It may be difficult for you to picture your dog as anything other than your furry baby. However, just like all other living things, canines eventually grow up. Part of that growing up includes maturing physically -- and all of the roaming behavior that typically goes along with it.
Age of Physical Maturity
Domestic canines usually reach the age of reproductive maturity before they are fully grown in a social sense. You can expect your doggie to attain this major landmark somewhere between 6 and 9 months in age, according to The Merck Manual for Pet Health. However, dog breeds that are especially massive in size usually mature a little later -- think Great Danes or Saint Bernards.
Once a dog is physically mature, you will probably begin to notice some very conspicuous sexually-motivated behaviors, roaming being just one of them. When a dog has the urge to mate, he may become extremely restless and antsy while inside of your home. You may even notice him making persistent efforts to break out of your home in order to go outside and seek out female dogs in estrus. The desire to go outside on a quest to find female canines in season is known as "roaming."
Although roaming is a very typical intact male dog behavior, it is also often extremely hazardous. If a male dog goes outside to find mating partners, he could get run over fatally by a passing car on the street, or he could simply wander too far away from home and become lost permanently. Dogs who are fixed typically have greater lifespans than their unfixed counterparts, and it may be directly linked to the lack of roaming desire, indicates the ASPCA. Canines often go to extreme measures to break out of yards and homes, including making big holes under gates. Lastly, dogs who go outdoors are also a lot more susceptible to contracting dangerous diseases, whether rabies or enteritis.
Neutering a dog may be able to halt his roaming patterns, along with other hormonally-charged actions, such as urine spraying, persistent vocalization, mounting objects and aggressive physical fighting. If the surgery is performed before a dog reaches sexual maturity, it may be even more successful at eliminating these frustrating behaviors. Neutering surgery either lessens or cuts out roaming and other sexual behaviors in between 80 and 90 percent of male canines, reports the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. As for physical aggression, neutering minimizes it by 33 percent, as well.
- The Humane Society of the United States: Escaping
- ASPCA: How Will Neutering Change My Dog?
- ASPCA: Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Canine Parvovirus
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Social Behavior
- UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: Why You Should Neuter Your Cat or Dog
- ASPCA: Escaping From the Yard