Got two male LGD Pyr dogs that are about 6 months old and I've got them in with 3 sheep around the same age. They're good at guarding, but lately they like to chase after the sheep and try to mate with them.
The ram is a bit of a pushover and has rammed the dogs, but the dogs think he's playing around and just kind of brush it off. I'm thinking it's time to neuter the dogs......
I wouldn't neuter and LGD at 6mo. And, actually, I just wouldn't neuter an LGD at all.
I have spayed the girls, but always feel guilty about it because it messes up their hips if you do it too early.
And neutering won't stop this behavior anyway. It is a dominance issue. You just have to correct them over and over.
This post made me laugh out loud. I was on the way to town one pretty Spring morning and a large white Great Pyranise (sp. sorry) stopped to "water" a sign post then continued across the road, followed by his entire flock of sheep! A friend of mine had a female cowdog in heat not far from where they were crossing the road. I would have loved to see her face when that Romeo and his "crew" showed up. Her female was in a locked and covered kennel, as she didn't want pups at the time. Just wondering, does it change the way the dog guards his flock if he is fixed?
Dogs shouldn't be fixed until they have finished their long bone growth and have gone into their broadening growth. For tiny dogs this may mean nine months of age. For giant dogs this may mean waiting until they are 2 1/2 or 3 years old. If you neuter early their bodies do not kick in the adolescent hormones and instead of filling out, they simply get taller. For a heavy breed with known hip problems, this is not a good idea. Not everyone agrees with this and it is controversial. Some people say that early neutering doesn't allow the dog to mentally mature, which you want with a working dog.
Neutering will help with roaming and looking for romance.
I vote with neutering. Without the hormone issue telling them to mate they will focus better on the job at hand. People that I have talked to with LGDs have always recommended it.
Talk to a vet if you are concerned with an age or growth issue. I think it is better to do it early before too many bad habits are established like roaming. I worked with vets and rescues for years and have never heard of anyone recommending to wait until they are years old. Earlier is usually better. Just MHO.
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I have no experience with neutering of not neutering LGDs, all of ours are left intact. I will say that I will Never neuter a dog befor 12-18mos. I have seen too many long lean bird dogs that never truely develope any mass because their hormones were snuffed out, before they told the body to widen or bulk up.
Same with horses......
Ever seen a gelding you couldnt distinguish from a mare because it was gelded at that 1yr date everyone is so wound up about?
I would wait to neuter and take some time to train.....
On a side note, I am dealing with the same thing (7mo old GP/sarp that is chasing ewes)...... It is amazing how much effect a good old fasion correction from "the boss" has on most dogs.
Do I understand you correctly that you want to neuter them because they are mounting your sheep?
Mounting beheviour doesn't have to do anything with them actually wanting to mate. Dogs mount each other as one of the ways to establish the pack order. Since your boys are comming of age and they see sheep as their pack members, that would be natural for them to start figuring out their place in your flock. Neutered dogs do it as well.
At 6 months they are too young to be trusted with livestock without supervision and they most likely need some training and your intervention to help them esteblish themselves and teach them manners around sheep. Neutering will not do it.
On other hand neutering dogs that will not be bred is a good practice. However, early neutering is very bad for growing animals and there are more and more veterinary studies that indicate relationship between hip displasia and cancers in large dogs and early neuters. The fact that rescues and vets still push for early neuters has nothing to do with animals health. It is about money and policies on dealing with unwanted pets. If pets are spayed early, less screaning needs to be done for potential owners. So, if you want to neuter them, wait at least untill they are 18m. old and done growing.
I had my one LGD done at 8 months old, right as he hit sexual maturity, and he is not lean or lanky, he is almost as wide as he is tall, no he is not fat
Unless the dog is a very good example of the breed, registered, passed hip checks etc there is no good reason to leave them intact. I am not dealing with a dog whose mind is on breeding rather then the goats, having them set up by predators with a female in heat, having the neighbor's mutt get "knocked up" and dealing with mutt puppies- or coydog puppies, fence breeches, testicular cancer and etc. Not to mention some intact males can cop attitudes even toward their humans and that woud be a liability here with people coming to buy goats.
Talk to your vet about when would be a good time to have them fixed. If he recommends a year and a half old then make sure your fence is excellent. You may also have to separate them as they become more sexually mature as they may fight with each other, they may not but it is a possibility.
We neutered both our pyrs right at year old. Everyone we had talked to said wait until they were two and we would have better guard dogs. We couldn't wait that long; they would have killed each other. It wasn't until later we found out that having two male pyrs is not ideal or so "they" say. Once we got them snipped our boys are great.... they have filled out nicely, they take their responsibilities seriously and work well as a team, they don't tend to wander as much as they used to, and really they are just great all around dogs.
I would postpone neutering as long as possible. Also something else to consider when you do have it done make sure vet is familiar with pyrs they tend to not be able to handle anaesthesia as well.... something about their large size and slow metabolism.
Just because I happened to be at the vet yesterday for an unrelated issue, I asked the vet what they would charge to cut my Sarp/GP LGDs, 7mo roughly 80lbs apiece.... she said for a dog that big Id be looking at $190 apiece! holy cow!
I guess the whole world is bought and sold by the pound..
I am very lucky in my vet. For my LGDs, I'm looking at $60-$70 for a spay and $30-$40 for a nueter. At least, those were the prices a couple years ago. I'll be getting a male and a female done here real soon.
I'm taking my little crossbred who knows what in on Monday to be spayed. About $30 for her.
I highly recommend that you join the LGD list @yahoo.com There are several very good breeders/trainers that give well backed up advice. One of the sites is Bountiful farm.com. I think you'll find that your six month old pups should not be with the stock, without you there, until they are much older. It is totally common for them to "play" with their stock, as youngsters, and need to be reprimanded for it. In their native countries, the older dogs would do that. Yes, they should be neutered, but that won't solve the problem you are having. Lots of great stories and suggestions on the list.
We neuter and spay all of our except for one female and one male that we breed. We do it as soon as they are old enough. I have never noticed any difference in guarding ability and I don't have to worry about what happens when the female comes in heat or when the neighbors dogs come in heat.