I get asked regularly “Should I neuter my dog to calm him down…?” or “Should I neuter my dog to make him less aggressive…?” so I felt it a subject worthy of a blog. There is a school of thought that your dog is hyperactive, or aggressive because of testosterone, or with a female, because she has had a season, and therefore the resolution to the behaviour problem is to neuter or spay your dog or bitch.
The reality of my clients who have gone through with the process is that the dog’s behaviour has not improved at all, and in some cases it has got worse. The truth is that a dog is not aggressive or hyperactive because of its hormones. It is so because it feels that it has an important job to do, thinking that it is the top dog, because of the signals that it is getting from its owner’s default behaviour.
If you remove the hormones, you simply remove a feeling of strength from that dog, yet it is still getting the same signals from its owner, so it still thinks it has the same job to do – just with fewer resources. The leader is the one who protects from danger; aggression is usually because the dog feels fearful of something so is warning or defending against it. In the wild the Alpha male and female in the pack make these decisions and the rest of the pack accept them – they do no castrate or spay the other members of the pack, the rest of the pack trust in the Alpha pair to make the right decision. It has nothing to do with the presence or absence of body parts or hormones.
So if you are thinking “Should I neuter my dog?” – neutering for health reasons, or to avoid unwanted puppies is a completely different scenario, but if your dog is aggressive or hyperactive, before you spend lots of money having it castrated or spayed, think about your best option – showing your dog through your own behaviour that it doesn’t need to protect or look after you any more! I have even seen leg humping dogs that are castrated. Give me a call if you aren’t sure whether your dog will benefit from neutering or not… Also I’d love your feedback on this article – please add them in the comments space below!