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Debarking: Facts and myths

 by yunus on 28 Mar 2018 |
5 Comment(s)
Barking is one of the major ways your dog communicates, but excessive vocalization can lead to disputes with the neighbors and owners relinquishing their dogs to the shelter. While voicing his concerns is a natural part of your dog’s daily life, these issues lead some owners to consider surgery to “debark” their dogs.
Also known as voice softening, debarking is an elective surgical procedure that reduces tissue in a dog’s vocal chords. Some veterinarians use a punch to remove tissue while others make cuts of varying sizes or use a laser. The goal is not to totally silence your pet, but to lower the volume of his voice so it does not carry. While some describe the procedure as cruel, others describe debarking as a relatively simple procedure that saves the lives of many pets that would otherwise be surrendered to shelters due to their loud voices.
While debarking is a simpler procedure than spaying or neutering your pet, there may be less invasive options to address Fido’s excessive vocalizations. When he barks, your dog is trying to tell you something, so pay close attention to what he’s trying to say. Ask yourself whether your pet is getting enough exercise, spending too much time alone, or feels the stress of separation anxiety when left home alone. Other common causes behind excessive barking include responding to neighborhood noises or alerting you to other animals or people on the property. Once you’ve pinpointed the source behind your dog’s barking, you can address the root of the problem. If your pet barks at passersby or the neighbor’s dog, for example, you can set up a privacy fence that keeps them out of sight. Dogs that bark when their owners leave home often feel safer with a comfortable spot to rest, such as a crate outfitted with soft bedding and a cover. Or, if your pet gets stressed spending long hours home alone, consider taking him to a doggy day care where he will get physical and mental stimulation throughout the day. You can encourage your pet to stay quiet by rewarding the behavior with treats and even teaching him the “quiet” command. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and don’t leave him alone for long periods of time, which can exacerbate barking due to pent up energy or separation anxiety.
As with any surgery, debarking involves a risk of complications and you should seek a skilled veterinarian if you opt to debark your pet. Benefits of the elective procedure include a dog that can bark whenever he wants without disapproval or risking conflict with the neighbors or his family. Because barking is not a problem in and of itself, however, it is worth working to identify and address the underlying cause of your pet’s persistent bark before opting for surgery. If you cannot determine the reason for Fido’s boisterous behavior, you may want to work with a behaviorist to pinpoint and address the issue. Chances are, spending money on training will lead to a happier, healthier relationship as you better understand what your dog is trying to tell you.


Dorreen - Comment
Dorreen08 Jun 2018Reply
What is the quiet command. How do you teach the quiet command
AbbyandSadiesMom - Comment
AbbyandSadiesMom08 Jun 2018Reply
@Dorreen, Please see my comment below to Amy for a suggestion relating to dog barking. Good luck to you also!
AbbyandSadiesMom - Comment
AbbyandSadiesMom08 Jun 2018Reply
Debarking is as cruel a procedure as is declawing an animal. It is a totally unnecessary surgical procedure and has been proven to have detrimental after-effects on the poor dog having suffered through the operation. Here in Massachusetts (USA), debarking is banned. Anyone found to have performed this procedure is charged with a felony, heavy fines levied and subjected to jail time. For the person who performed the surgery, that person is also subjected to the same as above; however, they also lose their medical license. DO NOT promote this barbaric practice, please.
Coral Jane - Comment
Coral Jane08 Jun 2018Reply
Could not agree more. Debarking brings with it many problems like...
a hoarse and unpleasant noise, coughing when drinking or difficulty swallowing, trachetitis and irritation of the throat, postoperative swelling and even sudden death. Inability to control mucus in the throat, infections and repeat procedures due to scarring causing the dog discomfort in eating and breathing when running due to the mucus.
The procedure is unnecessary and inherently cruel, many veterinarians condemn it and refuse to perform it.

There are other ways to deter a dog from unnecessary barking in most cases the dog is just bored. They are a thinking being, they need mental stimulation. It's up to the owner to provide this enrichment.
Amy - Comment
Amy08 Jun 2018Reply
This is absolutely awful! My dog has been diagnosed with fear aggression which started from hearing my neighbor scream when she was a puppy that he didn’t want her walking in his yard! Meanwhile his wife and daughter just wanted to pet her. So my dog now barks profusely at everyone! I’ve had a trainer and it didn’t work. I would never consider such a surgery. Clearly dogs bark for a reason. Treat or train them better and if that doesn’t work.... spend some good money on earplugs! As for me... I hope she drives my neighbor nuts with her barking! She protects me everyday and I love her so I don’t mind 😉
AbbyandSadiesMom - Comment
AbbyandSadiesMom09 Jun 2018Reply
@Amy, Brandon McMillan has a show on CBS Saturday mornings called "Lucky Dog." It's a fabulous program about how to train dogs. You may want to check out Amazon and just search 'Brandon McMillan' and it will come to his training manual(s) as well as something called "Shake & Break.' It's an hourglass holder that comes with beads. When the dog starts barking, you immediately shake the holder and it distracts the dog from barking and allows you to get its attention. It may be worth pursuing. Either way, I highly recommend you to watch his program to get a feel for how he trains, I've picked up a lot of tips that we use in our local no-kill animal shelter. Good luck!
Jason - Comment
Jason14 Jun 2018Reply
I have a dog but have suffered neighbours' dogs' nuisance barking. Awful!. Not being able to have some quiet and peace in your own home. Not being able to read, study or have a nap because someone's dog will not stop barking. Do what you need to do to shut that dog up!!!

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