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How much can neutering calm a dog down?

3655 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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I have an oversized mini poodle and a puppy (different breed) only a month or so younger than yours.

Poodles run the gamut. Some lines are pretty chill, but many are more intense and very go-go-go dogs, smart enough to be constantly looking for something to engage their brain, especially when they're younger. My 7 year old would be fine with 2x20 minute walks most days (but happier if he gets something longer at least a couple times a week), but that wasn't true when he was younger. Knowing the personalities of your pup's parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. can help predict whether he'll be more chill or more active, but each dog is still an individual. Additionally, puppies of any breed virtually always need more attention and engagement from us than a mature dog does.

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.

And make sure to enforce naptime in the house. If your puppy seems really worked up and obnoxious, especially if he hasn't slept for a while, he may well be overtired (just like a toddler!). Our puppy still needs us to occasionally intervene and put him in his pen until he settles down and sleeps for a while. Nine times out of ten, he's much less demanding, loud, and intent on getting into everything once he's had a nap.

All that being said, there's no shame in admitting a dog isn't fitting with your lifestyle. Puppies are HARD, and your lifestyle may lend itself more to a mature dog that you already know has a laid back personality. I'd personally rather people rehome a dog into a more suitable household than make both the dog and themselves miserable trying to make something work.

Just going to end by backing up the others: neutering is no guarantee of changing behavior. Our m. poodle was neutered <8 weeks, and still behaved as a puppy very much like how you describe your boy (also he humps, screams if he can't greet other dogs on-leash, gets destructive when he's bored, etc.). Our current puppy is intact and will likely stay that way unless a medical concern pops up. He's a busier puppy than our poodle was, but that's because he's from lines that are more active; none of his obnoxious puppy behaviors are hormonally motivated.
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