Updated: Sep 21
It's your choice when you neuter your dog, but there are certain behaviours that all male dogs will show when they reach adolescence, and those behaviours aren't conducive to our environment so when that time comes we ask you to take a break.
Does my dog need to be neutered?
This depends on their age.
If your dog is under 5 months they can attend daycare and when they start showings signs of testosterone driven behaviours we'll let you know and your dog may need to take a break from daycare. Sometimes this can be at 6 months, sometimes 10 months. Each dog develops at different speeds.
If your dog is older than 6 months unfortunately you'll need to wait until they are neutered for them to be assessed. 6-8 months is a prime age when dogs start showing testosterone driven behaviours in our centre. As such we don't assess them during this stage.
Don't ever plan to neuter your dog?
That's fine, if your dog is young enough they can still use our services, such as pick up and play or daycare until they reach the age where their behaviours become disruptive. They can still benefit from the early socialisation our centre offers. After that we can part ways, and maybe just see them if they pop in for a groom.
What behaviours do we look for?
There are many signs and behaviours that can signal that your dog has reached adolescence, and the list below may not be exhaustive, but are ones that are specifically not allowed in our daycare centre.
Territory Marking - Our centre is water tight so whilst unwanted this behaviour can be managed short term. However it is a clear sign that your dog has reached adolescence. It also becomes disruptive when it is incessant, and on toys, beds, other dogs etc. Sometime even our staff.
Mounting - This can be sign of over excitement, however from experience we can assess when it is or isn't. This is one of the behaviours that poses the most risk. Unwanted mounting can lead to a reaction from one dog which can lead to injury in your dog. It is a behaviour that we interrupt but as the levels of testosterone increase so does the desire and no amount of interruption and distraction will stop this behaviour when it is due to testosterone.
Lack Of Responsiveness - This is generally linked to the need to mark or mount. Their brain is so focused on doing this that they don’t listen. Or just as human adolescents do, they do listen but as they are teenagers they try to push the boundaries so ignore us.
More Boisterous Behaviour - Boisterous play is ok at our centre so long as it is consensual play and that when we interrupt it (by recall) the dog responds. Boisterous play mixed with a lack of responsiveness is not something that can be managed long term, and the longer it is left the more boisterous it becomes.
Resource Guarding - A similar trait to territory marking, but much more serious. Whilst we have plenty of toys and food to go around. Once a dog starts resource guarding it becomes a self reinforcing behaviour and one that is not allowed in our centre. Aggression shown trying to guard toys or food risk serious injury to the dogs involved.
Often the above behaviours are displayed earlier and much more often in our centre than at home because at home you're unlikely to have 20 other dogs present with all different scents and traits in our group.
Our rules around neutering are purely there for your dogs health and wellbeing so we let you know when we start seeing the signs of adolecense. We want your dogs to be able to come as long as possible so will only every raise concerns if we're certain.
Need help with your neutering decision?
Firstly don't listen to your dog breeder, facebook group or online forums. Everyone has an opinion, but often not based on correct studies or research.
Here is also a link to our recommended vet, Vets4Pets (Oxford, Abingdon,Newbury) and some information they provide about neutering. The team at Vets4Pets keep up to date with current thinking on the neutering and take behaviour and each individuals dogs circumstances into account when providing advice and we highly recommend them.
Here is also a link to a comprehensive 2015 study into the subject.(which is still very much current thinking in the USA and UK)