Ignoring the message to spay and neuter is unthinkable for many dog owners, and you may wish to have the procedure performed as soon as possible. The best age varies somewhat, depending on your dog's breed. However, some male dogs may benefit from having their neutering slightly delayed in order to correct certain behavioral problems.
Neutering involves the surgical removal of your dog's testicles. In eliminating your dog's ability to reproduce, you've also eliminated his ability to produce testosterone. When neutering is performed at an early age, the cessation of testosterone production may create a dilemma with dogs that are timid or fearful.
A Hormone That Promotes Confidence
In species that produce the hormone, testosterone is known to promote confidence. This means neutering can have beneficial behavioral effects, as the elimination of testosterone can have calmative effects on an easily-excited dog, while also helping to minimize aggression. However, for dogs that are timid or fearful, neutering can make it difficult for a dog to naturally overcome these behaviors.
Talk to Your Vet
Any delay in neutering your dog must be carefully discussed with your vet. If your dog's timidity at a young age is a concern, you and your vet may decide that delaying the procedure is in your dog's best interests until certain behavioral traits have stabilized.
Growing Out of It
The issue is that neutering (and the stoppage of testosterone production) can deprive your dog of a natural hormone that may help them to organically grow out of their timidity or fearfulness. This isn't to say that delaying the procedure by several months will automatically create a confident dog, but your dog may be at a disadvantage when their testosterone production is halted. In addition to the slight delay in neutering your dog, behavioral training should be utilized.
During the Delay
Because your dog will be sexually mature prior to desexing, some diligence is required. You may need to monitor your dog during any interaction with unspayed females, discouraging mounting behavior if it should happen. Even though your dog may need additional time to develop emotional maturity, they have still reached puberty (physical maturity) and so can reproduce. Careful supervision is necessary to avoid an unwanted litter.
The decision to delay neutering should only be made after consultation with your dog's vet. A short delay won't affect your dog's physical health, and in dogs with problematic timidity or fearfulness, a delay can give them the extra time they need to overcome these behavioral traits.
For more information about spay and neuter services, contact a veterinarian or animal hospital near you.