Spaying and neutering is not only important because of the pet over-population problem, but it also reduces frustration. Typically the dogs that show a change in behavior problems due to spaying or neutering are dogs that are frustrated due to hormones. The dog’s frustration is expressed as behavior problems. My clients find having their dog spayed or neutered does not reduce their dog’s energy level or change its personality, but that their dog is calmer, more relaxed, more attentive to them and in general behavior problems are reduced. These are all worthwhile reasons to have dogs spayed or neutered at the youngest age recommended by the vet. Well run studies also support these findings.
Dr. Karen Overall of Pennsylvania University states in her book Clinical Behavioral Medicine For Small Animals, male dogs that are intact are twice as reactive as neutered males, “the intact dog will react more easily, escalate the response more quickly, plateau in response at a higher level, …become less reactive at a slower rate and may return to a higher baseline state of vigilance” (280). Unfortunately they have the tendency to become hyper reactive to any stimuli in the environment. Hyper reactivity then becomes a learned behavior as well as a hormonal response. I see a myriad of behavior problems with dogs like this. They vary from, roaming, not coming when called, vocalization problems, destruction, and inattentiveness to owners. Overall also states, “removing hormonal fluctuations may make the dog more amiable to behavior modification” (112). Typically the only behavior problem we see due to a female dog being intact is aggression right before, during, or right after the estrous cycle.
If you want to avoid the arousal and behavioral symptoms of frustration that occur with dogs that have not been spayed or neutered speak with your veterinarian about the procedure and the age to have it done. The recommended age is going to vary considerably from veterinarian to veterinarian. For some people the operation to spay or neuter their pet at the appropriate time can be a financial burden. A web search with the words low cost spay and neuter Eugene Oregon will give you a couple of options.
Both well run studies and real life experience shows dogs that have been spayed and neutered make better pets due to less hormonal frustration. There is a reduced chance owners will be dealing with arousal issues, aggression, roaming and vocalization issues while enjoying the benefits of a dog that is more attentive to the owner.
Overall, Karen L. (1997). Clinical Behavioral Medicine For Small Animals. St Louis Mo.: Mosby-Year Book Inc