Home Forums Dogs Neutering/reactivity


Published on: February 12, 2023 • By: kristen.linn · In Forum: Dogs
February 12, 2023 at 04:16pm
Hi vets! Question when it comes to reactivity and neutering. I am getting conflicting answers and I just want to get a better idea of what to do! Will neutering help my pup be less reactive? I have some saying not to because the testosterone helps with confidence but then others are saying it could be making him aggressive? I don’t want to chop yet if I don’t have to and it will help but if it really doesn’t matter or might help I want to do whatever I can to help my little guy! I know once they’re gone they can’t grow back!
Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
February 12, 2023 at 06:40pm
Hello!  This is a hard question to get a straight answer about from a vet, and there's a good reason for that - there isn't a straight answer.   Female dogs are as different in character, reactivity and feistiness as women are.  Male dogs are as different in character, reactivity and feistiness as men.   Put simply, whether neutering a dog makes them less reactive, depends why they're being reactive in the first place!  In the human world, there's a well documented sexist issue with people saying 'oh it's their hormones,' about women, whether they're expressing upset for a good reason, oppressed, mentally ill, physically ill, having a bad day, being irrationally irritated, exhausted or - indeed - their oestrogen levels are far too high.  Similarly, I have heard men all manner of behavioural complaints, aggression, antisocial behaviours etc. in men put down to their  hormones!   This has carried over in to canine medicine; yes, hormones impact mood, but there are also a lot of other very valid behavioural factors that impact mood, so neutering only solves the issue in a few cases.  You say that your dog is being reactive - reactive to what?  Are their needs being met from a doggy perspective as well as a human one?  What behavioural patterns are you seeing?  Is the dog getting enough exercise / attention?  Are they getting into pressurised situations with other dogs?  Are their humans not reacting to things as they'd expect a pack member to respond?  How did their socialisation go? is something causing them to feel illogically stressed?  Is something not intended to frustrate the dog, frustrating them? Good behaviourists are hard to find - if you are in the UK, then your vet may be able to refer you to one.  Watch out for so called online 'experts,' because it's a bit like parenting - lots of people set themselves up as experts and have an opinion, but get them all in a room and their opinions will all be different, subjective, with low evidence base to support them.  Popular wisdom about how to bring up a dog is contrary to the evidence more than it follows it.  For this reason, we do recommend getting your vet to suggest someone.  I will answer again if you have more questions, otherwise wish you all the best in finding out what you need.
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