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To castrate or not?

(15 Posts)
bobstersmum Mon 20-Aug-18 10:34:09

Hi, we have a 5 and a half month old Jack Russell male, we have had him just over a month. His temperament is very good he's a happy little guy, not yappy at all, but he does pull on the lead and it not getting the hang of recall training.
The vets are recommending to castrate him as they say its better for his long term health and should help him be calmer when out on walks.
However I am dubious, we previously had a male jrt for almost 17 years uncastrated with no problems. I don't want to chop his bits off unless it will definitely benefit him!
Any advice or experience please?

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meadowmeow Mon 20-Aug-18 10:40:31

Do you need him to be entire? If not, take the vets advice.

BiteyShark Mon 20-Aug-18 10:41:31

I was advised to wait until my dog had finished growing before castration (small working cocker spaniel). In fact we had him neutered around 11 months old and it made absolutely no difference to him in any way (behavioural).

At 5 months old your dog will just about be hitting the adolescence time (mine started around 6 months old) and all the training you did will regress as they tend to get selective deafness until you reach the other side.

Castration reduces the 'hormonal sexual behaviour' and to be honest lead pulling and recall is a training issue so I would wait until he has done all his physical growing and keep working on his training especially now he is hitting the difficult months.

Nesssie Mon 20-Aug-18 10:45:48

I would castrate at about a year old.
For all the behavioural/hormonal/health reasons, but also as in my experience, it will make him less likely to be stolen (no good for breeding).
Most doggy day care/home boarders don't take entire males.
Plus he won't react as much if there is a bitch in heat nearby.

missbattenburg Mon 20-Aug-18 11:01:40

It's important, imo, to know exactly what is happening when you are castrating a dog and thus greatly reducing the testosterone levels.

Testosterone has a number of influences but in a nutshell (ha!) it reduces the threshold to aggression and triggers sexual behaviours. This means that a dog is more likely to use aggression at a lower level of provocation than a neutered dog. Sexual behaviours are marking, roaming, mounting, territorial aggression etc.

However, it also increases confidence meaning the dog is less likely to be provoked in the first place. This not only counteracts the above but seems to go further in that a couple of more recent studies have strongly suggested neutered dogs are far more likely to display fear-aggression than intact males.

From a behavioural pov you have to look at the dog you have. Battendog is one who can be nervous sometimes and this is one of the reasons he still has his balls at 13 months old. If I had a dog who was mounting everything, or displaying territorial aggression I may consider neutering (alongside behavioural management techniques) instead.

From a health pov testosterone acts to prevent bones growing too long. An intact male is more likely to be shorter and stockier than one neutered while his bones were still growing. This elongation and additional growth can increase the chances of bones cancers which are more common in neutered than intact (especially when neutered young, in the first couple of years of life).

However, removing the testicles does remove the chance of testicular cancers. I think studies have shown neutered dogs are more likely to die from cancers whereas intact makes are more likely to die from infectious diseases and trauma (e.g. car accident). Presumably because intact males are more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as roaming.

Another reason Battendog is left intact is because he is a big springer - I'd like him to get all his growth well and truly done before messing with his hormones.

For me, I take the view that the testicles are there for all sorts of reasons and so, unless I have a very good reason to remove them, Battendog can keep hold of them. That said, the best any of us can do is read up on the latest science knowledge and make the best decision we can for the dog we have, in the environment we have them in.

fwiw I had no issues finding a walker and day care to take him. I am always wary of theft, though as his massively-obvious pink balls (tmi?) seem to me to be an advertisement to thieves.

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Mon 20-Aug-18 11:02:25

The only behavioural issues that castration solves is scent marking. I will try and find a link to this recent academic study.

So pulling on the lead etc will not change a bit from castration.

I personally would wait to castrate until the dog is fully mature, (unless there are major medical reasons for early castration) depending on size of dog etc I would not do it before 18 months.

I have working dogs and there has been a study on increased cruciate injuries , hip dysplasia, acl injuries due to early castration although only a small percentage.

missbattenburg Mon 20-Aug-18 11:03:09

Sorry, meant to add that in terms of being calmer on walks, 6 months old would be (for me) far too young to give up on thinking training alone could correct.

adaline Mon 20-Aug-18 11:37:14

I think five and a half months is far, far too young to be thinking about castration. He's just a pup - don't they all pull on the lead at that age? Mine is six months and just starting to get the hang of it, but he still pulls when he sees other dogs or people he wants to say hello to.

Lead pulling and recall-training are things you have to work on - castration isn't a magic cure-all for either of those things. Plus at that age he'll be going through his teenage phase and his recall and obedience will go out the window.

Does he go to classes? Ours is starting his second session next month (currently on summer holidays!) and they've really benefitted both him and us. We started working on recall and lead-training in the first lot and I train him in both on every single walk. All our walks are training sessions - take lots of treats out with you and use them. Practise, practise, practise and be consistent - this is a normal puppy/teenage thing, not something to be solved by castration.

bobstersmum Mon 20-Aug-18 11:57:53

Thanks for the input everyone and missbattenburg that was really helpful! I was not even considering castration, as I mentioned we had a male entire dog for a long long time, but the vet seemed to be pushing it on Friday at his monthly health check. I think you have answered my questions and we will wait to see how he turns out in the next year or so. I'm sure our lad will be happy with that decision too!

OP’s posts: |
SlothMama Mon 20-Aug-18 12:01:59

If you plan on neutering then please wait until he's at least one as neutering them too early can cause developmental problems

Dottierichardson Mon 20-Aug-18 12:07:24

My original vet wasn't bothered about castration, and so I left my older dog intact. He later developed painful prostrate problems, anal adenomas and testicular swelling with associated inflammation. All of which made his later life uncomfortable. If I were to have a young dog again, I would probably castrate but slightly later around three, perhaps.

MurunBuchstansagur Mon 20-Aug-18 12:08:25

Vets tend to recommend castrTion/spaying far too early.

Also they often give useless or bad advice about training.

Pulling in lead is a training issue. I really wish vets wouldn’t try to pretend they know anything about training.

SureIusedtobetaller Mon 20-Aug-18 12:10:54

My (rescue) was neutered before we got him at 9 months old. He is very very reactive and anxious. Might be a coincidence but might not be. Given the choice I’d wait till a dog was older but I would neuter as so many unwanted dogs in rescue.
I don’t think neutering will stop him pulling but a chest harness works well- they can’t pull as they just turn round. Halti do one and it was a godsend till ours learned not to pull.
Apparently dogs neutered too early are more like to suffer torn/ruptured Cruciate ligament too (googled this recently as ours has just done this 🙄).

almondsareforevermore Mon 20-Aug-18 18:49:58

Your vet sees your pup as a steady source of income. Why does he have monthly health checks? Children don’t.
If being a boy is no problem, leave his boy bits alone.

bobstersmum Mon 20-Aug-18 19:45:04

We are in the pet health club so for a monthly fee of 12.50 that covers vaccinations, flea and worm treatment, microchip, nail clipping, monthly weight and health check until 1 year old, after that age its every 6 months. Also get a percentage off any treatment that is needed extra. That's why he has a monthly check.

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