Why is my dog aggressive after being spayed? (Or Neutered) (2023)

So, your puppy is a few weeks old, and you’re starting to ponder the question of spaying or neutering. You don’t know much about the particulars of this procedure, like why people are so adamant about getting it doneand what the side effects may be for your dog. You’ve always heard that it’s a good idea for all dogs unless you intend to breed them, but is it?

You know one very basic thingabout why people spay or neuter their pets. The main reason people do it is to prevent unwanted puppies from being born when there are too many pets being euthanized already.

However, you have started hearing some pushback from some on social media saying negative things about spaying and neutering. What side effects can your dog have after being spayed or neutered? Let’s see.

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(Video) Why is my dog more aggressive after being neutered?

Why is my dog aggressive after being spayed or neutered?

For years now, almost every veterinarian in the country has wholeheartedly recommended that everyone spay or neuter their dogs. They go on about the medical, psychological, and behavioral benefits, which includedcancer and disease prevention, as well as reduced risk of infection, and earlier studies showed these important things to be true.

As a matter of fact, most dog lovers get their dogs spayed or neutered at the age of 6 to 9 months. A puppy can actually even be spayed or neutered as early as 8 weeks old. Eight weeks is often the age recommended by a professional for neutering a male dog.

However, more recent studies have shown physical and behavioral things happening in dogs that go against this way of thinking. Here are what some of these newerstudies found.

Study #1

One study showed that despite conventional wisdom, spaying can be associated with worsened and not improved behavior. In this study, spayed females were found to be more aggressive toward people and more sensitive and fearful of being touched or handled.

Spayed females were found to steal and beg for food more often and be less energetic.They also showed more aggression toward other dogs, barked excessively, and ate and rolled in their own feces.


Study #2

The common factor between most of the dogs in the secondstudy was thatthe younger the dog was at the time of his (her) neutering (spaying), the worse the effect it had on his (her) behavior. In the study, it was found that spayed females were less responsive to cues and more anxious, fearful, aggressive, and difficult to train.

Study #3

Yet another studyshowedthat the cognitive skills of a female dog were affected when her ovaries were removed. The speed of accuracy and learning was highest in females who were intact, and the success rate in memory and learning tasks was highest in females who were intact.

Is it common for a dog’s behavior to change after spaying or neutering?

A dog’s behavior can change after being spayed or neutered. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 to 12 months.Here are some changes you can look for in your female or male respectively.

Female Changes After Being Spayed

At the age of maturity, female dogs get a surge of estrogen just like humans do when they reach puberty. Their reproduction cycle begins, and thus comes the estrus cycle or “heat”. During heat, she is receptive to males and may breed with them. Dogs “go into” heat twice yearly.

She may stop trying to roam.

Female dogs who are in heat often go out in search of male dogs, so to keep them safe, female dogs who are not spayed should be confined to the inside of your home. If she is in your yard, you should see that she cannot get out, as she could get pregnant, or worse, lost, stolen,or hit by a car. After being spayed, she may stop trying to roam.

Her frequent urination and bloody discharge will end.

A female who is in heat will urinate frequently. This is because during heat her urine draws male dogs to her. She will urinate all over, even on your furniture and carpet. She may also have a bloody discharge during heat. You can eliminate your dog’s frequent urination and bloody discharge by spaying her.

(Video) Do female dogs change after being spayed?

There is much debate regarding whether spaying will help with or worsen her aggression.

Female dogs are sometimes just aggressive, and there are several types of aggression in females. Two major types are possessive or resource guarding and dominance guarding, which you can easily search on Google for more information for clarification on what they are. For years, we have been taught that spaying will help to lessen this aggression in our female dogs, but newer studies are showing us that this may not be the case.

More than one recent study, linked above, has shown that female dogs become more aggressive after being spayed – These dogs can be aggressive toward both people and other dogs. As a whole, these studies showthat spaying causes femaledogs to become anxious, fearful, less energetic, and difficult to train.

After spaying, they don’t want to be touched or handled, and their cognitive skills are affected. Dogs who were spayed and neutered at a younger age were more adversely affected by the procedure.

Male Changes After Being Spayed

Male dogs undergo changes, too, after neutering. Temporarily, the dog may become anxious,needy, or depressed.

He may become more, and then, less, aggressive over time.

You may also see your male dog become more aggressive immediately after neutering. Thistendsto subside after about three days, however.After that, some male dogs, over time, start to become less aggressive than they were, to begin with.

This depends on which breed a dog is oftentimes, though, because some dog breeds simply have a propensity toward aggression.Rottweilers are guard dogs, and sadly, American pit bull terriers have been bred to fight. These breeds and others can lean toward aggression naturally.

(Video) Intact dogs are no more aggressive than others, but other factors need to be taken into account

He may stop marking his territory around your home.

After neutering, your male dog’s habit of sporadically urinating around your home should slow down or come to an end.

He should stop wandering off.

Often, when male dogs wander off, it is because they are being drawn by a female dog in heat. Soon after a male dog is neutered, this should end.

He should stop trying to hump other dogs.

Once a male dog is neutered, he should lose his desireto hump other dogs because his sex drive should taper off.

How long after spaying does a dog behave differently?

After being spayed, dogs usually recover within around 3 days, but both females and males will retain some sexual hormones for as long as 3 weeks, so you will need to keep your dog confined for this period to keep them safe and prevent unwanted pregnancy.

If your female dogis in her estrus cycle when she is spayed, she may still lure male dogs for this period. For male dogs, they are capable of making a female dog pregnant for up to 6 weeks after neutering. Again, keep your pet confined for these 3 weeks.

How to get my dog to be less aggressive after spaying?

Many, well, most, dogs become aggressive after being spayed or neutered. While many male dogs end up becoming more docile over time, many female dogs remain aggressive. This leaves owners baffled as to what to do to lessen their dog’s aggression. Here is some advice on curbing your dog’s aggression.

(Video) Will Neutering, Spaying or Getting My Dog Fixed, Stop Bad Behavior & Calm My Dog Down?

Spay your dog early.

Spayingdogs before they reach sexual maturity is one way to prevent aggression. This keeps dogs from experiencing the spikes in hormones at the levels they do when they are left intact. It is much easier to prevent aggressive behaviors than it is to curb them later on.

In older dogs, spaying them may not end aggressive behaviors altogether, but may lessen the number of episodes and possibly the severity.

Seek professional help.

If aggressive behavior persists after spaying, see a veterinary behaviorist or other pet behavioral professional for advice. It could be a matter of lack of training, or it could even be a medical issue.


Why is my dog aggressive after being spayed? (Or Neutered)? ›

Our study of the stress-response system in spayed/neutered dogs leads us to believe spay/neuter adversely affects the dog's behavior and personality. In fact, the documented changes in the stress-response system would predict an increased level of fear and anxiety, which in some dogs can result in aggression.

Why did my dog become more aggressive after being spayed? ›

Potential Side Effects of Spaying Your Dog

A small number of studies report that unspayed female dogs who are aggressive to family members may become more aggressive after they're spayed. This could be caused by a decrease in estrogen and oxytocin, both of which may have calming, anti-anxiety effects.

Is it normal for my dog to be more aggressive after being neutered? ›

In fact, many people believe that neutering has a positive impact on aggressiveness. The truth is, neutering does decrease certain aggressive behaviors, but on the other hand, it tends to increase the intensity of others.

How long does aggression last after neutering? ›

You might notice your neutered dog is more anxious, clingy to its humans, or even angrier than usual. You'll be happy to know that behavioral changes in your male dog should disappear after a couple of days, but this recovery could take up to a week if your dog is older.

Does a dogs temperament change after spaying? ›

While a dog's fundamental personality will not change after a spay or neuter surgery, there are some changes you might observe, including: Behavioral changes are more pronounced among neutered males. They're less likely to hump people, other dogs, and inanimate objects (though many persist).

What behavior is abnormal after spay? ›

DOES SPAY/NEUTER CAUSE NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR CHANGES IN DOGS? Many guardians of spayed dogs report significant behavior changes (skittish, aggressive, anxious) after their dog fully recovers from the spay surgery.

How do you fix aggression in dogs? ›

The safest and most effective way to treat an aggression problem is to implement behavior modification under the guidance of a qualified professional. Modifying a dog's behavior involves rewarding her for good behavior—so you'll likely be more successful if your dog enjoys praise, treats and toys.

How long does it take for hormones to balance after neutering a dog? ›

Neutering does not instantly eliminate hormonal behavioral patterns in dogs. In these situations, patience is required. It usually takes around six weeks for a male dog's hormones to leave his system. He may still try to breed with female dogs during that time, and he might even be able to do so.

How long does it take for hormones to balance after spaying? ›

How Long Does It Take for a Dog's Hormones to Balance After Being Spayed? Your dog's hormones will begin to balance within a few days of surgery and should be completely balanced within two weeks. In some cases, it may take up to three weeks for the hormones to fully balance.

What is dog calming code? ›

Instead The Dog Calming Code communicates to dogs in a way that they will immediately understand and love that they should be listening to you. You won't have to explain why to them or train them to understand it because it's all what they know instinctively.

Why is my dog acting weird after being spayed? ›

It's normal for your dog to feel a bit tired or queasy immediately after being spayed or neutered because of the anesthesia. Your pooch will also be provided with pain medications to help alleviate any pain. They will also have a reduced appetite for the first 24 hours after the procedure.

Are police dogs neutered? ›

Are police dogs neutered or spayed? The majority of police dogs are not neutered, although some females are spayed because of their heat cycles.

Why is my dog so aggressive? ›

Aggression in dogs can be due to guarding territory, resources, or a family member; fear; frustration; prey drive; or pain. In all of these situations, a dog may be pushed too far and can transition quickly from reactive, fearful, or guarding behaviors to being aggressive.

What are the behaviors of a dog after neutering? ›

According to several studies, the main behaviors that are affected consistently in male dogs following neutering (I guess I am being politically correct now) include: decreased sexual behavior (primarily, mounting behavior), urine marking (depositing urine on objects), and roaming.

What's the best age to neuter a dog? ›

The traditional age for neutering is six to nine months. However, puppies as young as eight weeks can be neutered as long as there aren't other health problems. An adult dog can be neutered at any time but there is a larger risk of complications.

What is the best age to spay a dog? ›

When should I spay my female dog? We recommend waiting until your dog is at least over 6 months and likely even older for larger dogs. The benefits are much more pronounced in larger dogs, but there is not a lot of difference for lap dogs.

Does dog aggression go away? ›

So How Do We Fix Dog Aggression? Aggression is an incredibly complex topic, and every single case is different. Some aggression cases are entirely fixable, while others will always require a level of management.

What are the symptoms of rage syndrome in dogs? ›

The behavior associated with Rage Syndrome includes outbursts of aggression that are intense and at times unpredictable. These episodes also tend to be large dramatic responses relative to a seemingly benign situation. Affected dogs often freeze, stare, and may rapidly escalate to biting.

Can dogs have hormone problems after being spayed? ›

Ovarian remnant syndrome is a condition that occurs when ovarian tissue remains inside the body after a female dog is spayed. This tissue can produce estrogen, triggering signs of heat in the dog. In an intact female dog, the ovaries produce hormones, including estrogen.

How much does a dog behavior change after neutering? ›

Behavioural problems in most cases are reduced or have even disappeared after neutering (male dogs 74%, female dogs 59%). At best, hypersexuality and connected problems are changed as expected. 49 of 80 aggressive male dogs and 25 of 47 female dogs are more gentle after neutering.

What are the most crucial days after spay? ›

Regardless of the procedure performed, help your dog heal by restricting her activity for at least 10 to 14 days post-surgery. Your veterinarian may give specific instructions for a longer period of rest, depending on your dog's particular situation. Leash walks with a gradual return to regular exercise are important.

How long is a dog uncomfortable after being spayed? ›

The pain associated with spay or neuter surgeries is typically more of a discomfort and may last for just a few days and should be completely gone after about a week. If your pet is experiencing pain or discomfort for more than a couple of days it's a good idea to contact your vet for further advice.

How do I stop my dog from jumping after being spayed? ›

To keep your dog from playing, jumping, and running around after surgery they're going to need confinement or supervision. When you're not home you can use their crate, exercise pen, baby gates, or confine them to one room.

What are 3 calming signals for dogs? ›

Calming signals that are most commonly displayed by dogs overall are freezing, licking of the nose, and turning of the body away from the source of the escalation (i.e. a dog baring its teeth or growling).

What are 5 calming signals in dogs? ›

Aside from yawning, other calming signals include turning the head or entire body aside, pawing, approaching in an arc, squinting, flicking the tongue or licking the nose or muzzle, sniffing the ground for no apparent reason, freezing in place, or crouching down with the front of the body.

Is there a calming scent for dogs? ›

Lavender and Chamomile:

Dogs who are exposed to these scents spend less time moving around and tend to behave in a relaxed manner. This results in lower levels of barking and is most beneficial when used in your home. It has also been shown to reduce stress levels.

How long do dogs act weird after surgery? ›

An animal may exhibit behavioral changes for a few days and act as if it does not recognize familiar surroundings, people, or other animals. Behavioral changes after general anesthesia are extremely common and usually resolve within a few days.

Why are police dogs kept intact? ›

Also, intact male dogs are more useful for performing task as compared to neutered male dogs. This might be due to the castration that has negative influence on the behavior of dogs.

Are more police dogs male or female? ›

The trend isn't surprising. In Canada and the United States, the majority of dogs working for police are male. It's not something the average person would notice, but the reasoning behind it tells us a lot about how female and male dogs are different.

Are military dogs spayed or neutered? ›

They range in age from one-year-old to 13 years old and include both males and females. They are spayed or neutered before being adopted into the military working dog program.

When should you put down an aggressive dog? ›

What is Behavioral Euthanasia?
  1. Be suffering mentally and have a low quality of life due to the management requirements for their behavior.
  2. Present a high bite risk towards humans or other pets in the home.
  3. Present a high bite risk towards humans or other animals outside of the home.
Dec 2, 2022

When should I worry about dog aggression? ›

Do not wait for someone to be bitten. If your dog does any of the following, it's time to look for expert help in person: Growls, barks, snarls, snaps or lunges at people on walks. Shows aggression toward visitors to your home.

How long after neutering dog is testosterone gone? ›

The amount of time it takes for a dog's testosterone levels to decrease after neutering can vary depending on the dog's age, breed, and overall health. In general, it can take several weeks to several months for a dog's testosterone levels to decrease to the point where behavioral changes are noticeable.

Will my dog be less dominant after neutering? ›

In general, however, neutering will have no effect on your dog's personality, but it may influence his mood and make some behaviours more or less likely.

Why won't my dog lay down after being neutered? ›

My pet won't lay down or rest. Does this happen often? Your pet may be somewhat groggy, confused, uncomfortable, or not used to the e-collar, so being anxious is not uncommon. Provide your pet a comfortable place to lay down and try your best to not hover or push them into laying down.

Is 1 year too old to neuter a dog? ›

The recommended time to spay or neuter a dog is six to nine months. But if your dog is healthy, there is no specific age limit to having the procedure done.

Does neutering calm dogs down? ›

While castration does not calm dogs down, it can reduce testosterone-driven actions such as mounting behaviour. It may increase a dog's focus or concentration.

What are the pros and cons of neutering a dog? ›

Why Should Pets Get Fixed: The Pros and Cons of Spay/Neuter
  • Pro #1: No unwanted pregnancy. ...
  • Pro #2: Help decrease pet overpopulation. ...
  • Pro #3: There are health benefits with being fixed. ...
  • Pro #4: There are behavioral benefits. ...
  • Con #1: The risks. ...
  • Con #2: Hormone imbalances can happen.
Feb 9, 2023

How much does spaying cost? ›

While there are a lot of variables, spaying will typically run $50–$500. Costs at the low end of that spectrum are typically subsidized through a public agency. "There are many low-cost spay and neuter clinics around the country to help make the process more accessible to all pet owners," Moore says.

Does spaying affect behavior? ›

Spaying your dog reduces any aggressive behavior patterns so your dog will likely be less aggressive toward people and other dogs after spay surgery.

How much does it cost to get a dog neutered? ›

Cost of Neutering depends on species, male or female and pet's weight. Cost varies very little between Clinics (only €5-€10 in most cases) so it's probably best to decide based on how surgery will be carried out plus what options are offered to ensure best of care and recovery for your pet.

How long does it take for hormones to balance after spaying a dog? ›

How Long Does It Take for a Dog's Hormones to Balance After Being Spayed? Your dog's hormones will begin to balance within a few days of surgery and should be completely balanced within two weeks. In some cases, it may take up to three weeks for the hormones to fully balance.

What hormone imbalance does a female dog have after being spayed? ›

Ovarian remnant syndrome is a condition that occurs when ovarian tissue remains inside the body after a female dog is spayed. This tissue can produce estrogen, triggering signs of heat in the dog. In an intact female dog, the ovaries produce hormones, including estrogen.

Why do female dogs become aggressive? ›

If the dogs are intact, aggression may be hormone driven. This type of aggression is suspected if intact males are aggressive to other males, if females are aggressive during their heat cycles, or if a mother is protecting her pups. In these cases, spaying and neutering the dogs may help.

Why do spayed female dogs fight? ›

Most Common Causes of Fights

Access to a male or breeding rights. Access to the owner and fighting over who gets to greet the owner first. Access to resources, i.e., food, toys, and the owner's attention.

Can dogs have hormone problems after being neutered? ›

After being spayed or neutered, dogs lack sex-related hormones (like testosterone and estrogen) that are normally produced by the testicles and ovaries. That's a concern, since hormones are important for growth and development.

How long after neutering a dog is testosterone gone? ›

The amount of time it takes for a dog's testosterone levels to decrease after neutering can vary depending on the dog's age, breed, and overall health. In general, it can take several weeks to several months for a dog's testosterone levels to decrease to the point where behavioral changes are noticeable.

What foods are high in estrogen for dogs? ›

Phytoestrogens are a type of flavonoid, a specific non-steroidal plant compound, that have estrogenic effects. The major plant containing these compounds found in the human and canine diet is soy bean, with free-daidzein, genistein and glycitein being the components of the plant with the highest estrogenic effects.

How can I tell if my dog has a hormonal imbalance? ›

Some of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance are:
  • Skin problems, such as hair loss or recurrent infections.
  • Increased drinking and urinating.
  • Weight loss or weight gain.
  • Weakness and lethargy.
  • Excessive panting.

What breeds of dogs have rage syndrome? ›

Certain breeds seem more prone to suffer from rage syndrome, including Cocker and Springer Spaniels (hence the once-common terms – Spaniel rage, Cocker rage, and Springer rage), Bernese Mountain Dogs, St. Bernards, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, and Lhasa Apsos.

How do you stop a dominance aggressive female dog? ›

Increased exercise and regular obedience training may also be effective in reducing aggressively dominant dogs, and some forms of training may be used as distractions, focusing the dog's attention off of negative stimuli in a training technique known as a counter-conditioning treatment.

What should you not do after a dog fight? ›

How To Break Up a Dog Fight and What To Do After
  • There are generally 2 types of fights. ...
  • Don't: Wait until a fight to think about how to break it up. ...
  • Don't: Panic or yell. ...
  • Don't: I don't suggest grabbing the back of the collar or reaching in with your hands but I have done it. ...
  • Don't: Don't hit, punch, or yell.

What are female dogs like after being spayed? ›

She may cry or moan a little, and might just feel like sleeping. It's important to let her rest, keeping her still will be essential for an uneventful recovery. It often takes a day or two for pets to feel like themselves again. It can also take a couple of days for them to pass faeces.

Does fixing a female dog calm them down? ›

The short answer is that no, your dog isn't likely to be less hyperactive after getting spayed or neutered. It won't change their personality much, if at all. Each dog has its own positive and negative social habits.


1. 5 Possible Complications After Spaying Your Dog
(Top Dog Tips)
2. Stop Spaying or Neutering your Dog!!
(Mike Ritland)
3. What causes dog aggression after neutering?
4. Do I REGRET Neutering My Dog? (How My Dog Changed From Neuter Surgery)
(The Good Floof Dog Training)
5. Will neutering a dog stop aggression?
(Ask About APPS)
6. Scientists uncovered the effect of neutering on a dog’s behaviour.
(Buffy's Pack)


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