Friday, October 21, 2011

Dog Daycare rules: To spay or not to spay?

I have wrestled with a decision for months. Most dog daycares and in-home boarding businesses do not allow unaltered dogs (meaning all dogs must be spayed or neutered). I have been lax with this requirement and now it has gotten me in trouble.

I’m not really into proclaiming myself the Pet Police. It’s a free country and I don’t think anyone should be forced to alter their pet. That being said, these dogs are not easy to have around in a group play setting. I have gradually weakened and allowed dogs under a year old come in even if they aren’t altered.

I should qualify my remarks and point out that these are my own observations, not proven scientific fact. Unneutered males are generally very active and pushy, jumping on all the dogs and humping everyone in sight while peeing on everything else. They don’t start fights; they are just agitated. Many of them pester and mount spayed females. Then the females turn around and get pretty nasty.

Unspayed females seem to be less tolerant of other dogs, especially other females.  

Nightmare scenario
This week one of my female canine clients showed up in heat. Worse, a ten-month-old intact puggle was coming to stay. I was mad at myself for getting into this mess, not at the customers. Determined dogs will jump gates and mate through a chain link fence. I had to put solid barriers between them. I decided to let the girl stay in my back bedroom and the puggle could cool his jets in the garage, where he loves napping in an open crate with his spayed female roommate. Then I can just switch out every few hours, letting one of them loose with the group.

Nightmare gone wrong
Great idea. But in the morning commotion of letting everyone out and fixing meals, I put Mr Puggle in the garage and forgot to close the dog door. About five minutes later, I walk out the back door with bowls of dog food, and the little girl races by with him hot on her heels. You can imagine what I said…

I have no idea if anything happened, but we’ll know for sure in a few weeks. I’m hoping that, since he was still pursuing her frantically, she hadn’t accepted his overtures. She’s never been bred.

I am totally disgusted with myself. Confessing to her owner was hard; I’m beating myself up for letting it happen. I can only say that if I dodge a bullet on this incident – or I guess I should say SHE dodges a bullet – that I will never let it happen again.

And now I understand why dog daycare owners make these rules…

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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Jackson Willis said...

I think the main factor behind spaying is to keep strays off of the street. If you're taking care of the dog, sending it to a daycare and things like that, it's probably not a huge issue. You should look in to the rules of your daycare though, they may require it to avoid problems with other dogs.