What is debarking? Part 2

debarked dogIn the first part of this article, we looked at the reasons for debarking – a surgical procedure whereby a dog’s vocal chords are severed, rendering it unable to bark.

This certainly sounds cruel, and the practice has lots of critics. Vets willing to carry out the procedure are hard to find. However, there are some that advocate it on health grounds, as well as for owners of noisy dogs faced with a choice between eviction and giving up their pet.

Dr Sharon Vanderlip, who has a veterinary practice in San Diego, has performed debarking operations for more than three decades, and told the New York Times that she is a “big, big, big proponent” of debarking if done correctly and for good reason.

In an interview, she said:

“They recover immediately and they don’t ever seem to notice any difference.”

“I think that in certain cases it can certainly save a dog from ending up being euthanized. If properly done, they behave totally the same afterwards and don’t seem to have any health problems.”

Mike Marder and his wife, who own Nestlé, a terrier – dachshund cross, recounted to the paper how their pet was an excessive barker. He would bark at them when they returned home, bark at the doorbell, and bark at their new puppy. In fact, his barking was so bad that a neighbour threatened to complain to the authorities unless the problem was addressed. The Marders did not want to give up their pet, and although there are options to curb excessive barking, including citronella-spraying collars that are triggered by a bark, or training using dog treats and dog toys, the family opted for debarking.

Mr Marder said that the operation stopped his neighbour from complaining, and did not alter Nestlé’s personality. He commented:

“He’s certainly a tail-waggy, happy guy.”

Although forcing the dog to undergo the operation may seem cruel, it was a better alternative than giving up Nestlé for good.

Dream Dogs would like to hear your opinions on the matter. Do you think that you should explore other methods of stopping your dog from barking, or would you put your pet through the procedure if you thought your neighbours would complain?