Yesterday someone reached out for help with an adolescent male German Shepherd that had launched at someone and bitten a person. When I gave her a possible date to come over for an evaluation she mentioned that on that day the dog would get neutered, an advice she got from her veterinarian to reduce and avoid any aggressive behaviors in the future.
I was very disappointed to hear that as over the last 15 years research has proven that neutering and spaying have the opposite effect. Neutering male dogs causes more behavioral problems. ( Dr. Coren 2018) Unfortunately veterinarians today still advice this very outdated procedure to “solve” aggression and over-excitement based behavioral problems. I believe the reason for that is two fold. The main reason is outdated schooling at the current Vet-University programs who often still teach practices and protocols established in the 1960s. Another reason is the money, neutering and spaying is an easy and quick buck in their pocket.
Veterinarians - outdated information and false statements
The problem in today’s society is that the internet is full of false statements about neutering and spaying. Some of these websites are professionals such as large groups of Humane societies and many veterinary groups. Almost every member of these groups talks about responsible dog ownership and that the responsibility we have as humans is to spay and neuter our animals. They will give outdated statements like:
Spaying and neutering makes dogs more affectionate
Neutering reduces sex hormones that contribute to stress and aggression
Most aggression problems are avoided by early neutering
Beside the above statement some veterinarians will also state that neutering a male dog will reduce the risk of prostate-cancers, which is absolutely false, the opposite is actually the truth. Neutered males have a much higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Dr. Smith a highly renowned reproductive specialist here in Washington State said to me: “ In my 33 years of reproductive medicine I have not seen one intact male with neoplasia (prostate cancer), all neoplasia cases were neutered males.” She also stated that unfortunately still many veterinarians today have outdated and false information on spaying and neutering. Dr. Smith is a Member of the Society for Theriogenology (since 2000) and a regular attendee to educational conferences on the topic of canine reproduction.
Another leading veterinarian is Dr. Karen Becker, she is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. Here is what she has to say about spaying and neutering: