Our Neutering Policy
Every dog is different so it would be unfair of us to suggest that all un-neutered dogs act the same way. This is why we have put into place a "Stages System".
Deciding when to neuter your male dog can often seem like a bit of a minefield, especially when there are so many contradicting views and so much information available about the subject online. Here at Lakeland Dog Walker, our summary on the matter is fairly simple- it all depends on the individual dog.
While it is music to our ears when we hear a dog has been neutered, we don’t have a blanket policy for dogs to be neutered by a certain age, as it just doesn’t make sense. The best time to neuter depends on a whole multitude of things and as such, we will always make recommendations and decisions based only on that individual dog, the behaviour they are demonstrating, and what we think is best for them.
To give a starting point, unless you have a large breed dog, puppies will be fine to be neutered from 7-8 months old and this is when many choose to book their dogs in with the vets (It’s not recommended to neuter any younger than 6 months).
As the testosterone levels in male dogs starts to rise, we generally start to see a change in behaviour as their true personality gets swamped by hormones. This starts to show itself by dogs humping, guarding, becoming fixated on other dogs, becoming stressed and vocal and ultimately becoming ‘spikey’ and aggressive with other dogs. None of this is suited to a harmonious social environment such as our pack walks, and importantly- none of this is nice for that dog either.
This change in behaviour almost always happens when out with us first, as this is the place where they are around other dogs that they feel most comfortable and settled. Often, we will let owners know and it will come as a surprise because they haven’t seen it themselves in the local park or with their friends’ dogs etc. This is totally normal, but does sometimes make it difficult to explain to owners that the problem is on the horizon and now is the time to act before it gets worse and spills into those lovely neighbourhood walks.
At Lakeland Dog Walker, we are determined to provide the safest, friendliest and most sociable environment for all our dogs to be in. As such, we welcome unneutered dogs under the following conditions:
they are not excessively humping
they are not displaying dominant behaviour
they are not causing dominant behaviours from other dogs due to their intact status
they are not creating an unsafe play environment
their presence is not reducing the overall peacefulness of the group
All dogs are constantly monitored when they are out with us, but as male dogs reach 7-8 months of age, we keep an extra careful eye on them to watch out for the behaviours listed above. If/ when these do start to show, we’ll let you know through the following stages:
Stage 1: Their behaviour is naturally starting to shift and we are starting to see infrequent examples of the list above during their with us. Now is the time to start thinking about neutering- if your pup is over 7 months and is not a large breed dog, we would recommend to get them booked in for neutering.
Stage 2: Their behaviour has progressed and we are now seeing these issues more frequently and it is preventing them from fully enjoying and flourishing when out with us- but is still manageable in the short term. Once a dog reaches this stage, they need to be booked in for neutering as soon as possible to be able to continue coming out with Lakeland Dog Walker.
Stage 3: The issues we have been seeing are now consistent and their behaviour is now disruptive and poses a risk to other dogs. They are no longer able to safely go on a social group walk. If they don’t get neutered, we unfortunately can no longer offer them a place on a Lakeland Dog Walker walk and we will recommend a dog walker that offers solo dog walking.
It’s important to keep in mind that behaviour changes can progress quickly and dogs can go from stage 1 to stage 3 in a very short space of time. Stage 1 is always the most sensible time to take action to make sure that negative hormonal behaviour traits don’t become learned behaviour- something that will cause a bigger and longer-term problem for your dog as it is less likely to change even after neutering.
Remember that when speaking to your vet about neutering, it’s really important to explain to them that they attend a social dog walks and that they are displaying these behaviours, and that the advice to neuter is based on this rather than a blanket policy, or one based on age.
If you have reservations about neutering your dog, please speak to us about them and we can offer advice and our opinion based on the care we have provided to social dogs over a 6 year period. Whist the vast majority of owners choose to surgically neuter their dogs, if you want to test the water beforehand to see what effects it has- chemically neutering is a great alternative (We have seen a few dogs have this and their behaviour has improved tremendously). This is an implant that lasts either 6 months or a year that provides the same result as surgically neutering your dog, but means that it can be left to expire if it doesn’t have the desired effect on behaviour within social environments. If you do go for the chemical option, you must make sure that you keep up with this each time they come to expire, or have them fully neutered in place of the implant, for your dog to be able to keep coming out with Lakeland Dog Walker.#
With female dogs, the general recommendation from vets is to have your pup spayed after a year old, either before they come into season, or after their first season- whichever you personally prefer. Un-spayed female dogs are very welcome at Lakeland Dog Walker, apart from when they are actually in season. During this time, they need to be kept out of group play to prevent any unwanted pregnancies and also to prevent the boys going wild! If you choose not to spay your female dog, this is absolutely fine- you’ll just need to factor in that they won’t be able to be walked by us during each season and these days will need to be cancelled as soon as possible. A season will usually last 2-3 weeks from start to finish.