Dr. Cherri Trusheim, an emergency veterinarian at ACCES Renton, a 24-hour veterinary specialty hospital, answers this week's questions.

Dr. Cherri Trusheim, an emergency veterinarian at ACCES Renton, a 24-hour veterinary specialty hospital, answers this week’s questions.

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Question: I have a small, 3-year-old mixed-breed dog who has not been neutered. I do not plan to breed him, and he does not have an opportunity to mix freely with neighborhood dogs. For the past six months, he has been exhibiting behavior that makes me think his hormones are surging – scratching, licking, sniffing. What kinds of behavior are typical in an unneutered male?

Answer: There certainly are undesirable behaviors that can be associated with intact male dogs. The most common are urine marking, mounting, roaming and aggression toward other dogs. These behaviors are very common and occur in the majority of intact male dogs.

Intact male dogs have a much harder time socializing with other dogs because of testosterone creating the drive to mate and sometimes dominate.

The frequency and severity of these behaviors vary based on the individual dog and its environment. There certainly are intact male dogs that do not display these types of behaviors, but they are in the minority.