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Will Neutering Help With Otto's Alpha Role?

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Lately otto has shown a lot of aggression stemming from his role as the alpha dog. It started when my girlfriends foster dog, who is also very dominant, attacked him. Since then he has been in the alpha role and been very protective and aggressive towards other dogs. He is scheduled to be fixed on February 3. I know I am mainly responsible for it as I've waited until he was over a year to have this done, but I wanted some insight as to if it will help him with this.

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Best thing you could ever do for your dog is throw the "alpha" theory right out the window.

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Instead of looking at it as "She is alpha, she attacked  him", consider other reasons for the confrontation. Was he being rude, and ignoring calming signals? Did the female react inappropriately? Sibes have a natural tendency to expect very good behavior from other dogs, but to be able to get away with murder themselves. Very double standard, and something to think about when you own this breed.

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First off don't feel guilty for waiting. Too many people believe too many different things about neutering you really can barely believe anything else beside "it guarantees no puppies". Second off, I'm afraid I don't follow. I must admit I'm not a strong supporter for the alpha theory myself, but I know how it works... and I genuinely don't see how the attack can be connected with alpha role. I think Otto is overreacting because the attack traumatized him. Does he live under the same roof with the foster? If yes, I do think it may be best to separate the two for a moment. But since I take it that Otto didn't became aggressive to ALL other dogs, I'd say walk them side by side still so they can start anew. Dominance has no say here. Sorry.

Edited by mydiamond
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Instead of looking at it as "She is alpha, she attacked him", consider other reasons for the confrontation. Was he being rude, and ignoring calming signals? Did the female react inappropriately? Sibes have a natural tendency to expect very good behavior from other dogs, but to be able to get away with murder themselves. Very double standard, and something to think about when you own this breed.

her foster dog jake attacked him after I was getting on to him and yelling because he attempted to pee on the Christmas tree. He ran through us to attack otto. Until then they were 100% fine around each other and otto wasn't bad towards other dogs nearly as much

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Found this video and REALLY like how it shows just how subtle canine body language can be.

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I'm not following the "alpha theory" too well. It looks like I've inadvertently been caught with my foot in my mouth. But Otto doesn't live with the foster, and I could see how the attack has somewhat traumatized him. He's always been what I will call "aggressively playful" because of how him and my old neighbors dog played. They were raised basically together as puppies seeing each other every day and wrestled when they played. That's how Otto has always wanted to play with other dogs, but had never been outright aggressive until he was attacked. Since the initial attacked he has been attacked 2 more times; once while drinking water and Jake the foster walked out of Ashley's bedroom, and once when I walked into her house and Jake greeted us at the door with a fight. Both instances were mishaps as we keep then completely separate as much as possible and each case was just misunderstanding of if jake was in her bedroom or not.

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If there is a problem, this simple man’s answer, is a 'no'.

 

Lots of walks together and teach them to interact nicely- that's what I would do.

 

That means you'd have hover over them like (insert inappropriate joke here), and prevent incidents when possible, stop if necessary, and disciple them both equally when forced. And by discipline I don't mean anything physical beyond restraining them. Make them cool off in each other’s proximity and have them stay there until calm and ignoring each other. Think of it like having an ol’ fashion Mexican standoff with empty holsters- they'll stand in the sun for awhile but they'll give in.

 

Then walk them together again- bonding time.

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Personally I think it's better to wait to neuter them and now seems about the right time.  There is no guarantee the op will make any difference to a dogs behaviour, long term I mean. Snow was 13 or 14 months when he was done, it hasn't made any difference to him, he's still as crazy as ever.

 

Harry got attacked about 10 months ago by a pit type dog, it has really affected him, particularly with accepting our latest rescue.  She is a mal, so bigger and stronger than him, when ever she instigates play Harry will coming running and hide behind me.  You can see he wants to play but is just super wary.

 

I think that what ever happens to them can have a lasting affect, they are an intellligent breed after all.  I think desensitising would be the best way forward, little and often bring him in close proximity to the other dog and reward him for good behaviour and tell him firmly when he shows signs of bad behaviour.

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Other people have provided very good advice. :)

The 'Alpha theory' annoys me; not everything is about dominance. 

Edited by SolitaryHowl
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The 'Alpha theory' annoys me; not everything is about dominance. 

 

To be fair, in the past little research was done so it was a case of "Look, this is how Wolves behave in their hierarchy so let's apply it to dogs". Modern research/thinking is much more that 2,000 years of domestication and a dog's intelligence to recognise that humans are human and not dogs, debunks the whole Alpha/pack leader argument. The old ways were carrot and stick but it's been shown that you can get better results with just the carrot - even if Mr Millan does not recognise this (and, let's face it, he's done well over the years with his techniques - just that new arguments prevail and he has competition who do it better with less force!)

I'd argue for bringing the dogs together as much as possible and they'll sort themselves. Just takes a bit of time and a watchful eye - minor scuffles are to be expected and OK but obviously not full on aggression. But try not to take sides - one of ours (the youngest who knows she's cute) takes great delight in winding up the German who ignores until she can't take any more and takes a snap (no physical contact). Both know not to escalate (and never have) but both get told off - both are at fault but any favouritism would soon be spotted and advantage taken ;)

 

Edit: Oh, and yes, neutering may help. I promote it anyway (being rescue involved does that!) and it often does calm a dog - though not always

Edited by Markulous
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To be fair, in the past little research was done so it was a case of "Look, this is how Wolves behave in their hierarchy so let's apply it to dogs". Modern research/thinking is much more that 2,000 years of domestication and a dog's intelligence to recognise that humans are human and not dogs, debunks the whole Alpha/pack leader argument. The old ways were carrot and stick but it's been shown that you can get better results with just the carrot - even if Mr Millan does not recognise this (and, let's face it, he's done well over the years with his techniques - just that new arguments prevail and he has competition who do it better with less force!)

I'd argue for bringing the dogs together as much as possible and they'll sort themselves. Just takes a bit of time and a watchful eye - minor scuffles are to be expected and OK but obviously not full on aggression. But try not to take sides - one of ours (the youngest who knows she's cute) takes great delight in winding up the German who ignores until she can't take any more and takes a snap (no physical contact). Both know not to escalate (and never have) but both get told off - both are at fault but any favouritism would soon be spotted and advantage taken ;)

 

Edit: Oh, and yes, neutering may help. I promote it anyway (being rescue involved does that!) and it often does calm a dog - though not always

That is true. When I first got Suka (he was my first dog), I did all the 'Alpha tactics' and was really strict about it (going through the door before he does, trying to walk ahead of him, etc). It was stressful on me because I'm not naturally an assertive person, and I couldn't really enjoy being around him because I was so concerned about being the 'Alpha'.

Instead of constantly 'fighting' with him on this (he's naturally dominant), I find that making compromises works better. Example: "If you behave on the walk, I'll let you have the full length of the leash for a few minutes." Or: "If you wait for 5 minutes (I have a command '5 minutes'), I'll give you what you want." I find that if I don't uphold my end of the 'agreement', he protests and acts up. We have an understanding. 

I still use NILF (Nothing in Life is Free), though. It keeps him in line.

Edited by SolitaryHowl
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Lately otto has shown a lot of aggression stemming from his role as the alpha dog. It started when my girlfriends foster dog, who is also very dominant, attacked him. Since then he has been in the alpha role and been very protective and aggressive towards other dogs. He is scheduled to be fixed on February 3. I know I am mainly responsible for it as I've waited until he was over a year to have this done, but I wanted some insight as to if it will help him with this.

I appreciate the 'fix' is probably necessary but...IF you can wait till full growth by age two or at least 18 mths?

My vet told me big dogs take longer for full growth in bone ends to reach around age two.

Too early castration can result in later years with weakened bones or even deformity as the bone growth hormones is halted and uncompleted.

This occurs in long bones and especially hip & shoulder joints in the epiphasis/?epiphyses.. Can't recall spelling! do research.

Just saying...I've seen results in older big dogs done at a year or even younger.... they were 'spindly' and out of proportion and not very strong.

Lately otto has shown a lot of aggression stemming from his role as the alpha dog. It started when my girlfriends foster dog, who is also very dominant, attacked him. Since then he has been in the alpha role and been very protective and aggressive towards other dogs. He is scheduled to be fixed on February 3. I know I am mainly responsible for it as I've waited until he was over a year to have this done, but I wanted some insight as to if it will help him with this.

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The neutering may help with the situation, but I would not feel bad for waiting this long to do it.  I had both Nikko and Yukon neutered early at 4 months, but I know some prefer to wait until at least 1 year old.  There is ALOT of differing opinions when it comes to the age to neuter, so you will get a different answer depending on who you ask.  I consulted my vet, and she did not have any growth concerns, and Nikko is perfectly healthy and grew just fine.  

 

I can tell you that when I brought Kodiak in, I had several fights, and I think that both Nikko and Yukon changed afterwards, as Yukon is not very patient with Kodiak, and Nikko will back off quickly sometimes.  After the fight, Otto might see all dogs as a threat and potential fight?  Although I do not completely buy into the alpha roles, I do think there is some truth to dog hierarchy.  I know that Kodiak is the dominate dog in my household, then Nikko, then Yukon, although Yukon can sometimes be the aggressor, but I blame that on the meds he has to take.  

 

I think that starting from the beginning with socialization with Otto, and making sure he does what YOU want him to do.  If he acts inappropriately towards other dogs, correct him.  

 

Hopefully the neutering will help and it will get better! 

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Ok. It's your call however...

in India where castration of young males was (?is) prevalent in certain class/regions, they ALL developed into very long willowy effeminate young men; the sexual orientation definitely changed...they become very good friends for young well to do women & obviously no threat to the husbands who prefer these around.

But, they also had some quite serious health and physical issues in their thirties or earlier.

If the growing epiphyses of bone ends cannot develop due to NONEXISTENT growth hormone which IS connected to testosterone not being there then you will have issues.

Not now.

But later in older years. PLEASE get several opinions. I researched in UK and elsewhere. My vet said he would point blank refuse to do a large dog breed under the age of two.

Smaller dogs - ok at a year.

Ask the British Kennel Club and your equivalent canine club where you are. Call up random vets - good ones.

I'm personally horrified castration was even carried out by a vet on a four month old 'large breed' dog (unless they are Small breed then I apologise abdolutely) but still...never on a four month old!

One canine year = seven of ours.

Do the maths.

A young human male near adult will usually have his voice break around 14...hormones kicking in and his whole physique will start changing - muscularly, pubes, beard starting albeit straggly or heavy... etc..

A four month old puppy is barely even two years in human terms...

End...

I'm out. (Retired nurse).

(Neutering too early can leave you with a dog that is more feminine - ie squats to pee and a very 'bitchy' behaving (& quite possibly confused) 'dog' that doesn't know WHERE it fits in sexually so gets confused/defensive/aggressive and just plain out of sorts.

We had a few rescued strays (of over two hundred or so over 8 years) like this that had been butchered /castrated home DIY - that needed meds for infection - they settled (sort of) with our pack of 14 and continuous incoming (& re homing after time) strays, but were always at the bottom. This was in Borneo.

If serious medical issues are the call for neutering then that's a different consideration for life or death).

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Ok. It's your call however...

in India where castration of young males was (?is) prevalent in certain class/regions, they ALL developed into very long willowy effeminate young men; the sexual orientation definitely changed...they become very good friends for young well to do women & obviously no threat to the husbands who prefer these around.

But, they also had some quite serious health and physical issues in their thirties or earlier.

If the growing epiphyses of bone ends cannot develop due to NONEXISTENT growth hormone which IS connected to testosterone not being there then you will have issues.

Not now.

But later in older years. PLEASE get several opinions. I researched in UK and elsewhere. My vet said he would point blank refuse to do a large dog breed under the age of two.

Smaller dogs - ok at a year.

Ask the British Kennel Club and your equivalent canine club where you are. Call up random vets - good ones.

I'm personally horrified castration was even carried out by a vet on a four month old 'large breed' dog (unless they are Small breed then I apologise abdolutely) but still...never on a four month old!

One canine year = seven of ours.

Do the maths.

A young human male near adult will usually have his voice break around 14...hormones kicking in and his whole physique will start changing - muscularly, pubes, beard starting albeit straggly or heavy... etc..

A four month old puppy is barely even two years in human terms...

End...

I'm out. (Retired nurse).

(Neutering too early can leave you with a dog that is more feminine - ie squats to pee and a very 'bitchy' behaving (& quite possibly confused) 'dog' that doesn't know WHERE it fits in sexually so gets confused/defensive/aggressive and just plain out of sorts.

We had a few rescued strays (of over two hundred or so over 8 years) like this that had been butchered /castrated home DIY - that needed meds for infection - they settled (sort of) with our pack of 14 and continuous incoming (& re homing after time) strays, but were always at the bottom. This was in Borneo.

If serious medical issues are the call for neutering then that's a different consideration for life or death).

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It may be different in the US but vets here will neuter at young ages and I'm sorry but comparing human castration to neutering dogs is apples and oranges.

Some vets will even neuter at 2 months of age. And every bet I talked to, the oldest they would say is 1 year.

Nikko was neutered at 4 months like I said and he had no growth problems. He isnt small for his breed, he's not confused or "bitchy". And certainly does not have any sexual issues because neutering removed any urge to mate. And he is by far not aggressive. Sure, he doesn't lift his leg to pee, but I consider that a positive

Like I say, everyone has an opinion and I found it difficult to find a consensus on the proper age. Also the canine years equaling 7 isn't accurate. It's significantly more as the dog is younger, especially with larger breeds. As they get older it slows down. A six month old dog is probably like 6-8 years old, but you can't compare the sexual development of a dog versus human.

Brett, it's between you and your vet and that's all regarding the age to neuter. You can take the suggestions but don't feel guilty for thinking u neutered too late or early.

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FWIW, Testosterone is still produced in neutered dogs, albeit at a far lower level once the testicles are removed.

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FWIW, Testosterone is still produced in neutered dogs, albeit at a far lower level once the testicles are removed.

And that I have to agree with I have a neutered one who still foams at the mouth and goes all humpety when there is a dog on heat...most annoying at times....

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And that I have to agree with I have a neutered one who still foams at the mouth and goes all humpety when there is a dog on heat...most annoying at times....

 

I only recently found out that a neutered male can still tie with a female in heat  :o Obviously they can't get pregnant - so to say it turns them similar to a female doesn't hold water to me  :)

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I only recently found out that a neutered male can still tie with a female in heat  :o Obviously they can't get pregnant - so to say it turns them similar to a female doesn't hold water to me  :)

I agree eventho Bindi has been done now if there is a dog on heat anywhere near us Alpha will try to do his best to have a go with her even if she is not the dog on heat...hopefully that will sort of go away with time....

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I only recently found out that a neutered male can still tie with a female in heat  :o Obviously they can't get pregnant - so to say it turns them similar to a female doesn't hold water to me  :)

 

Indeed. It's probably due to the fact that the urge hasn't gone away, only his ability to produce sperm. He's essentially firing blanks :rofl:

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I rather stirred it up a bit.. ?

Love a good debate - no insults intended to anyone - apologies if I did.

I can only go on years of dogs - several hundred of rescues, rehoming, euthanasia for those beyond help (distemper plaque was really traumatic - we lost 95% of our own and re-homed - vaccine too late too little - and my mother took it very hard turning total agnostic witnessing so much pain and devastating long slow deaths. She was given euthanasia meds to do what the vet couldn't get to or the blowpipe Dayaks who were shooting every affected stray loose in town.

I learnt to grit teeth at 16 and go with my mum get round to every single homed dog of ours. Telephones were rare, cells/ mobiles non-existent.

I LOVE all wild/life and my knowledge with exceptional and rare species goes from the mouse, bats, thru cats, birds, (5,000 chickens), turkeys, pigs, orangutans, otters, anteaters, clouded leopards, macaques, gibbons, lemurs - slow lorris', rare mouse deer, horse/pony - dogs -all kinds.

I grew up with these - mum was a pioneer in a cut off town originally accessible only by plane twice a week - or shipping - Sandakan North Borneo.

We moved out from civilised living in town to be totally self sufficient with no electric or running water until three years later - pressure lamps to a generator, water buckets from well -> running water pipes/taps from 1000 gal tanks (x 3) catching rainwater off three 1500+ chicken open range roofs.

Let's agree to disagree...

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34b7bfe2acb90e72018f0f06a1acba8b.jpg5bb4aefc036d2c90a3b8cc5c4dda9dd1.jpg7f031dec96d607e0ee67664fbcb409cf.jpg

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My mum in her 20's. Can't download the pics I want...will go snap b/w ones for later display.....?

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