We made the decision to have Nando permanently castrated at 15 months of age (he was chemically castrated at 10 months old). The main driving factor for this was he was getting into fights with male dogs at the park over toys – previously he had shown no aggressive behaviour at all.
Now that we have a 3 month old baby, it was important to us that we did everything we could to prevent Nando having any issue with the baby and toys – so off he went for surgery.
The surgery probably hurt my husband more than it hurt Nando. We dropped Nando off at the clinic first thing in the morning and were able to pick him up around mid afternoon. He had obviously had a bit of stress in the morning because we could smell that he had expressed his anal glands, and he was frantic to leave the veterinary clinic. He had to wear one of the big buckets on his head, but over the next 48 hours, he learned to negotiate eating, drinking, going through doorways, and sleeping with his bucket head.
The day after surgery he had most of his energy back. He was his same normal self, just a bit irritated by the bucket.
The wound healed quickly, but we had to leave the bucket on for 5 days because he had clipper rash where his hair had been removed around the surgery site, and he wanted to lick that and his wound.
It has now been 2 weeks since the surgery, and so far we have been very happy that it has only changed Nando for the better. We have slowly been allowing him back to the dog park, but only with 1-2 dogs at a time. Yesterday he played with another dog, and a toy! very nicely.
Update: One of the best side effects of having Nando castrated is that he is listening so much better when I call him. Even when he is really excited, e.g. playing with other dogs. The exception to this is when he chases birds, particularly ducks. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he does not – usually this occurs when he is further away from me.