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Advised not to castrate young Labrador but struggling

(26 Posts)
freshstart24 Wed 04-Apr-18 16:44:50

We have a wonderful 13 month old Labrador. We've been advised by so many people including Dog trainer and vet that ideally we should not castrate him until he is much older.

I accept that current best practice is not to castrate as it increases risk of joint issues and can make dogs more fearful and as such prone to aggression.

In so many ways he is a wonderful dog. Calm at home, happily sleeps all day. Enjoys long off lead walks, great recall, obedient and loving. When he's not around he is passive towards other dogs, if challenged he is always the less dominant dog....

However he gets aroused so easily and he then has only one thing in his mind. Last week he actually ejaculated on the back a dog who he was being walked with- one moment he was happily playing and not being jumpy, a few seconds later and he had jumped on and ejaculated!

He took a liking to my mum's smaller dog, mum picked up her Dog and ours started humping my mum's leg.

I am now avoiding other dogs so as to not allow him to invade their space in a sexual way.

I feel that it's a shame to have to structure walks so as to avoid all other dogs as 95% of the time he is fine. But I don't want to take the risk....

So now he is loosing the chance to interact with other dogs, our walks take a lot of planning, and I am stressed if I see another dog.

I absolutely want the best for my lovely boy. He is so good except for this problem- I feel that it will be impossible to train it out of him as his urges are so strong!

He does go to daycare sometimes and they say he is sometimes humpy but generally fine- he runs out with the pack and if he gets too excitable he is put on a lead.

Any thoughts / advice?

OP’s posts: |
InspiredByIntegrity Wed 04-Apr-18 16:56:45

We had a lab and the vet said anytime after 12 months old was fine. He lived a very long & healthy life. Castration & a stye on his eyelid were the only ops he ever had.

InspiredByIntegrity Wed 04-Apr-18 16:58:04

Didn't have an ounce of aggression in him. He was one big daft lump.

freshstart24 Wed 04-Apr-18 17:00:45

Thanks for that inspired. He sounds like a wonderful boy. Did you notice any changes in him after castration?

OP’s posts: |
RawhideRingpiece Wed 04-Apr-18 17:08:11

If you’re unsure speak to your vet about temporary chemical castration to see if the effect would be worth going the whole hog.

Wolfiefan Wed 04-Apr-18 17:12:18

Is it sexual though or is it just excitement?

freshstart24 Wed 04-Apr-18 17:13:52

I've heard about chemical castration. I'm thinking though that it will affect his growth and as such increase his risk of skeletal issues. Good idea though, will discuss with vet.

OP’s posts: |
Balearica Wed 04-Apr-18 17:19:42

I would have him castrated TBH. The longer he has the sexualised behaviour the more likely it is to become habit even if he is later castrated.

I hung on for 18 months with one of my dogs (not a lab admittedly, but allegedly a breed where lots of owners do not bother to castrate) because I really did not want to have him done, but eventually reluctantly decided to because of the humping and ejaculating and mounting small toys and cats (you can imagine how pleased they were). I have never regretted it, he is much easier to live with and not having dog ejaculate all over the sofa is a definite bonus.

freshstart24 Wed 04-Apr-18 17:21:27

Wolfie it's hard to tell the difference sometimes. I think there is an element of both and that sometimes one leads to the other.

Sometimes it is definitely sexual as I can see his penis, and the ejaculation is sexual....

Whatever it is though I feel it's unfair in other dogs for him to be allowed to behave in this way.

We have worked hard to train him and he's been fantastic with this one exception. The trainer we have used feels it's incredibly hard to train a dog to ignore sexual urges, and I think she may be right.

OP’s posts: |
Soubriquet Wed 04-Apr-18 17:24:32

I would neuter actually. If he was a larger breed,younger or female I would have held off but I would do it now

simbobs Wed 04-Apr-18 19:11:05

Watching with interest. I have a 5 month old Lab pup (male) and am persuaded to wait until he is 12 months or even more. We had our last Lab castrated at 7 months as he already had hip dysplasia and I wanted to avoid the possibility of him passing it on accidentally. He never reached full maturity, therefore, and so never expressed sexualised behaviour. Popular wisdom seems to have moved on since then. Our puppy trainer said to do it if they are overly sexual, and it sounds as though it is affecting your enjoyment of your dog. The reason being that it becomes an established habit, as others have said. FWIW guide dogs are neutered at 12 months. Where we live we would not be able to put an entire male in daycare, so for me this would have to be a factor; evidently it isn't an issue for you. How long has he been this way? I would be interested in whether chemical castration would make a difference, but have not asked our vet about this as my pup is too young.

Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Apr-18 19:54:40

We had our Goldie boy done at 14 months.
Dd can invite friends round without them getting humped and the doggy daycare people say he’s a different dog and the other dogs play with him now instead of snapping at him for humping them
His behaviour is better and he is calmer, although he wasn’t aggressive before
Definitely the right decision for us

simbobs Wed 04-Apr-18 23:03:24

I do know from experience with our previous Lab that neutered dogs can be rather aggressive towards entire dogs. Ours was the most laid-back, sweetest creature in the world, but if an unneutered boy tried to interact with him he would growl at them once he got to about 4yrs. Testosterone envy? My pup occasionally humps his toys, which I have been told to discourage, as it may make him more likely to hump people/dogs. I just let our previous dog get on with it and he never humped anything else at all. I don't know whether that had anything to do with neutering.

freshstart24 Thu 05-Apr-18 07:25:50

Simbobs that is our experience too. Neutered dogs often decide they hate our dog.

I've lost count of the times we've encountered another dog and been reassured by the owner that it's friendly. So we allow DDog to say hello and he gets anything from growled at to full on bowled over with teeth etc.. remarkably he's never been hurt, I think the grabbing with teeth is a warning but it's still horrible to witness. DDog has never seemed to play any part in this- it happens before he's really had a chance to do anything and acts in a very submissive way.

The owner of the dog displaying aggression is generally suprised, mortified and confused.

Our dog walker said it's common with entire males- other dogs hate them and show aggression. She said that his testosterone is peaking atm and will lower with age, but it is so tricky.

It's another reason we avoid other dogs whilst out walking.

He has mates at daycare though and they get in fine. Daycare people know him their dogs well though and match the 'packs'.

OP’s posts: |
simbobs Thu 05-Apr-18 07:50:20

So have you decided to just let nature take its course and hope that his testosterone levels drop quickly enough to let you enjoy life? I am genuinely interested. Current pup much more lively than his predecessor, and I don't think I could cope with the experience that you describe.

freshstart24 Thu 05-Apr-18 08:35:45

I'm undecided. He is due for his booster injections soon so I'm going to discuss with vet then.

I know the vets preference is to leave it for longer. He feels this is best for dogs health and temperament.

However, I think we need to discuss the difficulties that we are having.

I think he has stopped growing, albeit earlier than we expected. This may be due to leaving him intact as I believe that castration affects their growth by actually removing the hormonal signals that it's time to stop growing. So I'm hoping this may reduce risk of skeletal problems following castration.

Most of the doggy people we know believe its much better to leave a dog intact so I do feel guilty and torn.

Hence me looking for experiences here.....

OP’s posts: |
simbobs Thu 05-Apr-18 11:38:02

You will find quite different advice from different vets, I think. Ours will whip 'em off any time after a dog starts cocking his leg. I think that research on this subject has moved on, but not all vets seem to have moved with it. Yours seems more up to date.
From what I know from discussing it with a dog trainer they are skeletally complete by this age, but will continue to fill out. The shape of an an entire male ends up being quite different from a castrated one. See this link (Sorry, not very good at this).
My last Lab was very much the shape of the one on the left (which I kind of prefer), but I think it a good illustration. It is an american site, and they tend to be vehemently on one side or the other.
I was all in favour of neutering at about 10mths but feel much more conflicted now. Please keep us posted on here as to what you decide.

Nesssie Thu 05-Apr-18 15:31:49

Always desexed our dogs (male and female) all large breeds (german shepherd mix, goldendoodles, bull mastiffs) at about 1 year old.
Never had any developmental, behavioural, physical problems. All well adjusted, friendly, healthy.

As soon as the boys started thinking with the wrong part of the body, the balls came off! Bitches had it after their first season.

Only potential problem with one boy who was about 10months at tiem of op, was he gained weight rapidly afterwards, but we took up canicross and he is normal weight again. He was far too horny and dominant so they came off early.

Wolfiefan Thu 05-Apr-18 21:21:18

I'm guessing by your use of "desexed" that you aren't in the UK. It isn't recommended to spay or neuter too early. Especially not larger breeds.
And dogs aren't dominant. Pack theory has been disproven.

freshstart24 Thu 05-Apr-18 22:47:02

Wolfie is a Labrador a large breed would you say? Ours is a small boy, at 13 months he's stopped growing taller but I feel he has some filling out to do. Hard to be sure though as he is from working lines so he is likely to be naturally leaner looking than some labs.

I want to wait as long as I can, but it is becoming difficult. I'll spare you the details suffice to say he air humped on lead today after seeing another dog, but not getting closer than 10m, and then he ejaculated. Thank goodness other did Walker was oblivious.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Thu 05-Apr-18 23:10:16

It's not straightforward. When I was a child (I'm old!) everyone neutered girls to prevent unwanted pregnancies and pyometra. Nobody neutered boys unless they absconded or were aggressive.
Modern ideas suggest it's more about training and neutering may not make much difference. You can do a chemical neuter to see how they respond. I know my breed it's recommended to wait until at least 2.

Littleredboat Thu 05-Apr-18 23:16:53

Tens of thousands of dogs have been neutered through the years and been absolutely fine. I would and have neutered at the first opportunity, always. It’s too much of a ballache (pun intended) otherwise.

spacecadet48 Thu 05-Apr-18 23:18:50

Interesting view from your vet. Ours asked us every time we took him why he wasn't neutered. My OH had an issue with it, however our dog was a bloody nightmare, humped anyone who came in the house, even climbed onto my friends back, scented constantly when out for walks, humped male and female dogs at any opportunity. Got him done aged 2 1/2. Vet wasn't even sure if it would make a difference to his behaviour as she thought he was too old now. Anyway two weeks after the op...humping completely stopped. Speak to your vet

Wolfiefan Thu 05-Apr-18 23:22:21

No dog should be neutered until fully grown and mature. Advice in the past may have been different but we know better now.

phoolani Thu 05-Apr-18 23:24:46

Mine isn’t a large breed, but I would be very cautious about neutering if I had another dog. He did display some annoying sexual behaviours but he was easy to deflect and in the end we got him done (at 18 months) because he was attacked several times by neutered dogs. But his behaviour changed completely and not for the better. He’s so timid now he’s a pain in the arse on the lead - he’ll ‘defence attack’ any dog larger than him and he now rarely plays with other dogs which used to be his favourite thing in the world. I regret getting him done tbh. Labs reach maturity relatively late, I think? I’d wait for a bit and see if his sexual behaviour lessens..

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