Spaying and neutering are still hotly debated topics. Simply put, there is one reason and one reason only to spay or neuter your Shiba – you don’t want puppies. Of course there’s all that blood every heat and the mounting and the posturing around other dogs that you could do without, but no puppies are and always will be the main reason.
Spaying and neutering are not guaranteed to improve your dog’s temperament, make it better around other dogs or stop it from wandering. These side effects may occur, but one should never approach spaying and neutering as a fix-it for problems that only training and control can address.
If you are worried about the health effects of spaying and neutering, do some research. There are pros and cons to the timing of the procedure and whether it is done at all. However, if you can’t guarantee that you will keep your dog from reproducing, you’re setting your dog up for more problems than you’re solving.
The real problem with spaying and neutering is that it is currently the only way that breeders, rescues, and shelters can guarantee that a dog cannot be bred after they relinquish it to a new owner. Unfortunately, in North American society, there is no accountability for irresponsibly breeding dogs and thus, this is the only way to prevent unwanted, unplanned, and unhealthy pups from being produced.
All good rescues and most good breeders require that their animals be spayed or neutered at a certain point when being placed in a pet home. Most of the time, this is non-negotiable, unless you have specific permission to keep the dog intact (for example, Tierce was bought as a pet, but his breeder allowed me to ignore the terms of the contract so I could show him – dogs can’t be shown if they’re neutered).
Other concerns about spaying and neutering have evolved from myths, legends, and treating dogs as if they are people (also known as anthropomorphization).
It’ll make my dog faaat!
Strangely enough, when the owner starts taking the dog for regular walks and feeds an appropriate amount of a high-quality diet, this tends to resolve itself.
My dog will feel less of a dog! He’ll be a wimp!
Do people know just how utterly creepy this statement is. You do realize he’s a DOG, right? You’re not joined at the testicles, are you?
Removing the testicles does not remove the territorial instinct, the legs, or the jaws of a dog. In the case of Shibas, who are you trying to kid? The breed was born thinking it owns the world and the removal of two lumps of flesh isn’t going to change its opinion any.
I want my dog to experience motherhood!
Dogs do not go to proms. They do not enjoy the bar scene. They do not require wedding trousseaus. They certainly do not need to produce an irresponsibly bred litter so that you can enjoy the power of generating more irresponsibly bred puppies.
I want my kids to see the miracle of birth!
What moron thought this up? Somehow, the character building in producing a litter of irresponsibly bred puppies is lost to me. Strangely enough, the parents that bleat this sentiment are not at all eager to take their children to a shelter to see what happens to a great many ‘miracles’.
My dog’s a PUREBRED!
When the myth of ‘purebred’ = ‘breeding quality’ expires, I will die happy. Purebred doesn’t equal a damn thing, unless it is backed up with a pedigree of dogs bred by dedicated, responsible breeders who are trying to preserve the breed’s traits and character. If you don’t have that kind of dog and/or aren’t prepared to breed responsibly, your dog’s puppies aren’t going to be worth the newspapers they’re crapping on.
When in doubt, neuter. You will never make a bad decision by choosing to neuter instead of breed.