« Tonight! Carol Lea Benjamin, Denise Wall: A tale of two border collies | Main | Tantrum and appeasement: Your American government shows you them »

27 March 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


A world where people socialize their dogs around both intact and altered dogs

Of course, this'll be kinda' difficult if all the dogs are altered . . . . . . .


All I can say to this is AMEN!

Gina Spadafori

Teh Woodman doesn't have a problem with the testicles of other dogs, having been around other intact males his whole life. And he finds it quite rude when other dogs have a problem with his testicles, although he's too nice a dog to fight over it. The occasional bad manners from others dogs happen not at dog shows or field training, generally, but at dog parks.

Still, his testicles remain where God put them, because I'm not usually dealing with a dense urban area full of people who can't/won't train their own dogs.

Funny that the last time I had Woody in San Francisco we hadn't walked half a block down Cesar Chavez/Army Street before someone came over to tell me my dog needed to be neutered. I asked her why, and she started to list the reasons:

1) Better behavior. I pointed out that Woody was sitting quietly at heel, paying good attention to me.

2) Better health. I cited recent studies pointing out that the benefits of neutering to a dog's health were at best overstated and at worst flat-out wrong.

3) OMG PETS ARE DYING! NEUTER YOUR DOG. Yeah, well ... Woody's six years old and never has had an unplanned litter. And it's highly unlikely that he WILL ever have an unplanned litter.

At that point, I left her and took my well-mannered dog into the Noe Valley Pet Company for a well-deserved treat for putting up with people who cross the street to mind other people's business, even when there's no problem at all with what the other people are doing, except in the heads of the nosey-boots.


Something I want to share...we run a licensed rehab home for our breed. One of my newest fosters has a severely broken leg...emaciated, she has been here two weeks after emergency surgery...hit by a car.

She went into heat this past week, and it has driven Baldwin absolutely nuts...he is not himself, and decided since he cannot get to Sam...he will substitute Jenny...a spayed female his age of 21 months.

The humping began, and of course all I had to say was his name....and he slowly got off off. Was doing the poopy patrol with my handy scooper, and heard Jenny do a loud gruff. Baldwin was standing there with his back legs apart...and would not walk. What's that handing between his legs? His tail? Wait...he doesn't have a tail (docked) too late...He stood there 10 minutes before it finally decided to resume the normal position. He has been neutered since he was 6 months old...I am thinking of counseling for him....LOL

At our fenced field, he does not want to sniff anyone, he does his own thing...he simply runs. Guess the back yard is a bit more exciting.

Laura Sterner

The problem is that too many people are quick to pick up a black vs. white kind of mentality, forgetting that shades of grey exist. I'll take heat for this, I know, but it bothers me that too many rescues won't place pets in responsible show homes simply because the show dogs are intact. I know of several people who have well bred show dogs, are doting pet-parents, and have been turned down by several rescues for this reason.

Why can't we animal lovers see that there are more facets to this situation than just one side or the other? Responsible pet ownership involves a number of things, in a number of different situations. If you're in the show world, it means a certain thing, and if you are a pet owner only, it may mean something slightly different, but what difference does it make if we are all taking the best care we can of those little lives for whom we've decided to be responsible? I'm sorry this woman didn't have the decency to keep her untrained dog on-leash.

Dee Green

::jumping up and down, waving arms:: YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!

One unfortunate consequence of the otherwise very-good-for-dogs spay & neuter movement is that it now seems the vast majority of Americans (and a whole lotta veterinarians) are under the impression that S/N will automatically resolve behavior problems. IT DOES NOT. It *usually* helps to REDUCE some undesirable behaviors (marking, humping, dominance challenges, roaming/escaping, etc.). "Usually" and "reduce" being the operative words here. Humans still have to TEACH dogs how to behave in urban society, no matter how frustrating or boring you find that task.

If you're allowing a dog off-leash to play anywhere, and that dog won't come to you when you call it no matter what, YOU and your dog are the problem.

Thanks, Christie. This one's going out far & wide.


I'm amazed at people who blame their dogs' (and their own!) bad manners on other dogs. A few years ago I was walking Archie & Lydia on leash in a park when a couple very large dogs ran over and started circling around us. When I asked the owners to get the dogs on leashes they refused. Then I mentioned leash laws, and oh boy, they didn't like that. They actually told me I needed to take my dogs to "that local dog whisperer guy" to teach them how to behave. Huh? My dogs were minding their own business, just like Rawley. Morons!

H. Houlahan

I'm sorry you neutered Rawley.

I'm even sorrier that you felt you had to in order to get some peace.


We do not refuse a home because they are responsible show homes...Ask Christie

we have an adopter with deer hounds she happens to know...all rescues are spay/neutered no matter where they come from papered or not as it is state law..

Am I sorry I neutered Baldwin? No way...


Coming from the cat world and working with both rescue and breeders, the spay/neuter issue is the line pretty firmly drawn. All cats coming out of rescue are altered. All cats being sold by reputable (and I emphasize here, reputable) breeders as pets are altered. Living with an un-neutered cat indoors is generally not pleasant. I grew up with dogs however, and there is a great deal of difference in intact dogs. Training is the key issue as Christie so aptly expressed. Untrained animals are about as pleasant to be around as untrained toddlers -- UGH!


It's very reckless to have an intact dog. Such dogs can escape the yard (believe me, a lust-filled dog WILL find a way) and mate with a bitch in gray, and poof, two months layer a litter of mutts. There are too many dogs. Responsible dog owners neuter their pets. duh.

Barbara Saunders

It's strange, when you think about it, that we've been indoctrinated to believe that the way these animals were born is dangerous to them. We could cut down cancer risk in humans by removing testicles, ovaries, and uterus, too, but that would be a ludicrous justification for routinely doing it to adolescents.

I remember talking to a man with a 17-year-old dog who still had vets telling him she'd "get cancer" or a a uterine infection if he didn't spay. His position was he was not going to subject a healthy 17-year-old dog to elective surgery; even cancer at 17 would not be evidence that dogs just shouldn't have uteri anyway.

Laura Sterner

I'm so glad to hear that, Mary. I hope all of you know that I'm not tarring all rescues with one brush. It's just a story I hear too often!


it is common practice with most...I had to assist a friend that wanted to adopt here...her dog wqas qwuite elderly...it qwas crazy.

Barbara, I would ask Dr. Becker his opinion on neutering young as rescues are required to do so...he is so wonderful to support rescues!@


my q is sticking...need a new laptop


I need to be clearer in my thoughts... intact dogs are fine as long as they are trained. Intact cats not so much.

Christie Keith

New here, eh, Nelly?

I've had intact male dogs for decades. Apparently it's not as hard as you think it is to manage them.


Hey Nelly - how about you ask how many people posting to this blog have or have had intact dogs in their care for years at a stretch without ever having experienced an unplanned pregnancy in said animal?

I'll start: Female Sheltie, intact to the age of 5 years, competed (offlead) in many, many Obedience competitions during that time as well as training (offlead) around other offlead dogs several days each week. Never showed while in season (against the rules) but continued to train while in season. Offlead. No unplanned puppies ever occurred.

Anyone else care to help enlighten Nelly?


I agree with this story 100% but not your headline.

For instance, my dog, who I got when he was 2 to 3 years old (not neutered at the time; he is now). Was trained by me, and I did a pretty good job, if I do say so m'self. I can let him off leash to go chase a squirrel and, in mid-stride, call him back, and he will return.

He didn't come to me that way, believe me. That took a LOT of work. But when it comes to non-neutered males? Forget it. He loses his furry li'l mind. Yes, he's an extreme case, but I have seen it -- that is, people whose dogs are calm and listening to them (unlike the dog in your story) but, around in-tact males, they go nuts (er, no pun).

But, hey, you know what? I know this about Buddy. So, even when I go to the dog park, I make certain there are no intact males over 5-mos.-old before heading in, and I take the time to check with every owner who comes in. If their dog is not neutered, I'll either take Buddy out or, if I just got there, ask them if they'd be willing to come back in 10 minutes. People are usually willing to be reasonable about this and come back (or if I'm entering, ask me to come back in 10 minutes).

My feeling is that all owners who know their dogs will react badly around in-tact males should take these precautions.

I generally find the ONLY people who're unreasonable about these situations are the ones who are uneducated on the subject, have had many confrontations w/their dog and others and are thus defensive w/out ever taking the time to understand what's going on.

That's my nickel's worth.


BuddyR dot com


Oh, dear, you have brought up one of my pet peeves with what I would have to say are most dog owners I meet at dog parks. Since we don't have a yard, off leash parks are really the only place my dogs have to socialize and stretch their legs. But I've had my clothing ripped, been knocked down repeatedly, lost dozens of tennis balls, been jumped on repeatedly, defended my dogs from attacks -- all from dogs whose owners either couldn't be bothered or didn't know how to teach their dogs manners. "Do you have treats in your pocket?" the owners will ask. Sometimes yes, sometimes just crumbs - but it shouldn't matter. The dog should not consider it acceptable behavior to molest anyone it believes to possess something edible. If I throw a ball for my dog and your dog gets it, that's no big deal - but your dog should come when called and give it back. And if your dog has a pattern of crossing the line from playing to fighting with other dogs when you bring him to a dog park - he doesn't belong at a dog park. And none of this is HIS fault - it's YOURS.

Sally G

to Laura, I would think as it regards to shelters /reescues, they struggle really hard to raise money to get basic care an animal needs so I can understand them wanting a dog fixed before homing it. They certainly don't want to see the dog back there. After all most dogs end up in shelters because of their manners so rescue feel that a neutered dog might have a tendency to roam if there is a female in heat and although a home is one that shows dogs it does not mean they are always responsible. Also I don't particularly believe that all show people make good owners so they need to look at the 'body whole' before making a judgement. As to the original story here, there are a bizillion owners just like the one chasing her dog, fixed or not fixed doesn't matter. Educating people on how to control their dog so it is not a Nuisance is the key. There are actually people out there that believe if you rub the dog's nose in its excrement they will stop going in the house. That is the mentality you are dealing with in many situations.


Why are so many saying all dogs must be "fixed"?

Thiose who are pro-neuter and spaying for all, think about this for a moment, please. If all dogs were fixed, or even just all of one sex, wouldn't this be the FINAL GENERATION OF ALL DOGS?

Those who plan to not have their dogs add to the puppy population...should get their dogs fixed.

Those with mixbreds, no matter how pretty or handsome they are...should get their dogs fixed.

Those with purebreds with health issues, or abnormalities that affect health or enjoyment of life FOR THE DOG...should get their dog fixed.

Be you have mixes or purebreds, if you are not prepared to take the dogs you bred and sold back at anytime, even in later years, with the great possibility of expensive vet bills (cause many who are returned are sick or injured and the adoptive family you sold to could not afford the vet cause maybe they lost a job), being over the max number of pets your city code allows, afraid your dogs will fight with the new one coming back or whatever other reason...GET YOUR PET FIXED! (If you adopt from someone who is not prepared to do this, it can encourage them to continue breeding, or just not getting dogs fixed)

Those with purebreds who don't want to deal with the messiness of a litter or their dog in heat...should get their dog fixed.

Those with purebreds who want to improve the breed, not necessarilly to standard, but to better the health and well-being of the breed...DO NOT GET YOUR DOGS FIXED. Yes, there are times that a mixed can have better health than a purebred, but it becomes very difficult for a person to research the mix for health issues to watch out for in life. In my opinion, it is far better to have a purebred that you know what to watch out for, as in symptoms that could look like everyday stuff in a mix, so you know when to go to the vet and if it is serious or not. With responsible breeders, not necessarilly breeding for show, but for the better of the breed (there are some lines of purebreds, breeds normally suffering illnesses like cardiac, hip displasia and so forth, that knowledgeable and responsible breeders have been able to get rid of these illnesses in their lines. Should we tell them to quit what they are doing?

If we want to enjoy having dogs in the future who are happy and healthy... If we want to know what to be on the lookout for in the dog we have, then we really need to spay the mixes and allow those in the know and with the wherewithall to go for breeding to health and temperament and not necessilly to standard (some standards are appropriate though, if read correctly)...TO KEEP BREEDING THE APPROPRIATE DOGS.

It is not up to a person on the street, who has not seen or paid for any of the significant vet testing done on these animals, to tell the breeder to get their dog fixed. Also, tho, if the breeder has already proven beyond a doubt, that their line is free of certain health issues, then they should not have to test for those. Similar to the US not giving a smallpox vaccine to kids now and the past couple of decades, even though their parents probably have the scar still from their vaccine.

When someone who has a mix breeds it for whatever reason, be it on purpose or unintended because a male jumped their fence, then they did not know what tests to perform to ensure the pups will not have heart diseases, etc. This is true also of those with non-fixed pures who do not research the breed nor their line nor do the proper testing. If you cannot do the stuff to get ready for the breeding get the dog fixed too. Finally, in an end to my "preaching", if you do not have money for the testing and so forth, do not breed. If done right emergencies can still happen such as expensive c-sections and you do not want to see the dog you love (and pups)die because you cannot afford this or you are looking to make money...get the dogs fixed. There is no money to be made in the great majority of cases.


Sally G...it is the LAW in all states responsible enough to require licensing to HAVE a rescue to spay/neuter all animals before adoption. Some shelters don't in certain states, but there is a spay/neuter bond collected refundable when the animal is spayed or neutered.

If you send out a dog unaltered from rescue...they had better have a medical reason such as von Willebrand disease and a letter from a Vet stating so.


Oh Laura...we are a purebred rescue, and work with many breeders...so the understanding from our end may be a bit different than the typical all breed rescue? Many have cited all breeders as the enemy....my experience anyway. the breeders or friends with intact dogs I work with in rescue are extremely reputable and responsible...but there are a "few" that are not and have had a few accidental litters.


@Susanbt: assuming that message was for me, and based on your comment I'm honestly uncertain as there were conclusion you jumped to which didn't seem at all relevant to my comment. But, just in case: my dog's only issue is non-neutered males. He does not have this "pattern" you describe, and I'm truly confused how/why you would infer such.

If there are some (or even just one) in-tact males (the dogs, not the owners =] ) in the run, I just don't go in. I simply ask how long that person and his doggy'll be there and I come back.

My dog has never done any of the other things you list, nor has he ever had a problem with neutered males or any females at all. He actually plays great, and, considering he was 2 or 3 when I got him, and thought EVERY dog wanted to fight, I'm often very proud of how he he now respects the other dogs' toys and their boundaries. Our first year was very hard, and he was my first dog.

Anyway, the in-tact male issue is just something he won't get used to. I think if I'd had him from puppy age (again, he was 2 or 3), it would've been easier. I once helped out a well-regarded NYC behaviorist with her dog (it got hurt in a run one day), so she actually volunteered her time for several weeks and ended up telling me, "This is simply not working." She said more or less what I stated above: when you don't know the dog's history, there are certain things you just may not be able to fix (again, no pun.)

I think any of us who have rescues, whose life we can't know prior to our taking them in, HAVE to work with what we have to work with. Some dogs are very malleable. Some are not. I've friends with 10, 15 years of training experience, who work with rescues and at doggy daycares who work with as many as 500 dogs a year. And, sometimes, they find a dog (usually a rescue) that, well, just refuses to take to some aspects of training. Thus, and to go back to what my point was in my first post, this is why being a responsible OWNER is AS important as being a responsible trainer for your dog.

If you know your dog's limits, peccadilloes, and issues, you can help ensure its safety. But, ultimately, you do have do the training and understand your own limits.

It sounds like the person described in the article above was completely irresponsible w/her dog...and seemed terribly clueless about being such.




I think it is simply amazing how so many people say spay or neuter for calmer dogs, better control and so forth. Many studies show this is not the case and it is how the owner trains the dog. Used to be those who relly cared about their dog would neuter and these were the same people who trained the heck out of the dogs. That is where the control theory came from, I believe. However, as more people are doing it, and adopting from places that are required to spay and neuter, how the owner treats the dog doesn't matter for wanting them to not be intact.

Get dogs fixed for one reason NO PUPPIES. This includes males as they are just as responsible!


Again to all those saying all dogs should be spayed or neutered...IF THAT HAPPENED THERE WOULD BE NO MORE DOGS


Spaying a female dog because she could get uterine cancer would be similar to women cutting off their breasts or getting mastectomies to protect themselves against uterine cancer or breast cancer. It is mutilation.

Do it if you don't want, can't handle or cannot place healthy pups. Do it if you cannot test your male or female dog for any diseases known to their breed. Do it if breed/s is/are unknown, cause then you don't know what health issues have a great chance of occurring.

Christie Keith

I did NOT bow to the "not neutering is irresponsible" message, I wanted to continue to be able to take my dog to the park every day without him being attacked by every untrained, out of control dog owned by someone who felt her (it was always a her) dog was not to blame because my dog's balls made him act that way.

I couldn't have cared less what the idiots said to ME. I did it so my dog could have a life.


haha...Nancy your first sentence sums it up..


OMG, Nancy, that's really funny. I agree.

I generally go to the dog park ONLY on off hours and when it's owners I know and trust.




I know it’s a dream I’ll never see come true, but you know what I’d like? A world where people socialize their dogs around both intact and altered dogs, so dogs understand this is something normal in the canine universe they inhabit. Because people acting as if the parts our dogs are born with are a disease or a badge of irresponsible pet ownership is my least favorite thing about modern American dog culture.

Such a place does exist. It's called "Europe".

Gina Spadafori

Responsible dog owners neuter their pets. duh.

Comment by Nelly — March 27, 2011

Believe me, Nelly, Christie is more responsible a dog owner than you could be in 10 lifetimes. Like most of us who actually understand both canine behavior and biology, she is perfectly capable of having intact animals without unplanned pregnancies. As am I, and many others, all of us as responsible as you are, if not more so.

The thing is that we insist on telling the TRUTH in this space, so that intelligent, responsible people can make intelligent, responsible decisions for the animals in their care.

We do that by relying on peer-reviewed scientific research and on veterinary experts, not feel-good speaking points that aren't even based on common sense and the most basic knowledge of math and biology, like the nonsense that an unspayed cat can start a chain of events leading to the birth of a 400,000 cats.

Do some research, Nelly. Spaying and neutering is not the panacea you've been told it is (helping you out there with a word, since I'm guessing your language skills are on par with your critical thinking and research abilities). It's perfectly possible for intelligent, experienced dog-owners to prevent pregnancy even while keeping intact males and females in the same home. In fact, it happens all the time.

Most people will make the right decisions if they have accurate information and the ability to act on that information. Bad decisions and bad public policy are largely the result of misinformation and ignorance.

David S. Greene
Such a place does exist. It’s called “Europe”.
Thanks for that, Laura. The best (and most penetrating) comment all day. We often forget that our cultural norms not only aren't universal, but perhaps aren't even necessary the most enlightened.

I feel like Speutering is a last resort like this...otherwise who cares ? MEN have balls...course we don't usually go trying to hump everyone in site.

Randome sidenote...when do you think Rawley will get the scruffy look a deerhound has ?

Christie Keith

Our dog parks aren't fenced. They're used because we live in the city.

Nancy Freedman-Smith

I have no problem with people with brains choosing to keep their dogs in tact. I did feel the need to comment that many if not most dogs who go to a dog park are there because it is a securely fenced in area. Many are young, or new. To expect that most dogs in a dog park should or will come when called or won't steal a ball is not realistic. One of the reasons that I don't usually go.

Gina Spadafori

I couldn’t have cared less what the idiots said to ME.

Comment by Christie Keith — March 27, 2011

I have known Christie for many year now, and believe me, truer words have never been typed. LOL!


Now all of the Drahthaar people in Germany are at the pub with all unspayed and unneutered males laying at their feel while they visit and have a beer. No fighting, no problems...think that would go here?...doubtful. It is the way it is....and they do not breed dogs with ill temperament. It is quite different.


Oh...and they treat dogs like dogs, training is very intense. They can call a DD off prey including the cat or fox they are required to kill as the 4th test of the VDD certification.


Haven't read all the comments yet, but just reading Christie's decision to neuter because of illogical people who are blind to their own dogs is discouraging. I mean, if an eloquent writer with a strong personality has bowed down to this "not neutering is irresponsible" wave, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Gina Spadafori

People do sometimes forget that not all dogs are pets with owners who expect little of them. Some of our pets are also working dogs of whom a great deal is asked.

My intact male retriever has been trained to mark and remember multiple falls of birds in the field before being sent for any of them, find downed birds with his nose in dense cover or in water, follow whistles and signals from his handler at pretty fair distances and deliver birds to hand without damage.

And yes, he also ignores ill-mannered untrained dogs and other distractions.

Furthermore, he's only trained to the "low-middle" level of what many working retrievers can do.

One size does not fit all, either in training or by definition of "responsible" dog ownership.


Mary:If you send out a dog unaltered from rescue…they had better have a medical reason such as von Willebrand disease and a letter from a Vet stating so.

My complaint isn't with rescues who won't adopt out unfixed dogs... but rather with rescues who won't adopt dogs to anyone who happens to have an unfixed dog in the house. Some years back, I had an elderly unfixed boy. Just the fact that he was in my home, even though he loved other dogs, was enough to disqualify me from fostering a puppy or adopting a dog, who was badly in need of a home. This same group, now defunct, refused to let a friend who had a lab (AKC ch. obedience, and agility titlest) with a singleton puppy, take an orphan litter of puppies who could really have used a foster Mom.



My first male Golden Retriever was never neutered. He was obedience trained. He was never off leash unless he was in his own fenced yard. He never tried to hump anything or anybody. He was easily trained by my husband in a class @ an outside armory with about 12 other dogs. No one complained that he had balls! I am a nurse and have a son. My husband has a very intense job as well. We did not know about doggie daycare or play dates. We enjoyed our dog. We played. We found it nice that he was protective but not aggressive. Our second Golden male was 2 and neutered when we got him from a family that didn't want him any more. He was never as well trained as our first dog. He was afraid of a lot of things. But he was very sweet.Totally different personality and we loved him so much. He was a clown ;) He had some urinary issues as an older dog. He also died of cancer. My third Golden male is 2. I do not plan to neuter him. He is purebred, but that isn't the reason. I feel that he was born with testicles. Unless there is a medical reason to remove them, he will keep them. I'm not real polite when someone gets in my business. I hope I never have to deal with someone who feels the need to tell me to neuter my dog. They WILL get blasted!If your dog is out of control around an intact dog, that's YOUR problem. Maybe he's upset because someone cut his balls off! He thought he was going to get TUTORED!I am pro-choice. If you aren't going to keep your dog on a leash unless on your property, then maybe he should be neutered. I'm sorry, I really am not into the off leash dog park thing. Just because your dog is neutered does not mean that he won't get in a fight or jump up on an older person or small child. There's a first time for everything. I DO understand the unwanted dog and cat problem. And, I agree that neutering has it's place.


I have only had in tact males since I started handling in Junior Showmanship, in 1973. The two boys I have now, as all of my dogs in the past, have been socialized, trained, and are very well behaved around ALL other dogs, with each other, and as house dogs. They have never sired an unplanned litter. I believe that there are common sense practices when keeping an intact male though. Mine are never given a chance to suddenly be face to face with an in tact dog that they don't know, (because I refuse to trust other owners to have a well adjusted dog). They are not exposed to a bitch in season for any length of time (in the ring at times, when its necessary). And of course they are not allowed to run loose, out of a fenced area, without my supervision. I do not bring them to dog parks, because having one idiot owner, with an untrained dog, (neutered or not), is a risk that I don't want to take. One of my dogs, that I share my life with now, is a large breed sighthound. As I was walking both my dogs home from a two mile walk, last Thanksgiving day. I stopped across the street from my house to check for traffic. A Lab (Husky maybe) mix, ran from between two houses across the street. I barely had a chance to realize what was going to happen, when he attacked my sighthound. It was immediately obvious that fighting another dog had never even crossed my dog's mind, he didn't know what to do, and all I could do was hold on to his leash and scream for help as the other dog tore him apart. Long story short, after surgery on his shoulder and stitches all over him, my guy is healthy and happy again. BUT I have noticed over the years, and the attack confirmed it for me, that many large in tact male dogs feel that larger in tact males are a threat. And if they are not trained, socialized, or at least under an owner's control, their first defense is to take the offense, and attack. My boys are usually shown well into the Veterans classes, and at that point, when they are seven years old (plus), I refuse to have them go through elective, major surgery of neutering. Over the past 40 years I have gone through the agonizing pain of losing dogs in my life, but NOT ONE has ever died from anything related to being unneutered. I will always have in tact males, even though they can be a challenge, and must be understood, individually and as males, in all forms of training. But after last Thanksgiving day, I will never trust anyone elses unneutered dog.


@keith - I was composing my comment before yours was posted. It was not at all directed at you.

I understand that some rescue dogs have behavioral issues that are difficult for the average owner to overcome. That does not explain the fact that more dogs than not are totally lacking in manners. Many rescue dogs are quite trainable if the human family put in the time and effort, and obviously not all the dogs I encounter are rescue dogs. As I said, time and effort, and sometimes money (for a training class, or some sessions with a private trainer) are the necessary resources for creating a well mannered dog. People who aren't willing to bother shouldn't have a dog.


Related to H. Houlihan's post, I found that my mare would do for me when she was in estrus. And since she cycled one week out of every three, that was a very good thing. (She was never a "marish" mare. Or maybe she wasn't marish because I despise marish behavior. Food for thought.)

Going further off-topic, I often rode my mare in estrus in the company of stud horses who defined the words "well-mannered". I didn't know they were intact until I happened to be in position to see their junk. It's all about the training.


Nelly, really? I agree with what everyone else said in disagreeing with you. In addition, I bet you've been around intact males that you didn't know were intact. They were so well behaved that you made the assumption that they couldn't be intact.

Laura S. and schnauzer, what you said. :-) I experienced first hand a rescue (Toledo Humane Society) not wanting to place a dog with me (a difficult to place dog to boot!) because of my intact males. The rescue bitch was spayed, so I didn't really get it. It's their policy and they wouldn't budge. Never mind that my dogs are trained (they do competitive events) and are well-cared for, never mind that I have references up the wazoo. So I just went to a different rescue whose only concern is placing dogs in good homes. (Which is as it should be, yes?) I found another nice girl in need of a nice home.

Keithnbuddy, your inability to call your dog away from an intact male *is* a training issue. You are choosing to substitute management of his issue for training to resolve it — not a bad thing, IMO. Just know that's what you're doing. Others have described better than I could how a dog can learn to respond to commands despite huge distractions. :-)

Nancy Freedman-Smith

@Christie I knew you were gong to say that. :)

Cyn McCollum

I have been training dogs professionally for 24 years now. The vast majority of my clients have been advised to neuter their infant or juvenile dogs to prevent aggression, hypersexuality, marking, and unwanted impregnation. they have further been indoctrinated that neutering is the only "responsible" thing to do, and that leaving a dog intact is "irresponsible." Then they are amazed when their dog displays aggression, hypersexuality, marking, etc. they say, "but I neutered him" at the veterinarian's recommendation to prevent those things. Absolute hooey. The behavioral aspect of infantile/juvenile neutering seems to arrest dogs at an immature stage and give their owners a pass on training. My intact male is a joy, well trained and has never been a behavior problem. I even got fired from teaching a dog training class at a vet's office when a woman asked if she had to neuter her dog and I said no. The vet said I was giving medical advice and then followed it up with the loss of revenue they experienced when the woman canceled her dog's surgery. Complicated issue, but bottom line if people would just train their dogs, the behavior aspects would not be an issue. And then there is the myth of "it's healthier". No, it isn't.

The comments to this entry are closed.