By: Tippy & Turbo
Dogs bark. Some dogs bark more than others, and some dogs
have emotional bad habits and bark nearly constantly.
Debarking is surgery to remove or reduce a dog's ability to
Pros of Debarking
Some people believe that if a dog is barking excessively it
should have surgery to make it unable to bark. This surgery
is called debarking. Some proponents of debarking say that
the operation saves dogs' lives, since many dogs to to
shelters or are euthanized because the owners can't stand
all the barking. Many people who have had their dogs
debarked report that the dog didn't seem to notice or mind,
it still barked as usual, but seemed less stressed because
the quieter bark didn't attract the constant discipline that
earlier loud barking did.
Cons of Debarking
People who are against debarking believe that the surgery is
cruelty to a dog, and say that with effort and proper
training any dog can be taught not to bark excessively.
Plus, a dog that can't bark has lost much of its
communication ability and is unable to alert its owners to
intruders or danger.
Also, debarking often is only temporary, sometimes the
surgery must be done over and over as scar tissue forms, and
there is always a danger of death in any surgery and
anesthesia, so they believe that a dog owner who debarks
their dog is choosing to cause ongoing injury to their dog
and risk its life for a selfish motive. Plus, if the dog was
barking due to emotional issues, it might develop a weakened
immune system and/or ulcers from the continued stress
without the release of barking.
What Exactly Is Done When a Dog is Debarked?
The surgery removes two folds of tissue that are on each
side of the dog's voice box (larynx). In order for the dog
to make a sound and change the pitch, these folds must close
over the larynx, so when they are removed the sound the dog
can make ranges from a gasp to a softened bark.
Some Alternatives to Debarking
Some recommended alternatives to debarking surgery are:
* Electronic collars that give a light electric shock (like
a static shock) to the dog whenever it barks. Some are self-
activated by the sound of the dog's bark, some are activated
remotely by the owner. These collars work for some dogs, but
not for others, and if the dog continues to bark even with
the collar it can sustain injury to its neck. Also the self-
activated collars can be activated by other dogs or other
sounds and so cause confusion and depression in the dog.
* Citronella and other scent collars are similar to the
self-activated electric collars except that the dog is
sprayed with a scent when it barks. They are less harmful,
but also don't work in every case. However, any of these
methods should be tried before a decision to debark is made.
* A professional trainer may be able to train your dog when
it is appropriate to bark and when it is not.
Try several methods to help your dog stop being a nuisance
barker, and let your own sensibilities, knowledge of your
dog, and conscience be your guide in deciding whether or not
to debark your dog.