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Hi, now before I start , please understand that I do know about the coat changes etc when castrating a setter and my sole intention is to avoid castration if possible and unless of medical reasons. So this is my dilemma at present:

Reuben will be 3 in June and is at present entire. He is a great pet and though very strong willed and very cheeky ( like most of them), he is well balanced, whistled trained for recall, no aggression and generally a very good boy. I have worked very hard with his training and had a well behaved ( but not robotic) family dog. As we didn't want to castrate, we have used superlorin implants twice since he was approx 12 months old. The idea being that we could get through a adolescent stage of raging hormones and keep the focus on training. The implant was not a wonder drug but did help. Now we have not used an implant for nearly 12 months as I didn't want to just keep messing with his hormones as felt it was not fair. Gradually his marking became more constant, slight aggression to some on lead dogs and definite confidence increase in the form of bolshyness. I expected this and am aware it is natural and have tried to accommodate with training. BUT it is now at the point of whatever we do, we can compete with the hormones - not humping but sniffing, marking and very unresponsive outside the home. He is howling at lot in the morning and obviously very distressed at times. He wants to listen ( I know he does, bless) but can not help his natural urges! Our walks are now a nightmare, my husband and I getting very frustrated as we can't trust him off lead and on lead he just pulls us to sniff and pee anywhere - and we have never let him pee whilst on lead etc. we live in a small town with lots of fields but also lots of dogs and people.

My question is, do we castrate as I don't want him to be stressed and us not enjoying our pet. Yes the coat will change but first and foremost he is our family pet.

OR

Do we implant again and see if in a years time he is any different?

I don't want to keep making his hormones go up and down and mess him about, so I suppose we are thinking castrate at the moment. And I must stress , not for us but for his well being and possibly our ability to remain sane and not feel cross with him for something he can't help!

I do think also that he is quite a highly sexed individual as he has a setter friend who shows no hormone probs at all, completely opposite.mtherefore they re all individual I think.

Anyway , anyone who can offer constructive advice would be most welcomed!

Thank you

Louise

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Wow, thank you everyone for your responses and they are very helpful as sometimes just clarify things for me or indeed look at it from a different angle ie, superlorin delaying the 'young gun phase' etc.

I tend not to let Reuben pee, whilst on leash as he is really only on leash when walking through town, garden centres and the park path - so not appropriate. He has a lot of off lead time in fields etc and can pee all he wants then. I didnt want him marking the whole of nailsea, claiming it as his territory, and this has never been a problem until extreme randy hormones kick in. I do walk him on lead across fields more often lately as, i have to keep putting him back on lead for his general roaming too far and causing trouble for other dogs and their owners. Not aggression but having his nose firmly planted in their bum (the dog of course, not the owner) or just not coming back to me at all and usually would have tied a few  groups of dogs and owners together by their own leads! Aggression is definitely not my main concern but i wouldnt want him thinking it is acceptable to be all mouthy with other dogs when he is on lead. And I usually just ignore this behaviour whilst walking at a fast pace with Reuben on a tight leash.

Fran , you exactly put my thoughts into perspective and understand where i am coming from. I dont want to change Reuben and hate the phrase and myth "oh yes, castration calms them down'. What i do want is a happy dog with happy owners who dont spend all their time worrying about their dog stressing or running accross roads, being a constant bother to others and possibly getting aggressive.

Yes the time of year must have an influence but the reason I have used superlorin before was because i didnt seem to get anywhere further forward without it and as Sue mentioned it was never a quick fix. maybe if i ride the storm and allow longer time and more effort (than already) on my part - things will settle. Realistically though, as a full time student, volunteer worker, mother and wife, I am not able to soley be around Reuben to ensure all my training methods ar e 100% consistent. My husband now understands how important it is and works with me and my dog walker does what he can which is great but after that I am exhausted. I am not making excuses as i enjoy training and very interested in Animal behaviour etc, but also have to acknowledge the limitations.

Also I (note I as in personal opinion)  have to ask the question: Why are we so anti neutering setters? If honest a lot of owners dont want to because of the coat changes - so isnt that us owners putting our vanity before the dogs best intentions. I mean they run around with natural sex urges, that they are forbidden to aquire relief from , unless breeding for our purposes. Please do not shoot me down as i know not that clear cut but just something that crosses my mind when considering Reuben's welfare.

All I know is that when Reuben wasn't under the influence of raging hormones, he appeared happy, energetic, cheeky, relaxed at home and well trained. In comparison now, he is still cheeky and lovely etc but finding it hard to focus on us at all when out, wont play fetch or hide and seek and whines a lot. This then results in his dad getting very cross and frustrated with him, me chasing after him alot and other people being very grumpy with us too. So for now as still in a quandry about a permanent decision to remove his bits and pieces, we have decided to implant again and try and get things back on track (like Sue suggested) and revaluate after that.

Thank you everyone and this really is a topic that crops up all the time isnt it, lol!

Oh and Terry, i have cats and would castrate them everytime. But glad you havent experienced any problems.

So many young entire dogs do try their hand a bit in various ways, it seemed from your posting you wanted help with Reuben ,through what I would describe as the young gun phase. I have had 5 males at this age and all in some way changed slightly when fully grown but not fully matured. All were large breed dogs, the phrase young gun was not meant any other way than a light hearted term for the behaviour you described.

I do not believe the potential coat changes greatly influence decisions to neuter, I have had one dog neutered at 14yrs old for health reasons he lived for 18 good months afterwards.

I think you are doing what you believe is the best for you and yours, I mentioned I considered it but we didn't give him it as the treatment for his illness completely zapped his immune system,so introducing a foreign body which we couldn't remove to a dog with at the time a suppressed immune system wasn't a good idea.
Oh Delia, yes indeed I was after help and please do not misunderstand me as I thought your idea on the young gun phase was very useful. I still think this could be the case. Blinking emailing and forum communicating never as good as verbal converse, lol And yes I def think Reuben not mature yet.
The coat changes thought was just something I have recently contemplated and wanted to do so out loud and everyone has there own reasons to neuter.

We all hopefully do what is best for our dog and I really particularly appreciated your response so please accept my apologies if it came across any other way.

Thank you again
Oh and just to add that this site always helps me as I read and digest and chew over people's, advice, experience etc and helps me put things in to perspective and look at things I may not have thought of. This is my first setter, so I take on board all the useful comments I can.
No problems at all! I wasn't sure so I just wanted to double check you understood me as sometimes in my own head I am clear but it comes out wrong.
We all want the perfect dog but they all do things from time to time that seem out of character, they other day I was with Murphy and a lady held her dog back saying to me the bitch can be funny. The lady's tone was friendly but before I knew it Murphy morphed into a big barking machine! We had never met before the other dog just kept quiet so passers by must have thought look at that mad setter but they didn't hear the owner or see mannerisms or the look in the dogs face!
Barking machine, yes indeed Reuben does that every now and again and usually when running and playing with other dogs. However it is a very high pitched bark and any observer would beg to differ that he actually possessed his man dangles!

Aw, bless Jasper Finn.

And yes they are all certainly individuals

My Cash is 2 1/2 now.  Neutered at about 8 months old.  He can get excited and try to hump my teenage son often, a quick push off and firm no and that ends that.  He has never tried to mount another dog.  I find this discussion very interesting because we do have 90% neutered males at our dog park daily.  We have a few elderly intact males that don't bother a soul but have an entire park following them and sniffing them intently.  The whole vibe changes when an intact adult comes in.  Not a pup but adult male.  Today this lovely German Shorthair, intact, was just frantic going dog to dog, male or female, trying to groom and mount.  The dog is just over a year old.  I watched him grow up and he was totally into the field and the birds.  Now everyday I see him, he is just fixated on finding someone, anyone to hump.  He is panting and I wouldn't say he looks to be enjoying himself.  Since one after another the dogs force him to stop it.  So in that regard, I would say this young dog is very hypersexual.  And not enjoying himself in the least.  But I do see many intact males who are just fine and mannerly.  I would say Louise that it is just so individual with each dog.  I agree with Sue H.  Try another implant for the year and see how things go after that.  Given a choice I probably would have left my boy alone.  But it was for best for our situation to neuter him.  And while his coat isn't as fabulous as one would want, I love him just the same and do the best I can (with Tracy's help) to keep him looking groomed.  Like Rueben, Cash is our family pet, and he is such a happy boy.  I wouldn't want him to spend his days just looking for a mate.  I hope Reuben's hormones settle down with age and that you can look back and be glad you waited another year to see.  BUT, the big but, it's so true that if your trying to neuter for aggression issues, waiting will only reinforce it and not give you the results you want.  Leash aggression can be more common, it's an unnatural way for dogs to meet. I see that all the time.  They are sort of trapped so they have to bark out and take on a different approach as another dog moves towards them.

I understand that being on a short leash forces dogs to meet head on which is unnatural to them and usually a sign of dominace/threat. If the dogs are off leash they normally approach each other side on as a sign of subordinance, often turning their heads as well before they are sure that it's ok to go for a sniff. I find this quite useful when walking Errol on the leash and tend to actually keep him on a loose leash when approaching other dogs rather than to force him to walk at heel which I feel just hightens the tension. So far we've had no problems and we have a number of "heavy duty" dogs around where we live.  

 

Sue, the dog you described at your local park sounds like Reuben - desperately bothering all the dogs, looking for a bitch and almost in a frenzied manner! I do think Reuben is quite highly sexed and so opposite to another local male setter ( entire and same age), but couldn't care less about finding a bitch. It's interesting how opposite they can be really.

Yes I hope his hormones settle down too, so we got another implant weds morning and will give him another year and if he is the same then we prob would castrate. I will just have to find someone local or get some knowledge from you guys on how to best care for his coat and any extra supplements etc that may help. I , like you want him to be a happy, contented family pet and that is the most important thing. Oh and he has just appeared on the sofa with my bra in his mouth - now he is a saucy minx, haha. Though probably because it smells of the fox cubs I have been working with today!

Cara loves clothes, she always has some in her mouth, socks, underware, jeans, sweaters never know what she is going to bring me

 

Well update on Reuben is that he is 3 weeks into his suprelorin implant and I think at peak testosterone levels. Hopefully the level will start to drop sometime soon as the howling is also at it's peak and his general whining too! Out on walks at the moment he is just a bundle of hormone who is so hyped up and just no interest apart from sniffing, marking and basically wanting to mate. Last week I could actually distract him a bit with the ball and tasty treats but this week he is not interested in either. Too make matters worse, I think there is a bitch in season at the circus across the road from us in the park as he goes absolutely mental when anyway near there!

I feel very sorry for the poor chap and I know he is really miserable at the moment, probably from pure frustration and changes in hormones. I know the implant is responsible for the extreme peak of testosterone but he was quite bad previous to that too. I am trying to be patient as much as possible with him but my nerves are now wearing thin and I have hardly done any revision towards my forthcoming exams. Funny thing is that he is not as bad in afternoon, it seems mornings are the worst.

Anyway I have made a final decision due to this whole experience and that is Reuben will be castrated towards the end of his implant expiry date. We do not show him, will never breed him ( due to a unresolved cough as a puppy) and I think he will only go through this torment again. And in honesty, I don't want to go through this again.

Just thought I would update you all as the whole castration subject of our dogs is always very interesting and sometimes people's experiences can help others too.

So Reuben - I am sorry but the furry plums are coming off!!!

Best wishes Reuban and your family. Hopefully life will be more relaxed for all.

 

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