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Ask the Trainer: Should I Spay or Neuter My Dog?

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“Steve, should I neuter my dog?  I want to, but my friend said I shouldn’t.  Thank you!” – Daniella P.

Hi Daniella,

I don’t blame you for being confused.  There is a lot of misinformation out there and plenty of myths spread by uninformed owners.  Almost every one of my clients ask me about spay and neutering.  This is a very personal choice and one to ask your veterinarian.  

However, since you asked for my opinion, I will give it to you.  I personally believe in always choosing to spay and neuter.

Here are just a few of the terrible “reasons” why some owners don’t want to spay/neuter and my thoughts:

– “My dog is a house dog and doesn’t roam free, so he doesn’t need to be neutered.” – This sounds good on paper, but dogs accidentally get loose from their yard/home every day.  All it takes is just 5 minutes for your dog to find the female dog in heat 10 houses down the road.

“Only one litter and I am done breeding.” – That justification is the reason why we have a pet overpopulation issue.  Millions of people say that, and each of their litters make six puppies…so now we needlessly have too many dogs (ending up in shelters).

“I will find a home for all the puppies, so what’s the harm?” – That may be true, but “free to a good home” does not count.  Besides, even if you are able to find a home for your puppies, that means an equal number of dogs are put down or waiting in shelters across the country.  Save yourself the aggravation and save a life…spay/neuter and don’t breed.

“I want my kids to see the miracle of birth.” – It’s 2016, not 1916.  We have Physical Education and Health class in our schools for that or simply talk to your children.  It’s not your dog’s job to teach that.

“We love our dog, she’s so cute and special, there should be more of her.” – I don’t doubt that your dog is cute and special to you, but our animal shelters & rescues are filled with nearly 8 million cute, happy, and loving animals waiting for a home.  Enjoy your dog and let the would-be owners of your puppies adopt a shelter puppy that desperately needs a home.

“I don’t want him to get fat.” – Neutering/spaying doesn’t do that, too much food and a lack of exercise causes obesity.

“It will change his personality.” – The way your raise your dog and proper socialization influence your dog’s personality more than having them fixed ever will.

“It’s not natural and I could never look him in the eye after he’s fixed.” – Those are foolish excuses.  Most of what we do with our dogs are unnatural…having them on leash, not allowing them to hunt for their food, taking them to the groomer, etc.  And make sure not to attach human emotions/feelings on your dog.  They don’t feel emasculated or less “macho” after being fixed.

“I can’t afford the spay/neuter surgery.” – Spay or neuter surgeries are far less expensive than the cost of caring for a litter of puppies, or the cost of treating testicular and uterine cancers which are eliminated when a dog is sterilized. In addition, organizations are available in nearly every corner of the nation to assist in veterinary expenses, including providing free or low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to pet owners. You can find a list of such resources in your area right here.

As I said earlier, this is a personal choice.  Just make sure you make a responsible decision that is based on facts and reality, not on other people’s myths and false information.  The lives of millions of dogs are at stake, based on your decisions and mine.

Dog trainer Steven Reid is owner of S.R. Dog Training in Westchester NY.  Learn more about S.R. Dog Training at: www.srdogtraining.com. Also “Like” Steve on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/SRDogTraining.


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  1. Avatar Of Milan Milan says:

    Thanks Steve for the great info. I was considering spaying my dog and this piece of article just come in great.

  2. Avatar Of Felix Abur Felix Abur says:

    Thanks Steve. Could you point me out to a post that talks about advantages of spaying/neutering? I especially would like to know if spaying and neutering would help in stopping some behavioral issues such as leg-humping, chewing, barking, etc.

  3. Avatar Of Leigh Leigh says:

    Such a well thought out article. I also agree that there are way too many puppies stuck in shelters that can’t find a good home. Spaying and neutering is the responsible thing to do.

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