Mental Side Effects of Dogs Spayed too Early? and other causes for these behaviors?
When we got our dog Angel she had just turned 9 weeks old and was already spayed. I know they say you can do as young as 8 weeks but I think that's too young. If it were up to me she would not have been spayed that early. One time (I think she was 1 year old) she acted like she was in heat. She has never done that other than that one time. Also she would take stuffed animal puppies and act like they were her real puppies (she brought them to her bed, licked them and 'nursed' them). She only did the pretend puppy thing first 2 years and it wasn't a problem. It was actually pretty cute but just strange since she was already spayed.
She is also very territorial and possessive. She will not let any animals or people she doesn't know well get in her yard. The cable guy came and we told him to knock on the door first so we can bring the dog inside. He went straight into the backyard without knocking. Angel was outside and he didn't get hurt or bit just scared but maybe next time he knock first like we told him to. Behind our backyard fence is a road and she barks at people and dogs on the sidewalk. When she was younger we lived on a quieter street but had the same behavior problems.
She also guards her food from people she doesn't know and sometimes even us. My dad comes in and she considers him the 'alpha dog' so she stops guarding and knows she's in trouble. I do not know why she guards her food because we have never taken it away from her. One time she guarded the Christmas tree from us too. When she guards she gives a warning growl, looks up at you, then starts baring her teeth and making barking noises. She never bites us. She hardly ever guards. Any other time she is really a loving dog that wants to be pet and play.
Angel is extremely aggressive towards other dogs and has been most of her life. We cannot take her near other dogs and she has attacked a dog before(It was on her territory). But she is still aggressive away from her territory; like when we take walks. I don't know why she has this aggression. She has never been attacked by a dog so that isn't why. She was socialized as a puppy.
She also doesn't seem to understand if she is a boy or girl. I was thinking the early spaying might be why she is sexually confused.
1.I never thought about it before but could the aggression towards dogs be because she was spayed so early?
2. If a dog is spayed that early does it confuse them about what gender they are?
3. Why did she act like she was in heat one time after she was spayed?
4.Why did she pretend to nurse puppy stuffed animals?
5. Why does she guard things that have never been taken from her?
I am not blaming all of these things on her early spay there are only a few I think might be related but I am not sure. If you have any explanations for the behaviors or your dog does the same thing please post.
Also, in your opinion is 8 or 9 weeks too early to spay? I think it is.
I was typing fast so sorry if there were typos or something didn't make sense.
I have an 8 year old Aussie named Matilda. I had to have her spayed at around 6 months because she had problems. She's been dog agressive from about a year old and she is very territorial with other animals (horses, cats, other dogs). She's attacked my sister-in-law's dog a few times bringing blood at least once. The dog was in Matilda's "territory." The funny thing is is that I have a 3 year old German Shepherd dog and we "dog sit" my in-law's Airdale, Matilda tolerates them both. She gets a little snappish once in a while but that's about it. Any other dog is fair game to her. I've told the vet's office staff that she is dog agressive but they must not relay the message. One of the staff brought Matilda to the waiting room on a loose leash and Matilda attempted to maim a puppy and an elderly dog before I could get to her. I'm not 100% sure if agressivness is a trait in Aussies but I'm thinking it's not. Could it have been from her being spayed at an early age? I've never really thought about it. Could it be that she's a female? Yes, absolutely. That is why I have female dogs. In Matilda's case, I truly believe she thinks the entire universe is her territory.
Matilda is very much a "mother-er." She "cleans" her toys all the time which she has done from day one. I had a kitten show up in our yard one day. I could hear it meowing so I ran to the door because I was afraid Matilda would kill it, but when I got to them, Matilda was mothering it, licking it all over and kind of whimpering/whining. She then looked at me like "Can we keep it?" I kept the kitten but my dog never touched him again, agressively or motherly.
Your dog acting as if she is in heat could be that she was spayed too late. If her homones had already become active she might have still had them in her system. Other than that, I'm not sure. I am a huge proponent of having your pet spayed or neutered so when I got my first German Sheppard I was under the assumption she had been spayed. She had been with me for awhile when a dog down the street showed interest in her. She acted like she was in heat so I made an appointment w/the vet. She had no visible scar from a previous spaying but when the vet opened her up she had no reproductive organs. She had a small piece of something that might or might not have been uterine tissue. Anyway, they sewed her up, I took her home and she never displayed the behavior again.
I have seen several females act like males. Why they do it? I have no idea. My riding instructor once told me that her Jack Russel female thought that "cats were made for humping." Very strange.
I should have asked this before but what kind of dog is Angel? That could be part of what's behind her agression.
I hope what I have written today has if not helped, then at least let you know that you are definitly not alone when it comes to weird dog behavior. BTW sorry for the novel long answer.
Angel is a Labrador/Border Collie mixed breed. Angel has also attacked a dog in her territory. We were dog-sitting a very large malamute & for the first 2 days everything was fine. This was before we knew how severe Angel's aggression was. Angel attacked the malamute.The other dog didn't fight back much & I don't even want to think of what would of happened if the fight wasn't stopped. The dog had ear and leg injuries but he went to a vet & is OK.I think Angel got a few scratches but definitely nothing serious. From then on we tried to limit her contact with dogs as much as possible. It is very frustrating when we go to the park & someone lets their dog off of the leash. We always leash Angel but the other dogs want to come up & meet her. The last few times we went to the park we had to leave right away because people won't follow leash laws.One time when we were camping these people had their dogs off leash & we kindly let them know they need to leash their dog & keep it away from Angel for their dogs safety. 15 minutes later they walk right into our camp with their dogs off leash. The other dog went over to angel being friendly. The whole time I was trying to pull her away but she is a big dog. It happened so fast that I was unintentionally caught in the middle. Angel ended up biting my thumb when she was trying to bite the other dog. After she realized what she had done she was apologetic looking. I know it wasn't her fault & I would not have been bitten if those people had listened.
Angel also thinks everywhere & everything is hers. She will guard another dog's toys. We went to the dog park for a few hours when there was only one other dog there. I really feel like we made progress. She only snapped once & luckily missed. It was amazing to see her be that close to a dog while being relaxed.When Angel was a little puppy she played with the neighbors dog without any problems.
One time I Angel ran really fast out the door & I checked to see what made her so excited. There were little baby ducks in the backyard .I think there were 5 & the mother was on the other side of the fence freaking out.By the time I got there she had one in her mouth.I was expecting the worst. I easily got it out & it had no bites or marks. The little duck was stunned but after a few minutes he was acting normal. I am not sure why she picked it up in her mouth so gently & gave it up so easily. She just stood there with it in her mouth & didn't even try to hurt it.
When Angel was mothering before I knew because they were puppy stuffed animals. There aren't any stuffed animals she can get to now so I wonder if she's mothering her toys instead. I never made the connection until now but I think she's still doing the mothering but we didn't realize it. She also cleans her toys like puppies.
I know the heat thing wasn't because she was spayed late. She was spayed at 9 weeks & the minimum age for spaying is 8 weeks. I too thought about tissue left behind but since it only happened one time it doesn't seem likely. Maybe she wasn't in heat & I just thought she was.
I don't think dog aggressiveness is a trait of border collies or labs but I really don't know. It is nice to know that I'm not alone . Sorry, this probably seems like it goes on forever. don't worry about yours being long cause I think this one is going to be huge.
I almost forgot to add this. Sometimes dogs show aggression when they know they are sick or weakened. Maybe Angel knew she was sick before we did. Angel has always had a bump on her head. It's just that the bone shows more. A very intelligent vet would have picked up on this & known what it could be an early symptom of. Angel has Masticatory Muscle Myositis. It causes muscle loss in the face so some places look sunken in and others you can see shape of her skull. I think that little bump she's always had may have been a hint of her disease. We discovered that she had this disease right after Christmas. So that was when it progressed enough for us to see that something was wrong but when she was a puppy she could've had it without symptoms showing. If she knew that she was weakened by disease or illness that might cause her to be aggressive towards other dogs. By making herself appear big and tough she could have been trying to hide that she was weaker to protect herself.
Sorry for making it even longer. It's really late & I am really tired so please excuse typos or strange things that don't make sense or are misleading.
OMG I just responded to you and completely lost everything I had typed. Ugh. I guess I'll start over.
I am so sorry to hear about your furbaby's disease and that you were bitten. I've been bitten before and, even though I didn't realize it at the time, it broke my heart. It was my first German Shephard and she was in so much pain she never realized what she had done. The reason it affected me so badly I think is that it was the last experience I had w/her as she died shortly after. I think being bitten in any situation is like a slap in the face by your best friend.
Anyway, I agree w/you that your dog could be aggressive due to her disease. I've been thinking about it and I wonder if it's possible that, not only are other dogs a threat to her, but she my believe they are a threat to you as well. She may have an enoromous protection drive. I don't recall if you said she is aggressive when you're not around. My German follows me EVERYWHERE. If I go to the bathroom and shut the door she waits on the other side of the door until I come out. If I take her for a walk (of leash) she doesn't get more than 5 or 10 feet away and comes running back to check on me. I asked an animal behavioralist about her behavior and she asked "Why did you get your dog?" I told her I had gotten her for protection. She responded "Well, what do you think she's doing then?" Dogs pick up on our emotions very easily. In my case I want to keep people away from me so Bella protects me. Perhaps Angel picks up on the anxiety and body language you show about her aggessivness when another dog approaches but, rather, she misreads the emotion as fear of the strange dog coming near you. Do you get my point here? It's a miscommunication of the signals you send w/out knowing it. It's neither your fault or hers it's just that ya'll have mixed signals. I was at a public outdoor function last year and a woman brought her two beautiful pit bulls. Another man brought his American Bulldogs. If you've ever seen an American Bulldog you know they are very huge, very strong dogs. He couldn't control them and they were pretty much dragging him everywhere. The lady w/the pits had them on a leash w/pinch collars and I could tell that she had worked with them. They were very well behaved. Well, the Am. Bulldog male noticed the pits and drug his owner across the lawn to get to them. I thought for sure there was going to be a big fight but when the woman noticed the other dogs she took a large step away from them and continued minding her own buisiness. Because she was not concerned with the bulldogs her own dogs felt it was no concern of theirs either. She just ignored the threat and her dogs followed suit. The man eventually got control of his dogs and headed my way. In the process one of the dogs knocked over my 7 year old neice. My point here is perhaps if you control your emotions, and I'm definitly not saying to ignore the situation, but if you are in control perhaps Angel will feel a little less anxious and protective as well. Anyway, these are just experiences that I've had and I hope they help in some way. Best of luck to both you and Angel : ) TTYL
Oh yeah, Matilda was spayed at around 6 weeks not 6 months.
My very first dog would steal my neighbors homing pigeons and bury them alive. We'd have to rescue them and each bird we found would be in perfect condition just a little dirty. It's weird. I caught Matilda running across the yard dragging one of my cats with its head in her mouth. I dropped what I was doing and ran outside to rescue my cat. By the time I got to her she had put him down and was licking him all over. He was perfectly fine. I guess he was in the wrong place and she picked him up and took him to where she thought he ought to be. I have no idea why they do what they do but at times it can be comically sweet.
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