Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
Hey All :-)
Long time member of Exclusively Setters but I have been more a lurker for the past few years.
I was interested in hearing thoughts and opinions on the subject of neutering my 7 year old Irish. I'd love to add the communities thoughts to my own while I contemplate this.
He's a good boy, well trained and not especially 'doggy'. Our dalliance into showing has been over for a few years now and I have no intentions to breed him. The reasons I am considering the neuter is that regardless of his good behavior, many other dogs do not like him because he is intact. I can't take him to dog parks because other dogs act aggressively toward him and our friend's dogs do not like him. He does not react back in an aggressive way- actually he is extremely forgiving- but this means that I have limited ways to socialize him. When he was a younger lad we lived in a place with a lot of cool dogs and he was able to stay very well socialized. We moved 3 years ago and since then his social skills have declined. He greets a dog with a far more enthusiastic butt sniff than I have ever seen and doesn't let up... he is nose deep in doggy buttholes as long as another dog will tolerate him. Because of the past 3 years of limited ways to socialize him he has become socially retarded: when he meets up with polite dogs he is so overly excited that they aren't being mean to him that he is intrusive into their space and it could take him a full day or two with the other dog before he returns to an acceptable level of friendliness. In that time he has managed to aggravate even the most kind and accepting dog and driven the humans around him insane. In the end, I just feel bad for him.
I feel all of this would be something we could train through with the right set of dogs to socialize with, but that has proved a difficulty for me to find. There are setter people in the area who have great dogs but they just aren't close enough to meet with on a regular enough basis to where it makes a difference.
So the questions I am asking myself:
If he is neutered, will other dogs still treat him as hostilely as they do now? He literally does nothing to do provoke the aggression except to be there. If the neuter curbs their aggression toward him, I will be able to bring him to more socializing activities.
If he is neutered, will his interest in doggy anus return to a more normal level? Is it at least partially driven by hormones?
If he is neutered, just how bad will the coat be? I know this is vain, but he really is such a lovely boy and I'd hate to see that go. I've seen female Irish spayed as adults and the results have not been pretty.
Even if he isn't as pretty, would he be happier?
Should we just get another dog of our own? There is a good possibility we move in the next 6 months to bigger property. A puppy would definitely be something we got at that time.
Are there any risks to neutering a 7 year old dog?
Is there something I am not thinking of?
I'm just tossing all of this around in my head. I would appreciate any insight or new angles your collective wisdom might provide :-)