Whether your dog will stop mounting after neutering is information you may need before making the important decision of neutering your dog.
Neutering has often been portrayed as being a cure-all surgery, magically causing undesirable behavior to melt as ice cream under the sun. However, this is far from being true.
In general, neutering will only impact behaviors that are, for the most part, hormonally-driven, meaning behaviors that are triggered by the hormone testosterone.
It's therefore important clarifying what behaviors are hormonally-driven, and which are not.
However, sometimes even hormonally-driven behaviors can establish, making them challenging to eradicate.
What Happens When Dogs are Neutered?
Neutering in dogs, also known as castration, is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the dog's testicles (orchiectomy) which is where sperm is produced.
The procedure is carried out mainly for the purpose of preventing the birth of unwanted litters, but sometimes it can also be suggested for behavior modification (although not proven to be entirely effective other than for some hormone-related behaviors).
What happens when dogs are neutered?
Basically, the procedure results in significantly reduced levels of the male hormone testosterone.
How Long Does it Take for Testosterone to Leave the Dog's Body?
After being neutered, testosterone levels tend to gradually decline. In general, the "half life" of the hormone testosterone in dogs is approximately two weeks.
This means that in two weeks testosterone hormone levels are expected to be 50 percent less than prior to castration.
Afterwards, it's a downward spiral, with the levels gradually declining more and more until they reach the level of zero by the end of the two weeks (sometimes it may take longer).
By this time, there should be a reduction in hormonally-driven behaviors such as roaming, mounting and urine marking.
However, it's important to take into account the fact that behaviors have also a learning component, meaning that they can be habit-forming, and sometimes may persist despite neutering.
Various Types of Mounting In Dogs
There is mounting and mounting when it comes to dogs. Therefore, answering whether neutering a dog will stop him from mounting will depend on what type of mounting the dog is manifesting.
Following are several forms of mounting.
Mounting from Overstimulation: You see this form of mounting when dogs are overly aroused and overstimulated. It's one of the most common forms of mounting when there are many things going on.
Just as with dogs barking, jumping, nipping and spinning, biting their tails, mounting may occur as a displacement behavior. The behavior provides an outlet for the dog’s emotional arousal.
We sometimes see this form of mounting in puppies when they are overstimulated or getting cranky. Just like tired toddlers, puppies may start to misbehave when they are in dire need for a nap.
Mounting to Relieve Stress: Does the mounting happen when guests are over? Does it happen at the dog park? Does it happen when the dog is left alone?
Humping can be a way to release stress in situations that may be a tad bit overwhelming. Perhaps these are situations that trigger anxiety.
For instance, scolding a dog for something he did much earlier that the dog no longer can connect, can become a source of anxiety needing an outlet—a displacement behavior in the form of mounting, explains board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Laurie Bergman in an article for Clinician's Brief.
Mounting for Attention: Then you have humping as a way to get attention. Let's face it: the behavior does sure garner a load of attention and smart dogs may learn to use the behavior to their advantage.
It may go something like this: the dog is home alone for a good part of the day and the biggest perk of the day is greeting his owners coming home.
Upon their arrival, the dog is super excited and anticipates an evening of great fun. The owners feed him and then mom sits at the computer to answer emails, dad binge watches his favorite show, and the kids are in their own rooms playing video games.
How can the puppy brighten things up a bit? Perhaps he may try running around a bit, or barking. Not much luck. Maybe he can try to lick the owner's hand? Nah..
So next, he tries humping the owner's legs. Bingo, this behavior is a winner! The owner finally takes his eyes off the screen and pushes Rover away saying: "Bad dog!"
So what did the puppy get out of this? The puppy got his owner to look at him, touch him and even talk to him all at once. How great is that?
Yes, because to a puppy craving attention, any form of attention is a reward, even if it's of the negative type!
Mounting from Medical Problems: Something worth considering is that sometimes humping may be triggered by certain medical conditions. This is often the case with dogs who have never humped before and suddenly take a liking for the activity.
A common medical condition known to cause humping in puppies and dogs is a urinary tract infection. Although these are more common in female dogs due to their conformation, male dogs may develop these too at times.
Because urinary tract infections cause discomfort with a burning sensation, it is not unusual for dogs to try hump as a way to ease the unpleasant sensation.
Licking their private areas may be seen too as dogs tend to lick painful areas.
Other medical problems known to trigger humping include allergies and general local irritation or itchiness.
Mounting to Self -Soothe: some dogs engage in mounting their beds as part of self-soothing routine, sort of like the thumb-sucking behavior seen in toddlers.
Mounting as a Desire to Mate: Worth mentioning is that sometimes humping is really what it looks like.
This is often the case of male dogs reaching reproductive maturity, which in general happens around the age of 5 to 6 months.
If there is a female in heat nearby, your dog may therefore vent his frustration and desires by humping.
This is hormonal-driven humping, and can be diminished to a certain extent by neutering, although there are cases of humping that may persist even in neutered males.
How Do You Stop Mounting as Part of Play?
Many intact male dogs will want mount other dogs at the dog park when they play. This can be due to overstimulation.
If your dog mostly mounts dogs during play, you will need to take steps to manage the situation to prevent rehearsal of the problematic behavior.
Hoping that other dogs correct your dog is not good as mounting can lead to squabbles.
It is therefore your responsibility to give your dog lots of breaks in play, so to prevent your dog from trying to mount other dogs.
Does Neutering Solve a Dog's Behavioral Problems?
Contrary to conventional wisdom neutering is not the universal solution for all behavior issues.
In fact, it has been established that in many cases, neutering leads to increased incidence of aggressive or fearful responses and over-excitability.
On the bright side though, veterinarian Dr. Crnec points out that neutering helps eliminate several undesirable testosterone-triggered behaviors such as:
- Urine marking (both indoors and outdoors) to inform other dogs of his presence and territories. For example, dogs peeing on car tires, fire hydrants and bushes.
- Roaming in search of a mate (which can be particularly dangerous for indoor dogs that are not capable of surviving on their own).
- Mounting and humping (on people, other dogs and inanimate objects).
- Aggressiveness towards other male dogs particularly if there is a female in heat nearby.
What Do Studies Say?
Behavior-wise, several studies s published between the 1970s and 1990s suggested that neutering helped in reducing urine marking, roaming, and mounting most likely due to the reduction in testosterone levels.
A more recent study conducted in 2021 confirmed the above findings when it came to mounting behavior, showing a significant reduction in nine months after neutering.
However, there are also some studies providing some contradictory findings such neutering leading to certain unexpected behavioral changes such as increased aggression, fearfulness, excitability, anxiety, and decreased trainability.
Health-wise, studies have revealed that when dogs are not neutered, they become more predisposed to benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate), perineal hernias and adenomas, prostatitis, and testicular neoplasia.
Whereas, neutering has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer and diabetes mellitus, along with a possible increase in joint disorders.
Will My Dog Stop Mounting After Neutering?
As seen, it's hard to know whether neutering a dog will prevent mounting.
Although there are studies, the effects induced by neutering remain controversial, probably because several benefits and adverse effects also depend upon the age the dog is neutered and breed.
Decisions should therefore be made on a case-by-case basis considering the dog's age, breed, sex, temperament and household environment.
In general, if the behavior is hormonally-driven there are chances that neutering will reduce that.
However, there are no certainties, considering how the mounting behavior may be carried out for various reasons, and there are countless spayed and neutered dogs who still mount!
Consider that each choice you make for your dog has its consequences – the type of dog food you use, the frequency of parasite control, annual boosting.
Each decision should be fact-based and well researched. This includes the decision whether or not to have your dog spayed/neutered, suggests veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec.
If you own a male dog who is mounting a lot and which you do not plan on breeding it is therefore highly advisable to talk to your trusted vet.
The vet will explain the pros and cons of this procedure and also help you determine the best time to neuter your canine baby.
Is Neutering a Dog Reversible?
No, if your dog is neutered through a surgical procedures it's irreversible.
Through the surgery, the vet removes both testicles causing the dog to become permanently sterile.
Veterinarians do not perform reversible vasectomies as it happens in humans.
Chemical Castration: a Reversible Option for Dogs
A Suprelorin implant is a microchip-sized device that's injected under the dog's skin between the shoulders and lower back.
It works by temporary suppressing testosterone.
Suprelorin takes more than a month to start working, and therefore, female dogs in heat should be kept away for 4 - 6 weeks after the implant has been inserted.
Each implant lasts for at least 6 months and every Suprelorin® box contains two implants.
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