Periodic binges of household destruction, digging and scratching. Indoor restlessness & irritability. Pacing, whining, unable to settle down or focus. Door-dashing, fencejumping and assorted escape behaviors; wandering & roaming. Baying, howling, overbarking. Barking & lunging at passersby; fence fighting. Lunging & barking at and fighting with other male dogs. Non-compliant; pushy and bossy attitude towards caretakers and strangers. Uncooperative, Resistant; an unwillingness to obey commands; refusal to come when called. Pulling & dragging of leash holder outdoors; excessive sniffing.
Sexual frustration; excessive grooming of genital area. Offensive growling, snapping, biting, mounting people and objects. Masturbation. A heightened sense of territoriality, marking with urine indoors. Excessive marking on outdoor scent posts.
Intolerant; possessive/overprotective behavior; growling/snapping around food or toys.
The behaviors described above can be attributed to male sexuality. As a male puppy matures and enters adolescence, his primary social focus shifts from people to dogs; the human/canine bond becomes secondary. The limited attention span will make any type of training difficult at best.
If you are thinking about breeding your dog, even once, so he can experience sexual fulfillment ... don't do it! This will only let the dog "know what he's missing" and will elevate his level of frustration. If you have any of the problems listed above, they will probably get worse; if you do not, their onset will be just around the corner.
Male dogs should be neutered at the onset of adolescence (usually between 7 and 9 months), preferably before any of these undesirable behaviors appear. If a specific behavior is allowed to develop and become an established part of the dog's routine, it may be difficult to eliminate.
This does not mean that, if the dog is already exhibiting these behaviors, you should not bother to have him neutered. Neutering does facilitate retraining of the dog. More often than not, habituated behaviors can be greatly reduced or eliminated if the male has been castrated prior to the beginning of serious retraining efforts.
Micky Niego, Companion Animal Services
Courtesy of the ASPCA
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