Ok ok... I know we've talked about this a million times and I'm really 50/50 on this one.
Two days ago we went into the vet for Ender's 4 month checkup and rabies shot (a requirement in Wisconsin and for doggy day care... thankfully he didn't have any problems with the shot and the vet was really great). She asked about neutering and I said, "well he's definitely getting neutered... I'm just not sure when... I'm thinking of waiting because of the joint issues etc. etc. "
She said something to the affect of "I'm not convinced that waiting really affects larger breed dogs hip/joints... there was really only one very small study done that suggested it and the benefits of neutering early I think are more important, mainly behavior issues such as wandering..."
Oh and as expected with a new vet, she thought I didn't know things like "don't run with your dog... try to get him exercising in a park or somewhere with grass... labs aren't the best dogs for city living... etc." She let that go once I said the magic words "yup... he plays with other dogs in grassy fenced in yards or otherwise enclosed grassy places." I guess my point is, perhaps when she was talking about the neutering she wasn't sure how much of a responsible dog owner I was... i.e. would never let him loose and produce an unwanted litter etc. etc.
My dilema is really two-fold. Health-wise I want whatever is BEST for Ender... but I'm worried about the temperment changes and also his inability to go to doggy day care (which I think he really loves) after 6 months if he isn't neutered at that time.
I think I just need to hear from those of you who wait or don't wait, why you made your decision... and for the experts, how big of an impact is this decision to wait or not to wait? I'm going to try taking a closer look at the articles posted earlier once I get some much needed homework done this weekend. Thanks everyone in advance.
I'm not an expert by any means......we had Tugg neutered around 6 or 7 months old. We also had concerns about growth and the effect neutering might have, our vet and the others in the same practice all said the same thing - it was a small study and they weren't convinced that it really made much difference. He had no issues with the surgery, recovered rapidly and is a handsome one year old now! We is weighing about 65# and is "husky" looking but not heavy. He has always been stocky looking. Our female is 9 months old, weighs 56# and is leaner looking with the longer legs - she has always been built this way. She was spayed yesterday (she came home this am and is lounging around). Good luck with your decision.
Bosco is 6 months now, but after reading those articles, I think i'm going to wait until he's 7 months to get him neutered.
I'm sure you'll make the right decision. You have a lot of factors to consider. I found that my vet was very pro-6 months spay UNTIL she found out that I was well-versed in the "con" side of it. Really it just seems like the vets dish out the party line ~ "spay and neuter your pets early" ~ instead of looking at each case individually.
The day care thing is definitely troublesome. I have the same issue as I'd love to put Sami into one on occasion. Perhaps you could find someone who would be willing to take Ender out and play with him on those long work/school days, for the same $ you spend on daycare. Just a thought -- and with summer coming up, it might be easy to find a teenager for hire.
Ok.... so far I've read one of those links Labby posted... and here are my thoughts...
Thankfully, I work a ten minute walk away from home and can make it home very quickly to let Ender out for lunch while he still needs that midday break. This can continue indefinitely as long as my career doesn't take a major turn (which I'm not planning on it doing).
We used doggydaycare for two reasons. Because we are students as well as full time workers, there was one day a week where Ender, if left at home, would have to be crated for 3 periods of 3-4 hours. (In other words, we could come home and lunch and come home for dinner... but then we both had evening class til 8). This was the main reason for giving Ender a day at doggy day care each week so he would have fun and exercise, and we would have one night "off" without worrying about taking him for a long walk or playing with him (he comes home exhausted from doggy day care). The second reason was for socialization. I wanted Ender to have plenty of exposure to other dogs... all shapes and sizes, and wasn't sure I'd be able to accomplish that with our work/school schedules. (Turns out we have made quite a few doggy friends and the neighborhood has lots of dogs etc.)
In two months (when Ender is 6 months old) we will be done with school and won't have the same reasons for wanting to enroll him in Doggy Day Care. I would like to continue just 'cause I think he likes it... but he is getting enough doggy play time without it so if the health benefits are that important, Doggy Day Care isn't essential.
If we were to wait, what potential problems are there for having an unneutered 6-12 month old temperment wise? Will he "test" us more? Will his attitude towards other dogs change? Is there something I need to do differently?
If I decide to wait, I'm going to have to convince Eric this is the best course of action. I know he likes the doggy day care and Ender's exhaustion afterwards at least one day per week and not to mention I've been preaching to him about how Ender is DEFINITELY getting neutered and HELL NO we aren't "studding him out to get our money back" (He had that notion for all of 5 minutes ) So now I appear to be "changing my tune" if I say we are going to wait until 12 or whatever months old.
For the breeders on the forum... what do you tell your puppy owners? To research and make the choice based on their needs (i.e. other dog in the home, doggy day care etc.) or do you tell them exactly when you want your pups neutered/spayed?
Here's the thing. If I wasn't still hacking up my lungs and had the energy, I'd pull up two articles that countered the two that Labby posted. I am not convinced either way either (it's all about how you argue the statistics). Rider was neutered at 6 months and he is a nicely filled out boy with a great personality, isn't fat or lazy...etc.
Would he look different if I had waited? No. He looks just like his dad. The behaviors and the testing that you are worried about Lindsey are behaviors that you can control as the Alpha and pack leader. Ender will test you no more if you waited until he was 18 months versus doing it at 6 months.
So, if you are feeling confident with his training now, I don't see why it would be a big deal to wait if you wanted to.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Thanks Dani for posting...
Are you saying then that given the choice, and as long as it is feasible, you would advise waiting as it can "do no harm" to wait but may possibly be good... though certainly not confirmed.
I want the possibilities to be open for Ender. I know that I definitely want to do "more than basic" obedience with Ender and possibly some of the sportish stuff like agilty etc. For fun and to challenge him and me... not necessarily to be competitive. In that sense, this decision is more meaningful to me than if he was just going to be a "just" pet dog... which he may very be ... we just aren't sure.
The "look" doesn't really matter to me. I love Ender... whether he turns out more field like his dad or more bench/show like his mom. Light/dark.... "filled out" or not... I just want him to be happy and healthy.
Anyways... thanks for posting your thoughts. I'm looking forward to other's experience and decision making process... though I think I know where I'm leaning now.
I don't know if this will be helpful or not. Scotty is still not neutered. His sales contract required me to keep him intact until he is 14-18 months old. He is so non-alpha even though his still has his McFlappers. He does not mark, does not lift his leg, does not hump (he had two humping periods around 6 and 9 months of age but only with his dog bed, never other dogs or people), is not aggressive. He's never left outside unsupervised, so he has no chance of roaming. It's hard to pinpoint his behavior to one factor, but I know that it's possible to have a teenager full of hormones and still have a nice dog (most of the time).
I guess you can take it one month at a time, and if Ender starts unwanted behaviors, which are usually associated with unaltered males, you can neuter him then.
First, our contract with the breeder had stipulations re: breeding; certain things had to be met/done if he were to be studded (clearances had to be done; other things met). We were approached by someone who saw Tucker at about 5-6 mos., liked his looks, and has a yellow female from good lines; he'd been looking for a good male stud. He wondered if we'd be interested in using Tucker as stud when he got a bit older (I wasn't).
I'd read, too, about studies concerning waiting. When Tucker was 4-5 mos., we were at the vet for some reason, and just before leaving, I said 'we'll be seeing you again soon...he'll be coming in to be neutered'. The vet said to me, 'we usually tell people 6 mos., but in your case, I can tell you're a responsible dog owner. He's always with you; he's never out of your sight'. She went on to tell me about the studies concerning the growth plates closing. I told her I'd read about them, too, and we talked about it. She's also on the board of our humane society, and she does rescue/foster work (she recently rescued a lab, and fostered it 'til she found it a new good home..the lab was in the clinic daily greeting people while she waited for the new home). She told me about one of her dogs, adopted from the h. society...said hers was a bit long in the legs; said it may have been from early neutering. She said let's give him some more time...let's wait 'til he's 9-10 mos. old; that would give him a bit more time. She called me at home one day a month or so later to discuss it again. So we waited (even though waiting costs more, 'cause cost depends on the weight of the dog).
He was neutered between 9-10 mos. His incisions were all internal, and a surgical glue was used on his external incision, so he didn't lick at all (which was nice).
He's always squatted to pee, and still does; he never marked, and doesn't. His temperament didn't change at all.