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  #1  
Old 04-15-2008, 03:49 AM
dog.lovers dog.lovers is offline
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Default An Overview of the Debarking Debate

One of the most controversial subjects in the field of dog training is the question of debarking surgery. Debarking surgery is a procedure designed to minimize the volume of a dog’s bark. It is generally used by those with dogs who have both a loud bark and a tendency to bark incessantly. The procedure is most commonly used on very loud larger dog breeds. Shetlands and collies, for instance, make up a large percentage of those dogs subjected to the surgery.The procedure generally requires the use of a general anesthesia and involves punching, cutting or otherwise manipulating the tissue around a dog’s vocal chords to soften or significantly reduce his ability to bark. Access the areas targeted during the surgery can come either through the dog’s mouth or via an incision on the dog’s neck.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:27 AM
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that's sad... no matter how loud my dog barks... i will never try this one...
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:08 AM
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Cessena Cessena is offline
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Too bad they don't offer this kind of thing for kids. Screaming neighbor children BE SILENT!

/hyperbole
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:36 AM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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My mom has a debarked dog. I really don't see the cruelty in it. It doesn't keep the dog from barking, it just lessens the volume. It sounds almost as if the dog is barking from a distance. And they can still whine, growl, whimper, and make all other noises that dogs make.

It's a painless procedure. The dog doesn't even know it's been debarked. It doesn't affect the dog's ability to interact with other dogs, or with people. The dog is just quieter. If anything, the breeder said my mom's dog was happier after the debarking. She could bark to her heart's content without anybody being stern with her or constantly trying to shush her.

Don't get me wrong---debarking is definately not my first choice for solving this problem. But if persistant barking is the only thing keeping a dog from having a happy home, why not?

Heck, spaying or neutering is an elective procedure that causes much more drastic change in a dog's life and health than debarking, and involves more invasive surgery.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:56 AM
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I strongly agree with Gempress. If a dog is a seriously problematic barker, and normal behavior modification techniques are not successful, the kindest option for the dog (IMO) is surgical debarking.

The dog may then bark to his heart's content with no disapproval from the owner, nor will he disturb neighbors.

I would imagine many dogs who have been abandoned in shelters because of excessive uncontrollable barking might have remained in their homes had this option been socially acceptable and made available.

JMO as always.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:10 AM
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My mom just adopted a Lhaso Apso. Unknown to us, or the rescue, she had been debarked by her previous owners, whoever they were. We don't know, since she had been pulled from a shelter after showing up as a stray.

She doesn't even try to bark that much, so I don't know if thats a result of being debarked, or what. But when she does bark, its very... odd. Not like a bark, more of a squeak really.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:04 PM
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I agree with Gemp completely.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:01 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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I have a big problem with debarking coming from a breed that is one of the most typically debarked breeds.

Why? Because I see it as a bandaid solution to what is actually wrong. Most dogs I see debarked are pretty routinely debarked. They come from vocal breeds and the owners want them to just shut up. I think very little is done in the way of training. I've had a lot of success in training my shelties not to bark excessively.

Many people with multiple shelties will debark them all because if you have one start up you know the rest will follow. I'd honestly wish these people would get a dog better suited to them. If barking is an issue for you, why on earth get a breed like a sheltie?! Shelties bark, period. Either accept that as a breed trait or find a breed that has traits better tailored to your lifestyle.

I'd hope owners would exhaust EVERY other option before resorting to surgery. If it came down to life or death or rehoming the dog and everything was exhausted I'd be better about it. Unfortunately that's not what usually happens.

I won't say its cruel or inhumane- I know plenty of dogs that have had it done and they're happy. However I do think it's unnecessary.

And I honestly find the debarked bark MORE annoying than a regular one. It sounds weird and raspy and gives me the chills when I hear it. (think nails on a chalkboard)
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:09 PM
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If the choice is between losing an otherwise stable home or getting debarked, then ok. But it should be the very last resort, since there are PLENTY of other methods out there. I own an Aussie. They bark. A lot. Especially when playing. Sawyer barks when he sees another dog from his balcony or hears a cat fighting outside. He has also learned what "enough" means and obeys it.

When we're outside at the dog park and I can't immediately enforce or reward a "quiet", he has been trained to carry a tennis ball in his mouth at all times. This allows him to play and bark without getting nippy or overly loud. Everyone wins!
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:53 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I agree with laurelin - I thought about getting a sheltie when I was looking for a dog a few years ago, but it was the barking that turned me off. I've known several shelties since that just WON"T shut up! Which of course is a great deal the owner's fault - they could probably do a lot to stop it if they learned a little bit about training - but it is definately a characteristic of the breed as well.

(I'm not picking on shelties, though, they're of course not the only barkers! And they are a really great breed - perfect for most dog sports, great personalities, smart, etc.)
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