can easily be caused by anxiety.

So the question is, will neutering improve these behaviors? Is this the right thing to do?

There are plenty of pros and cons for leaving him intact or neutering him, but I would rather have a valid reason to have it done. He has always behaved very well. No counter surfing, no jumping on people, no aggression problems, very calm most of the time. He just always seems a bit more anxious than a normal dog. Mostly when he's out and about. At home he's relaxed but he can still be anxious at times.

Fortunately the furniture damage is very isolated and he has not been consistant. Exercise is not the problem. He and I walked several miles this weekend if not more. He gets walked daily. He is very crate phobic. I would crate him but i'm afraid he will injure himself by cracking/breaking a tooth.

Any input would be appreciated.

Do you know if there are any in-tact dogs in your area? And that can mean blocks away…? Certainly neutering him will reduce that stress when you are out with him.. Also Basenjis know when breeding season is.. so come August thru October, it is not uncommon for B's to be stressed regardless if there is a bitch around in season or not during those times. My OJ used to whine and pace for the entire month of October... And he is at that "teenage" year....

@tanza:

Do you know if there are any in-tact dogs in your area? And that can mean blocks away…? Certainly neutering him will reduce that stress when you are out with him.. Also Basenjis know when breeding season is.. so come August thru October, it is not uncommon for B's to be stressed regardless if there is a bitch around in season or not during those times. My OJ used to whine and pace for the entire month of October... And he is at that "teenage" year....

You know I'm not sure. We have probably close to 40+ dogs in our building. He went 5 straight months with no problems. So I thought maybe it was a breeding season thing, did not know it was Aug-Oct.

Considering it's May, could it possibly be a different breed that is in heat? That was my assumption originally.

He was having a problem with going to the bathroom outside in a timely matter. That only lasted a week. So he has had some behavior issues lately but it has been very isolated and inconsistent. All of this started within the last few weeks. He turned a year old back in late-March.

I am not a behaviorist, but i'd say if his anxiety is caused by or related to a bitch in season (somewhere with in MILES of your home), I'd say YES. If it were fall when the basenjis (boys and girls) are ususally in season, i'd say probably. Otherwise, it's harder to guess. Have you tried a DAP? I'd try that first. (DAP is available several places; try your favorite dog supply website or amazon and compare prices)

Is he calm when your home and anxious when you leave or go through the motions of leaving? If that's it, sounds more like separation anxiety and I'll look around for Patricia McConnell's booklet on that (try dogwise dot com)

@agilebasenji:

I am not a behaviorist, but i'd say if his anxiety is caused by or related to a bitch in season (somewhere with in MILES of your home), I'd say YES. If it were fall when the basenjis (boys and girls) are ususally in season, i'd say probably. Otherwise, it's harder to guess. Have you tried a DAP? I'd try that first. (DAP is available several places; try your favorite dog supply website or amazon and compare prices)

Is he calm when your home and anxious when you leave or go through the motions of leaving? If that's it, sounds more like separation anxiety and I'll look around for Patricia McConnell's booklet on that (try dogwise dot com)

I will look into the DAP. He is anxious when I am leaving. He gets a ton of energy and usually tries to grab me with his teeth when I'm leaving. Very playful like, but I can tell he is anxious.

When I get home he is very calm. But the behavior I noticed in the last few weeks is that he greets me when i'm home. Already in the Foyer. Normally he's relaxing in the living room and waiting for me to come to him (Gotta love these dogs). So I would strongly correlate the Foyer greetings with the destruction. That's usually the sign that he did some damage that afternoon.

It would be interesting to know if the damage happens shortly after you leave, seeing he is anxious when you are leaving. Do you have a video camera or can you set up a web cam.

I have an intact boy in my house…there was a dog in heat in the neighborhood...the way I knew was because he was more mouthy than normal (nibbling on my arm, that sort of thing) and was slightly more anxious. He doesn't become more destructive during that time, but I'm sure dogs manifest things differently.

One thing I do is make sure the kids have things that are so thoroughly engrossing (kongs, busy buddies, etc.) when I leave that they don't notice me going out the door. Mine are all crated if I'm out all day...in which case, I hide treats throughout their crate (dehydrated liver, fish, that sort of thing), so they have to hunt for those...as well they get a kong and a busy buddy with their breakfast in it.

Also, I second the Patricia McConnell book "I'll Be Home Soon".

If your not going to show or breed your basenji, then why not give the dog some peace of the hormone surge and fix him?

@renaultf1:

It would be interesting to know if the damage happens shortly after you leave, seeing he is anxious when you are leaving. Do you have a video camera or can you set up a web cam.

I have an intact boy in my house…there was a dog in heat in the neighborhood...the way I knew was because he was more mouthy than normal (nibbling on my arm, that sort of thing) and was slightly more anxious. He doesn't become more destructive during that time, but I'm sure dogs manifest things differently.

One thing I do is make sure the kids have things that are so thoroughly engrossing (kongs, busy buddies, etc.) when I leave that they don't notice me going out the door. Mine are all crated if I'm out all day...in which case, I hide treats throughout their crate (dehydrated liver, fish, that sort of thing), so they have to hunt for those...as well they get a kong and a busy buddy with their breakfast in it.

Also, I second the Patricia McConnell book "I'll Be Home Soon".

You know, the spot he was chewing on the couch was quite damp when I got home. So it had to have been closer to the time I was to return home.

I picked up a DAP plug-in. I think this would work better than the collar because he would chew any collar off and this is an in-home issue. Perfect sqft coverage for the area he's in while i'm away. We'll see how this works.

Thanks for the suggestions. 😃

@sharronhurlbut:

If your not going to show or breed your basenji, then why not give the dog some peace of the hormone surge and fix him?

Again, there are pros and cons. I've done my fair share of research on this topic. He has never tried to mount anything, doesn't mark territory, etc.

There hasn't been a behavioral/health reason to neuter him. For his own well being there hasn't been a convincing reason to go with neutering. He's a happy and healthy dog. These anxiety issues are minimal compared to other dogs. He eats well, sleeps well, and is one of the best dogs I've ever had.

Personal choice. 🙂

With the DAP…just remember that you might not notice any result immediately...I think they say it can take up to 30 days. Let us know how it goes. Oh, and sometimes there are coupons on the ComfortZone website and PetEdge has the refills much cheaper than any place I've found.

Yes, but an animal is at the mercy of the hormones in his body.
I understand your point, but I do think this will only get worse, as he is going to be wanting to breed and not allowed to. But your right, personal choice.
Good luck.

@renaultf1:

With the DAP…just remember that you might not notice any result immediately...I think they say it can take up to 30 days. Let us know how it goes. Oh, and sometimes there are coupons on the ComfortZone website and PetEdge has the refills much cheaper than any place I've found.

Yea, I read it takes up to 4 weeks. Considering his anxiety is fairly mild I have patience. Refills online are pretty inexpensive. I'll check for coupons, thanks for the heads up. 😃

While I respect your choice to leave him in-tact… honestly.. if you talk to many US breeders they would advise you to just have him neutered... it really is a pretty easy recovery for them... I have always had mine done when we are finished showing.. and if interested in breeding just had them collected. Basenjis are noted for knowing breeding season, regardless of what is around them... and then add in possible other breeds in season.. and you really have a problem depending on the dog. Some don't really care, others become basket cases if the smell a bitch in season.... IMO.. there is no reason to keep a pet in-tact unless you are showing or wanting to breed.. and if even wanting to breed, there is always collection and frozen.

Here is my experience with my boy. Nicky was intact until he was 7 years old. Anytime there was a bitch in season in my neighborhood he would have increased anxiety to some extent or another. During rut, he would eat 4-5 times his normal amount of food and still lose weight because he was burning so many calories. He has never marked, he has only humped when my girls are in standing heat, nor he did not show other behaviors you may consider typical problems of an intact dog. What he did do was lick things, chew, pace, and was just plain tense. Since being neutered, his weight is stable, he is more relaxed, if he is frustrated he will still do the licking, chewing, pacing things but usually a nice long walk or a good training session fixes that. He is a happier dog overall without the hormones running the show.

These 2 post tell you from 2 professional breeders…you might want to rethink your keeping this boy intact.
Not your your comfort, but more for his.

@sharronhurlbut:

These 2 post tell you from 2 professional breeders…you might want to rethink your keeping this boy intact.
Not your your comfort, but more for his.

I appreciate the additional advice, although there is plenty of research out there that negates the possible behavioral benefits of having a dog neutered.

Having the dog put under alone is a slight risk. It's not exactly common for a dog to pass away after having local anesthesia, but it happens. There are health risks having a dog neutered as well as leaving them intact.

I'm not going to get into a lengthy debate over this, but I'm not unfamiliar with this topic. I created the thread to pinpoint the issue with recent anxiety. If the DAP is effective then I won't have any issues. He's a perfect dog outside of that one isolated problem. I would consider neutering if it was a 100% certainty that it would rid him of his increased anxiety. Although no one can be certain.

Now if he were mounting everyone in sight and creating serious frequent problems, I'd have him neutered immediately. 😉

IMO, the obnoxious behavior that you are using as a marker that neutering is neccessary is something that effects the human more than the dogs whereas the anxiety issues are something that seriously impact the dog but don't necessarily always reach a level where they significantly impact the human. No one can give you a garuntee that neutering will make a difference even if he were humping everything in your house there is no garuntee that neutering will change that behavior. My male still humps when my girls are in standing heat. If you are waiting for 100% assurance to make a decision you will never get it.

My experience with DAP is that when Nicky's anxiety levels were low it helped, during breeding season it took the edge off but he was still losing weight and demonstrating anxiety behaviors.

Its always a personal decision. IMO, it will make your dog a better pet.

@Kananga:

I appreciate the additional advice, although there is plenty of research out there that negates the possible behavioral benefits of having a dog neutered.

Having the dog put under alone is a slight risk. It's not exactly common for a dog to pass away after having local anesthesia, but it happens. There are health risks having a dog neutered as well as leaving them intact.

I'm not going to get into a lengthy debate over this, but I'm not unfamiliar with this topic. I created the thread to pinpoint the issue with recent anxiety. If the DAP is effective then I won't have any issues. He's a perfect dog outside of that one isolated problem. I would consider neutering if it was a 100% certainty that it would rid him of his increased anxiety. Although no one can be certain.

Now if he were mounting everyone in sight and creating serious frequent problems, I'd have him neutered immediately. 😉

As already said, nothing will be with 100% certainty that neutering him will make a total difference… you are the only one that can make that decision... however that said, why would you want to even expose him to the possibles?, if you have no intention of ever breeding him?...and bring into the conversation about cancer that is a concern in male dogs?.. I well understand the difference with the US and our decisions to neuter compared to the thoughts from overseas... however there is nothing in life that can be considered 100%.

I'll tell you my experience with NOT neutering. (Yes it is a personal choice). I had this male years ago. I wanted to breed him so kept him intact, by age 3 he had prostatitus 3 times, almost losing him totally twice, trips to the ER, to the tune of over $1200 each time. (don't forget, this was about 20-25 years ago, can you imagine the cost now? Yikes) Months of recuperation in between, only to fall victim again. I did end up having to neuter him anyway, and could not collect him because he had holes in his prostate gland. I always neuter now, I would rather have a different set of issues that prostatitus again.

Well.. you all know how I feel about neutering.. And I believe Kananga already read enough about the subject to make a decision for herself..

So only on-topic here.. I don't really think the anxiety is from bitches in heat. If he's really only showing this behaviour when you're leaving, I would think he doesn't like to be left alone.. so probably a minor case of sep. anxiety.. I would definitely try to address this, more then neutering him.

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