Debarking your dog is the surgical response when trying to find out how to control your dog’s barking for good. Debarking is a controversial procedure. Is it getting a bad rep for nothing? Is the dog lover the real culprit in this equation?
Is Your Dog Barking Too Much?
Debarking your dog might not be at the top of the to-do list when residing on a sprawling piece of property. When living in a duplex with the landlord next door, debarking may seem like the difference between learning how to control your dog’s barking and keeping the apartment or surrendering the animal to a shelter.
Debarking Your Dog, a Frequently Permanent Procedure
Also known as a vocal cordectomy, the debarking surgery removes vocal cord tissues that greatly decrease the pet’s barking noise levels. It does not render the animals mute, but instead decreases the sometimes piercing quality of the vocalizations to something akin a cough.
In the United States, debarking your dog is a legal procedure that is sanctioned by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as a last resort, if all other attempts at curtailing the nuisance behavior fail. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is opposed to the procedure and refers to it as “ineffective” but does permit for it when “relinquishment or euthanasia” is the only other option.
A Useful Breeder Tool?
The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) suggests that debarking your dog is “a very useful tool for breeders and owners.” The author asserts that debarking does not have undesirable effects on the dogs and that it is actually a common practice of animal rescue groups, which specialize in the noisy dog breeds.
This is especially true for dogs of working breeds that are accustomed to ‘barking orders’ to livestock in order to keep them in line. Since debarked dogs are not consistently chastised for the undesirable barking, the author further believes that properly debarked dogs are happier.
How to Control Your Dog’s Barking?
Debarking your dog is one option open to the dog owner who cannot find alternative means to keep problem barking at bay. The problem with this method arises when the root cause of the problem does not get corrected.
Dogs that bark excessively because they loathe their environment, are uncomfortable or not properly exercised will continue to have the same frustrations, albeit minus a few decibels. While treating the symptom, the underlying cause remains unchanged.
On the flipside, genetic predisposition to bark is impossible to correct. While debarking your dog to counteract the genes might sound like a workable solution, the best way to control your dog’s barking at this level is to opt for a breed that is not a well-known barker, especially when living in close quarters with others. This places responsibility for the dog’s undesirable barking squarely at the feet of the dog owner.
Read this Pets Contributor’s other articles related to dog barking:
DIY Dog Obedience Training Tips for Excessive Barking
Guide to Training Your Child How to Read a Dog’s Body Language
Why Do Dogs Bark and What Does the Barking Mean?
American Veterinary Medical Association. “Canine Devocalization” (accessed February 28, 2010)
American Animal Hospital Association. “Canine Devocalization Position Statement” (accessed February 28, 2010)
National Animal Interest Alliance. “Animal rights groups attack life-saving debarking procedure” (accessed February 28, 2010)