Whole Dog Journal's Blog May 11, 2015

A Good Reason to Neuter

Posted at 12:45PM - Comments: (19)

Enjoying the mild spring weather, I was working with all the doors and windows in my house open. So when my dogs, who had free run of the house and backyard, started to bark at something, I looked out the window and saw a stray dog wandering around the front yard. He’s about 50 pounds, some sort of Kelpie/Cattle Dog-mix. I got up and went out the front door, and he ran off down the street. I almost started to look for a leash and treats, but I was busy, on deadline, so I went back to work. Ten minutes later, the barking started again, and there is the dog again.

I went outside again, this time with a leash and treats and Otto, my ambassador for loose dogs. Otto is big enough to handle himself with almost any dog, dog-savvy enough to not get into a fight with even a very rude dog, smart enough to run if the other dog is downright aggressive, and obedient enough that I can call him away from even a very intense greet-and-pee session. Nine times out of 10, I can open my side gate and the stray dog will follow Otto into my backyard. And then I can read the dog’s tag (if he has one) or call animal control.

The dog started to run again when I open my front door, but as soon as he saw Otto, he reversed direction and headed straight toward us, head and tail high. Oh good, there is a tag on his collar. I patted my leg and said, “Hey pup!” brightly, but he completely ignored me and fixated on Otto, leaning in to sniff Otto in a very forward fashion. Apparently Otto smelled GOOD, because two seconds later, the dog leaped onto Otto’s back, trying to hump him. Otto whirled around with a big, bear-like roaring growl and bark – “No WAY, buddy!” But the dog was like a laser-guided missile – completely ignoring me, and fixating on Otto’s nether end. He kept trying to jump up on Otto, who kept growl/snapping and whirling. Somehow, I managed to drop a slip-lead over his head and pulled him away from Otto. Whew!

Relieved to have the dog under control, Otto trotted a few yards away and peed on a tree. Seeing this, the dog immediately went into plow-horse mode, pulling with all his might to go pee on the tree, too.

This is not my favorite kind of dog: stray, intact, and so charged with testosterone and bad manners that he’s about to cause a fight, so eager is he to hump a neutered male dog 20 pounds bigger than he is.

I tied the dog to the tree, and put Otto in the house. Then I went back out and read the dog’s ID tag. Great! It had an address and a phone number; the address is just around the corner and up the block from me. I untied the leash and started walking that way, while using my cell phone to call the number on the tag.

The dog’s owner answered and seemed unsurprised to hear that the dog was out. He asked if I could put the dog back in his yard. Sure, no problem. I got to the house and approached the side gate, noting that there are “coyote rollers” on top of the six-foot fence – lengths of PVC pipe threaded onto a strand of wire fencing; the pipe rolls when a dog tries to jump/climb over the fence. It’s a smart solution that foils the escape plans of many dogs, but this dog obviously found some other way out. I had a feeling this wasn’t going to work, but I put the dog behind the fence and closed the gate.

By the time I reached my front porch, the dog was right behind me, eager for another encounter with Otto. Okay, plan B.

I opened my door, let Otto out, and when the dog started trying, again, to hump my increasingly annoyed dog, I got the lead slipped over the dog’s head again, and put Otto in the house. Thanks and sorry again, Otto!

I called the owner again. He told me that he called his young adult son and asked him to come home from work and and chain the dog up in the backyard. Ah! I said, I could have done that for you. He tells me, no problem, the son is on his way, should be home any minute.

I took the dog back to his house, and tied the leash to a post on the front porch. Another dog comes running to the side gate, a young Australian Cattle Dog-mix, female, maybe five or six months old. Cute! I waited for a few minutes, to see if the dog can handle being tied up. He laiddown on the shady porch, so I felt fine about walking away.

Five minutes later, the dog is on my porch again. Gah! He has his collar on still, and there is no stub of leash, so he didn’t slip the collar or chew his way free. I let Otto out of my house – bait dog! – and walk back toward the dog’s house, him trying to hump Otto the whole way. I am really not liking this dog!

Halfway there, I saw a young man who was obviously looking for the dog. He yelled the dog’s name, to no effect. “It’s okay,” I called to him, “we’re on the way!”

When we reached his front yard, the young man said the obvious: “I unsnapped the leash and he just took off!” He started grabbing at the dog, trying to get ahold of the dog’s collar and yelling the dog’s name. The dog ignored him like he ignored me; all he can think about is humping Otto. I managed to lasso the dog again. “Your dad told me you were going to chain him up? Where is the chain? I can take him there.”

The young man opened the gate and we all went into the very large backyard. There is a small chain-link pen back there, just four feet high, and the puppy was now in there. The young man led the way to a spot where a long cable is fastened to a tree. I clipped it onto the dog’s collar and then Otto and I backed out of the dog’s range. The guy was thanking me, rushing around; he had to get back to work.

I looked around. Lots of stuff for the cable to get wrapped around. Lots of holes where the dog has dug. No water. I said, “Is there a bucket or something for water?” The guy looked around and grabbed a five-gallon bucket, and started to run some water into it. He was grumbling about the dog, and how he’s annoyed because the dog is going to teach his dog, the puppy, some bad habits. I said, “Well, first thing, get the darn dog neutered! He will be less likely to be so obsessed with escaping – and he won’t get your little female pregnant!”

The guys says, “Well, we were going to breed them!”

I was incredulous, but kept my tone teasing and playful. “Why the heck would you do that? Neither one is a purebred, and he’s an a**hole!”

He responded with something about them both being working stock dogs. Uh huh. Here in town. Okay, good luck, and have a nice day.

FIRST THING this morning, the dog was on my front porch, whining for Otto. I got a leash on him and walked him back to his house, and knocked on the door. No one home. Little dogs barking inside. Then I took him back to my house, tied him to the tree out front again, and called animal control. An officer came right over to pick up the dog.

I feel a little bad for not calling the owner again; his number is still in my cell phone. But maybe a ticket or two will inspire him to take more serious measures to contain the dog. And neuter him!






Comments (19)

Why not zeuter or vasectomy to prevent breeding? I have been looking for a long time and have yet to find documentation and evidence to support the claims by those who religiously supports spay or neutoring as the true and only way to address over population.

Posted by: jas | May 26, 2015 4:26 AM    Report this comment

As a former shelter worker and now volunteering with a rescue group, I firmly believe in early spay/neuter as soon as puppy is a healthy size and age. That means bitches should be spayed before first heat to greatly reduce chance of mammary cancer as well as prevent puppies with no chance of a good home. Dogs can safely be castrated at eight weeks if in good health and of a good size. Same reason, won't over populate and avoid male cancers. Studies at that time showed that growth of the males and females was not injured, just slowed down by about a month or so. Other glands do produce testosterone, so yes, all male behaviors will not always disappear but will probably be greatly reduced. After seeing piles of dog and cat bodies waiting to be incinerated, I will never have an intact dog or cat unless the vet tells me that his/her health depends upon remaining intact.
Compliments to Nancy Kerns for doing what she could for this dog.
Agree with Pat Johnson-keep dog inside when away.

Posted by: yarm | May 21, 2015 10:02 AM    Report this comment

I'm disappointed the title and the very last comment seem to indicate neuter will solve all the problems that dog has. That poor dog's biggest problem is his nitwit owners. If the article is any indication then there is no hope for some dogs my intact male and I have met because those other dogs WERE neutered. Some want to hump my boy, some want to fight him. Neuter is not a magical panacea that fixes all behavioural problems. I agree that those owners should probably not have any dog, let alone two intact ones they intend to breed. But as far as YOUR problems with the poor dog, containment of him would solve your problem and if he is not contained neuter alone might not help at all.

Posted by: Dog Paddle | May 13, 2015 8:03 AM    Report this comment

An altered male goes nuts if he smells a female in heat. How many unwanted puppies are in shelters because of unplanned breeding.
U spayed females can develop cancer of the reproductive track. Sadly, I know that from experience.

Posted by: AnnaTee90 | May 13, 2015 2:21 AM    Report this comment

I dont have time to read all the comments so sorry if this is a repeat. I just went through similar problem with idiot neighbors who so neglected their little dog that she was always digging a hole under my gate to get in. Last straw was having her jump up next to me on the couch one night. She had dug under back fence and came in my doggie door. She was left out without water or bed or left in garage because they couldnt be bothered to potty train her.

Spaying was not the issue,not being responsible people was the problem. I finally took her to the humane society in hopes she would find a good home. 24 hours later they finaly realized she was gone and came looking for her.

I have males and they are not altered until growth plates are closed and they do not mark in the house, run off or cause any problems because they are supervised and trained.

Posted by: Kody | May 12, 2015 3:49 PM    Report this comment

I definitely believe the neighbor is lacking education and common sense. They should have worked with the dog from puppy age until now. It has very little to do with neutering.
I have an intact Dachshund. I never wanted an intact dog. But he has a medical reason why he shouldn't risk being put under for the surgery. So I have researcher that being intact is actually very healthy. My dog is not perfect but he doesn't act like this with other dogs. He also doesn't mark all over inside our home. (He will in a new environment if not corrected.)
People need to stop the generalizations and the cliched reasons for altering dogs. Do spay/neuter when safe FOR the dog, not when it's best for humans! And for goodness sake do obedience classes!

Posted by: Seeley's Mom | May 12, 2015 1:35 PM    Report this comment

ARE ALL YOU KIDDING ME! THESE PEOPLE SHOULDN'T EVEN TOUCH A DOG NOT TO MENTION OWN ONE! When the son told you they "chain" the dog and he didn't give him water I would have taken that dog back to my house and called a rescue that would take him (after getting him neutered of course) THEN I would have called animal control and told them to get the other dog and close them down! They should have been fined for chaining the dog with no water. This is animal cruelty plain and simple and they probably beat the dog(s) too!!!

Posted by: ckotymia | May 12, 2015 12:49 PM    Report this comment

Sorry about the headline leading some of you to believe that I thought the entire problem is testosterone.

In the entire blog post, I mentioned at least five other red flags that indicate that I think the owners' poor dog-management is the real problem. The owner's "Oh, is he out again?" attitude on the phone; the "coyote rollers" on the fence (the dog has been doing this for a while); the cable in the backyard where the dog has clearly been tied up a lot -- as judging from the massive holes the dog has dug -- and yet there are all sorts of things for the cable to get wrapped around, and no water in sight; keeping an intact, young female and intact male in the backyard together, with what looks like a part-time and inadequate provision for keeping them from breeding on her first heat; and most obviously, the lack of the dog's training. The whole situation is a disaster waiting to happen.

And yet, it's my personal opinion that neutering would be a great place to start. It would prevent a litter of mixed-breed puppies from a too-young mother. I think it would *reduce* this dog's driver to roam -- not remove it, because he's obviously had a lot of practice and it's more rewarding than being stuck in a backyard all day.

As far as what's most healthy for a dog? I, too, believe it's far healthier for a dog to remain intact. But if this dog's health was a priority for his owner, he wouldn't be out risking his life in traffic.

As I left my house last night to go to the store, I saw the dog running down the middle of the street, so he clearly was picked up by his owners from the shelter the other day. I did a U-turn and went to his house and knocked on the door; I told the woman who answered that I was the one who spoke with the dog's "dad" the other day, and that I just saw him running down the street. As we spoke, he came running back up, and she thanked me, and grabbed him by the collar. As I was getting back into my car, she took him to the side of her house, where I could see that the side gate was open.

And just as I was typing this, I heard my neighbor's dogs barking, and looked out my window. There is the dog, running across my front yard, and peeing on my front steps. - Nancy Kerns, WDJ Editor

Posted by: WDJ Editor Nancy Kerns | May 12, 2015 12:37 PM    Report this comment

There is an excellent study on the pros and cons of spay/neuter by Laura J. Sanborn (Google: Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs Laura J. Sanborn, M.S. May 14, 2007) Although a bit dated, it's one of the reasons I chose a vasectomy for my dog five years ago. I've never had a problem with him wanting to stray and "hump" anyone or anything. In fact, I've read studies on the subject that state the contrary. Many studies suggest neutered dogs tend to display more "humping" behavior than their non-neutered counterparts. Regardless, fixed or not; bad dog parenting is bad dog parenting.

Posted by: Bob | May 12, 2015 11:55 AM    Report this comment

We have this problem where I live, but usually the dog has no collar or tags. My dogs are both spuetered and are housedogs, but are very dog aggressive. Hate it when my babies are outside on their tie-outs to potty and some irresponsible idiot's dog winds up in my yard. I never blame the dog, but occasionally really want to slap the owner...

Posted by: PitsRUs | May 12, 2015 10:40 AM    Report this comment

Amen to the people who say the issue isn't neutering so much as caring enough for your dog to keep him safe.

Posted by: septembermary | May 12, 2015 10:26 AM    Report this comment

Your neighbors are MORONS!! Please do not return the dogs to the owners again. Call Animal Control. Eventually, the ACO can deem the dogs nuisance dogs and remove them from the owners. Stupid should be painful and if enough fines do not get these idiots' attention then maybe losing their dogs will. This issue has nothing to do with spay/neuter and everything to do with plain old stupidity. UGH!! Humans!!!

Posted by: Hugo's Mom | May 12, 2015 9:44 AM    Report this comment

Unfortunately, since you live in Butte County, chances are the owners of the dog won't go get him. If the dog is lucky, someone will adopt him after the required number of days go by but knowing Butte County like I do, the dog will probably be euthanized. There are "backyard breeders" everywhere. I'd bet dollars to donuts the female pup would have been bred her first heat cycle, which is usually before 1 yr; and used as a breeder from there on out. These 'breeders' probably think they can make money breeding and selling their "working stock dogs".

Posted by: lemonhead54 | May 12, 2015 9:43 AM    Report this comment

Keep an intact dog inside? And let him mark everywhere? Don't think so. There are so many health risks to being on the loose, un-vetted, poorly bred. I don't think neutering ranks very high on that list as a problem for most dogs.

Posted by: Kitsumama | May 12, 2015 9:34 AM    Report this comment

I think that we need to consider WHEN to spay/neuter. Pediatric neutering is- as far as I understand the studies- what causes health issues. 20 years ago the rule of thumb was to let your bitch go thru her first heat before spaying and more or less (depending on size) one year old to neuter males. Maybe we should go back to this. Jumping on the ban wagon and refusing to spay/neuter is going to create a influx of un-wanted puppies. I consider this issue similar to that of "no vaccinations of any kind" for your kids. My 2 cents...
Of course responsible ownership is key but... I often cringe when I see how "owners" deal with their dogs.

Posted by: 4OntheFloor | May 12, 2015 9:22 AM    Report this comment

Yes, I've had a problem with a large free-running dog who has a collar. I have never been able to catch him to read the collar. What irritates me the most is that he POOPS IN MY YARD!! I always pick up my dogs' poop immediately after they defecate and it really irritates me to pick up a strange dog's poop that is larger than my two dogs poop put together. Oh well, life is seldom fair...

Posted by: margeam | May 12, 2015 9:21 AM    Report this comment

This story has very little to do with the dog being intact. The moral of this story should NOT be that people should indiscriminately neuter their dogs with no regard for the significant impact the procedure can have on the long-term health of the dog.

The moral of the story should be that there will always be people who own dogs who shouldn't, and these are clearly very bad, irresponsible dog owners. NOT because their dogs are intact, but because they fail to properly contain them, are not especially concerned with their health or safety, and plan to breed them.

Posted by: Julie107 | May 12, 2015 8:42 AM    Report this comment

We had a similar problem with a neighbor's beagle. Finally a day came when I was too busy to catch the dog again and hold it for animal control. It was hit by a car and killed. I cried more tears than the dog's owner. She walked down to our house annoyed that she had to borrow a shovel to bury the dog. When she bought the next pair of dalmatians to breed, we were never too busy to catch them and call animal control.

Posted by: Furrykids | May 12, 2015 8:29 AM    Report this comment

With all the health concerns regarding dogs being neutered, perhaps the issue here isn't having the dog altered or not. The real issue is keeping the dog, and other dogs safe.

KEEP THE DOG INSIDE with things to do while the owner is away.

Posted by: Pat Johnson | May 12, 2015 7:44 AM    Report this comment

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