Neutered or Spay Behavioral Changes
Date: Summer 2012
When a male dog is neutered, does he loose all sexual identification, or do dogs not even have this trait like humans? When they leave their parents do they miss them? Do they understand other dogs barks as a language?
I can't answer all your questions. Those I can answer:
I've bred Jack Russell terriers for over a decade. When puppies develop teeth, their mothers will and should stop feeding them as they can be injured by the puppies' teeth. This usually occurs about 6 weeks of age. Puppies are ready to leave their mothers at age 8 weeks. By then, the pups should have "learned" everything their mother had to teach them, and the pups are then ready to get immunizations. I've seen aggression by mothers on their pups at this time, as if the mother recognizes it is time to be separated. I have kept some pups who interact with their mother and/or grandmother. It should be stated that even though dogs might be related as father and mother to sons and daughters, and dogs can be brothers, sisters and aunts or uncles, there is no guarantee that the dogs will get along. Much of this has to do with the breed of dog, but sex of the dogs, whether they were neutered or spayed, and the relative ages all can influence this. The other issue of territoriality and perceived 'ownership' of items and their "master" can lead to fighting among related or unrelated dogs if they feel their status is being threatened.
There is ongoing research which seeks to identify the whole issue of barking...its meaning, common "language", etc.. Suffice it to say that dogs in particular communicate by several methods....Their primary sense...smell..signals everything from threat and available prey/food to sexual receptiveness. Body language in dogs is an effective form of communication between dogs themselves and with their master. I'd offer that barking is an effective means of communication over longer distances,, but the "language" is probably limited to simple "status updates", for example warning of intruders into their territory, or updates on their health/happiness/well being. Regrettably, some individuals who do not like barking dogs have their pets undergo surgery to make barking impossible. I personally feel this would be equivalent to doing the same to a human, or, in a more amusing vein, taking away their phone or cell phone.
I can't offer any information on the behavior changes in spayed and neutered dogs.
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Update: November 2011