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How much can neutering calm a dog down?

3653 Views 13 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  mustluvdogs66
Hi, I have a 9 month-old mini poodle/sheepdog mix. I read online that mini poodles and sheepdogs just need 2 20-minute walks per day, and have an "off" switch inside the house. However, even after he plays for an hour, he still has lots of energy and wants to play (and will bark and nip if I won't indulge him). I really just want to spend 40 minutes per day on walking, and not more.

Also, the nipping is a bit of a problem. When I have guests over, he nips them, and it can be painful. I've tried saying "no" in a calm but forceful manner, and I've tried yipping like a puppy, but neither works. He's not aggressive or angry, he just doesn't seem to understand that he's hurting people that he loves.

The dog has a great personality, I just wonder if these things will improve in the next 2 years of his life. Also, he has neutering coming up, and I wonder if that could be a big help. What do you guys think? At this point, I'm inclined to give him to a trusted friend who leads a very active lifestyle. However, if you think there's potential once he gets neutered for this to be a lot more manageable, maybe I should keep him.
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Neutering is a guarantee of nothing other than stopping the dog's ability to breed. It does not typically result in any significant behavioral changes.

Your dog is still a puppy, and they are generally higher energy and lack the off switch of adults, but a mix of those two breeds is likely to be on the higher end of the energy spectrum and will likely need more than two twenty-minute walks a day. I mean, you can probably get away with that, but you would have to supplement it with training sessions, or perhaps a game of fetch, something that lets him run and exert some energy.
I don't disagree with you storyist, since every dog truly is different. But your post made me chuckle because I had a 50% rottie/X who was a pediatric neuter. He was a heavy marker and absolutely took "offense over what he considers an insult to his pride" - that is such a perfect description for his ornery nature towards dogs.

That said, there is an anecdote for every case out there! I agree with everyone that neutering, in itself, will likely not help OP's dog calm down.

I think a lot of anecdotal experience is just chance and correlation. My still-intact 3 yo male did calm down more at around 1 year of age. If I happened to neuter him them, why wouldn't I believe neutering helped him calm down? At around 1.5-2 years of age I dropped him from 5.5 cups a day to 3.5 cups a day because he refused to eat, even though he had been eating 5+ cups for all of his life so far. If I had neutered then, would I have said that neutering resulted in a drop in metabolism and appetite? It's just too easy to pin behavior change on something obvious and visible, like a surgery, rather than on something we can't see - the constant chemical changes happening in a dog's body and brain and they mature.
LOL I was going to say the same thing! Ralphie was neutered at six months and still marks heavily, was a terribly obnoxious humper in his youth (probably more due to excitement than actual sexual behavior, haha), and would get very excited if he met a female in heat. He, however, does not typically take too much offense to insults to his pride and is more likely to back down, but I think he would likely be that way even if he was intact! That's just an individual dog thing.

Conversely, we had an intact dog years ago when I was still in high school who was also a voracious humper of people both great and small, marker, and liked to randomly run off when he was supposed to be helping with the cows. At around 1.5 years old those behaviors just stopped. He was not neutered and never was. Could it be that he grew a brain?!?!

So I agree with you, I think many of the perceived behavior changes from neutering may actually just be the dog maturing and up to chance!

Some things to consider: walks are not the be all and end all of making a busy dog mentally stimulated and emotionally/physically satisfied. What else are you doing with the puppy? Training, even 'silly' tricks, is a good way to get their brain working and take the edge off them getting into trouble due to boredom. Same with feeding out of puzzle toys or tools like a snuffle mat, so they engage those problem solving skills and foraging behaviors on something constructive/appropriate. One of my favorite activities for days when there's nasty weather or it's otherwise difficult to get out on a long walk are nosework games, because they're easy to set up indoors and really tire a dog out!

For the walks themselves, where you bring them can matter. A walk on a short leash on asphalt around the same route every time can get boring quick, especially if you don't allow the dog to stop and sniff or explore a bit. Walking next to us at a human pace is typically REALLY slow for most dogs, so it doesn't even get much physical energy out. If possible, look for parks, forested areas, and other natural spaces where you can let your dog explore on a long line. 20 minutes in the woods vs. 20 minutes around the neighborhood makes a HUGE difference with my dogs in terms of how tired and content they are afterwards.
This is a good idea, too. I live on 22 acres in the country now, so it's easy to properly exercise my Aussie/Collie mix, but when we lived in town I would put him on a long line and harness and take him to large green areas for walks. This pretty much doubled the amount of exercise and mental stimulation he was able to get as opposed to just walking on a 6 ft leash beside me. Most weekday walks were only 45 minutes. Most of time he was ready to go lay down and chill, but sometimes he needed a little training session or a game in the backyard to really be satisfied.

But, we also did agility at least once a week. On the weekends our walks would usually be an hour or more, though, also on the long line.
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