Your dog is not always a good boy: he snarls at dogs passing by, always likes to start a fight, generally is very easily irritated, and loves barking loudly at everything.
You’ve tried everything and are still looking for a solution. There seems to be one dominating opinion among the people: castrate your male dog.
But does neutering really help with aggression in male dogs?
Neutering definitely has its benefits, and many people get their dogs neutered regardless. But perhaps we need to explain more the link between castration and a male dog’s aggression as recent studies have given us more insight and have even contested it as a solution.
So let’s dive in…
The Science Behind Neutering
Many dog-owners resort to neutering their pets for various reasons: health benefits, reducing aggressiveness, preventing unacceptable sexual behavior, or preventing unwanted breeding.
Since castration involves the removal of both your dog’s testicles, it means your dog can no longer produce sperm and therefore makes him infertile.
But castration also inhibits the production of the male hormone – testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for your dog’s puberty and the secondary sexual characteristics that begin to appear during that phase: a deeper bark, an increase in muscle mass, and growing bones (sound familiar?).
The reason why calmness is attributed to castration is that some types of aggression are testosterone-mediated. The hormone can reduce the threshold at which the dog can handle being concerned before starting to act aggressively, as well as lead to him taking longer to calm down than it would for a female or neutered dog.
It’s noteworthy that your dog’s personality has nothing to do with his testosterone. In other words, if your dog is generally an excited dog, neutering him will not necessarily calm him down!
More Benefits to Neutering
Testicular cancer and prostate diseases are very prevalent among male dogs – castration completely eliminates those possibilities.
Neutering also significantly decreases the risk of cysts, infections, and conditions like enlarged prostates that cause difficulty urinating for the dog.
It’s a sad reality that America’s animal shelters are now very severely overcrowded. Neutering male dogs is a way to control your dog’s reproduction and consequently controlling the population of unwanted dogs that end up homeless and surrendered to shelters.
It also encourages the better health of our pet friends by reducing diseases that could be carried by strays.
But Does It Really Help with Aggression?
In a way, neutering your dog does help with his aggression – but that may not always be the case.
Castration will only guarantee calmness from testosterone-mediated aggression and urges, but it might not necessarily permanently fix the issue of aggression for your dog. For example, if your dog were to fight another male dog for a female, he wouldn’t be as prone to do so since neutering will cut down on his sexual urges.
So unless the behavior or aggression is specifically hormone-driven, neutering is not your best solution in this case.
Neutering your dog has many benefits, and nevertheless, it is in most cases what’s favorable! While deciding whether you should or shouldn’t go through with the surgery, we recommend you wait until he has matured.
If your decision is mostly fueled by undesirable aggression, make sure you understand where your dog’s aggression is coming from first. If driven by his male sex hormone, neutering in that case might calm it down. But if caused by other reasons, such as his personality or anxiety, there could be other ways you can try and practice calmness with your dog.