Why Do So Many Men Say Nuts to Neutering?

My neighbors have three adult dogs: a male mastiff mix, a female cocker spaniel, and a male rottie mix who I wish would leave home and come live with me. I see the footloose trio often during my early morning walks down our dirt road. (Fences? Who needs fences?) I’m not so sure what another person might think if they ran into the three of them, but they’re friendly, and I’m always glad to see my handsome rottie friend.

A few weeks ago I started to see the mastiff mix and the cocker by themselves. After a few days of this, I visited the neighbors to make sure my furry friend was okay. Turns out the cocker had gone into heat, and my boy had been relegated to doggie jail (a pen on the side of the house) until the cocker was safe to be around again. Not one of the three dogs was spayed or neutered. I explained that the mastiff and the little cocker needed to be separated as well. The wife didn’t think it was physically possible they could mate. I begged to differ. She told me animal control had told them to get the dogs fixed. After the poor rottie mix barked and barked alone in that pen for three weeks, he was released to rejoin the others. I ran into him a few days ago down the road. A brief inspection revealed that his family jewels were still in the vault. My guess is that the other dogs hadn’t been altered either.

You should know that my neighbor is a rancher. I’m sure he cares about his dogs, but he doesn’t exactly view them as indoor pets or “fur-children” the way so many of us do. I doubt he would neuter either male if he had a choice, and he’s far from being the only man to have that reaction. Years ago, my husband—a sensitive, intelligent, not-macho kind of guy—had no hesitation when it came to spaying our female German shepherd. But when it was time to neuter Mojo, he balked. He couldn’t understand why Mojo needed to be neutered, since Soko was spayed. I explained about how neutering lowers the chances of testicular cancer, urine marking, and the urge to roam, and how male dog-dog aggression is higher among intact males. Long story short, Mojo got neutered.

I’ve noticed a definite difference in the way men and women view the issue. Of course, there are those of either gender who choose not to neuter dogs for various reasons, but the male of the species wins hands-down in the face-aghast, “No way!” reaction category. I can only think there’s some identification going on.

Of course, for those who just can’t do without that extra visual oomph as the dog swaggers by, there are Neuticles. Yep, these canine cosmetic implants make it look as though a dog is still intact. I’d be curious to know which gender orders more.

Please keep in mind I’m not talking here about professional breeders, or those whose dogs should not, for medical reasons, undergo surgery. And if you live way out in the middle of nowhere and your dog never sees other dogs, or you really are super-careful about management, hey, it’s your choice. It’s the rest of the population—those who live in cities and suburbs where dogs jump fences and roam, where dogs at the park seem to be able to tie faster than you can say “puppies for sale”—who can affect the canine over-population issue by the decisions they make.

I don’t know that the knee-jerk reaction some men have toward neutering is going to change. Fortunately, there are plenty of intelligent, responsible male dog owners who neuter their dogs for all the right reasons. For those who might like more information on the topic to share with others, I’ve included links to three articles that focus specifically on the benefits of neutering male dogs.






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