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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.


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


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Thank you Rhonda.
Yes Sue, I am sure neighbours not impressed with the tuneful howling too. And to make matters worse , we have finally found a rented property that will accept dogs ( landlord selling our current house) but it is also right next door to him. And of course I assured them that Reuben was no problem, well trained etc, etc. Could you imagine it if he was howling, escaping and trying to mate with their Lab, haha

Interesting that not many IS hyper sexual in comparison to Labs, I never knew that. Well I will hopefully have a non hyper sexual one when I get my second setter - one day hopefully... Bless Jethro and his naughty hormones, lol.

I have found this topic interesting as before Molly we always had male IS and my husband used to think they were sexually dysfunctional as they seemed to show no interest in females in season....even the little hussy who one day came thru my front window screen when she was in season.......neighbors still tease her owner about what an eager little hussy she was!  Poor Shilo just thought she came over to play like she usually did but was rather alarmed at her entry into our living room that day. 

hope things improve. Molly is our 3rd female IS. The previous two had coat problems and also inconience at a very young age. It was through reading that desexing can cause this issues in a female IS that I made the decision not to desex Molly. If she develops medical problems then that is different story. She will be 3 in December this  year and comes into season regularly about every 6 months. As I am at home at the moment I can deal with it and keep her in doors. Good luck with your Reuben he looks georgeous. 

Wow Sherry, that is some story - through the window. I think Reuben would have done the same thing if visa versa. Trust me to get the sexual setter, haha. He is in character really bold and full on, so I suppose I shouldn't expected any different. He probably just keen to make clones of himself as so handsome!

Eunice, yes thank you, I think Reuben is rather special too. And we have had no howling for two days now and he is more relaxed and things going back to normal harmony. I can revise now too and have been practising on Reuben for a practical vet science exam in morning. Poor chap has been clinically assessed and bandaged and didn't complain, what a great patient and hope my specimen of horse, cat, dog or cow is like that in the morning! Haha

good luck with your exam... I am sure Reuben did not mind being the special subject for your exam.

Shrry's story reminded me of our second irish named Casey.  He was intact and at about 16 months we had to get pills to calm him down because our neighbors black Lab was in heat and he was crying and pacing all day and night.  One day that neighbor was walking her dog past our house and Casey jumped out the first story living room window.  It was open with a screen on it.  He cleared some very large bushes and a flower box but startled all of us.  I was outside talking to her.  He jumped on that poor surprised Lab and they were stuck there!  The questions all the little kids had as both our dogs were in a panic and another neighbor ran inside to call her vet to ask what should we do!  The dogs were freaking out trying to get apart and it wasn't happening.  Eventually we just held them steady and talked calmly to them and they finally came apart after what felt like an hour!  That black Lab had 9 puppies.  She was spayed right after it and my dog was also neutered after that.  I just couldn't go through it again.  He was very randy!  And more so after getting some.  That might have been one of my more embarrassing moments in life. 

Sue that had to be a wonderful education for those children....and like you I would have been embarrassed.  Our boys just loved to play and never seemed to figure out there was anything else to do with a female dog.....even Daisy when she came to visit her favorite playmate when she was in season....her owner was so worried our Shilo might have violated her little princess......but as screen was pushed in from the outside the story was plain to her who was pushing the issue.  Shilo after being startled by her arrival headed for the patio door so they could go play like they usually did....outside while I was shooing her out the front door!  Figured we had enough damage for one day and Schnauser mixed with Irish Setter would have been quite a sight!   Daisy was spayed before her next season as her Mom decided she was going to escape and find a male somewhere who would oblige her wants and might not be so lucky to come visit my clueless Irish the next time.  These Irish never cease to amaze me at how similar they can be while at the same time being so different.

Gosh Sue, your story is amazing and I was laughing at the scenario but must have not been so funny at the time! And yes Sherry these Irish are amazing in the way they can be different. I watch Reuben and his IS friend together and their mannerisms are almost identical but personality slightly different. I mean Reuben has always been the bold one, very mischievous and leads his pal Murphy in to trouble. However Murphys owner is always saying how great Reuben is because of his character and absolute joy for life and he wishes Murphy was more like him. I use to think I wish Reuben was more like Murphy and behaved, haha. But now I see Reuben for who he is and have learned to train him in a way that suits his personality ( if that makes sense). It took me a while but once I clicked and loved Reuben even more so for his cheeky personality, our bond grew stronger and everything started falling into place. Well it did up until the slight recent hormone blip but even a daft Human like myself could see and realise his natural distraction was just too strong. Reuben is my first dog and setter and I researched massively prior to deciding on an IS pup and also due to my interest in Animal Behaviour, I wanted to get it so, so right. Alas trying to be a perfectionist is not always a good thing and Reuben soon saw to that thankfully. Anyway we are on the up again in training, he is slightly less Randy and not having to investigate every single female dog and run off without giving my instructions a second thought haha. So all is looking much less tense again in our household and Reuben is eating properly again and enjoying our walks again.

Oh and thanks Eunice, the exam went surprisingly well I think , must have been due to my good student the night before, haha




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