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Dog Debarking? No Way

Filed in - Science - Dogs - Training

Like most greyhounds, my 13 year-old greyhound, Sydney, has a quiet, gentle soul. But boy, can she bark! She barks when she wants to go out and she barks when she wants to come in. She barks when she’s happy and she barks when she is bored. I admit, it can be irritating, particularly at 5am when I want to relish that last hour of sleep before my alarm sounds. But would I consider permanently silencing her so that I can get that last hour of sleep? No. So what to do?

Many people may had never heard of dog debarking before last week’s front-page article in The New York Times. The article described a procedure where a dog’s vocal cords are surgically removed, leaving his bark to sound more like a whisper. I would never consider doing this to Sydney, but the wake of the article left many people wondering if surgery could be a quick fix to their own dog’s nuisance barking.

Nuisance barking is a legitimate problem, but a far safer, gentler and highly effective solution lies in using positive methods of behavior modification. For some helpful tips, be sure to check out the many great articles we offer on this topic and get in touch with trainer who can help. A great resource to find trainers skilled in helping you solve the problem can be found at www.greatdogtrainers.com.

About the author

Julie Gordon is the Content & Communications Manager at Karen Pryor Clicker Training. She oversees editorial development and content management for the company’s websites, and regularly contributes articles and blogs.


Debarking is such a wimp's solution. There was this thing I read that I found disturbing. There was this very well known sheltie breeder and she used this one handler. Now the handler requires all dogs should be debarked and she happily sends the dogs away to him, knowing they'll be debarked and she's ok with it.
Even more disturbing: I asked my friend and she said "well I guess it's ok. If it doesn't cost that much I'll do that to my dog, since he barks so much"

Sad thing is it's not the dog's fault he barks. He sits in a crate most of the day (18-22 hours a day), only 30 minutes of exercise and they underfeed him because he's obese. He's one unhappy dog.

As for barking, perhaps you should walk your dog more? My dog used to bark a lot and I bumped up her 1 hour to 2 hours of walking. Letting the dog in the yard isn't exercise at all... My father walks his dog 2 hours a day (he has 5) and he has a 5 acre backyard with a lake in it...

But the debarking issue, I'm suprised vets will actually do the procedure. There's another cruel procedure called disarming. It's when they grind all the teeth down so they're not sharp anymore, since the owners don't want to step up to the plate and solve the aggression issue.

Yet another lame quick fix

Yet another lame quick fix that I just cannot understand. Diet pills, cat declawing and now dog debarking?? What is wrong with people? So many people are so fixated to opt for irresponsible solutions. And by that I mean not the act itself, but a solution which allows people to not have to take responsibility for their actions, weaknesses and lack of knowledge in many cases. The feeling of guilt due to the lack of time they spend with their dog causes the dog owner to overfeed until the dog is dangerously obese. Instead of realizing that something went wrong that caneasily be fixed, they get a diet pill. The cat scratches the furniture because it has no other way of entertaining itself so it gets declawed ( and is now more likely to become aggressive). And a dog that barks also has a reason for their behavior and it is our responsibility to make sure that these animals aren't misunderstood and simply get their vocal cords silenced.  I think preventing an animal from expressing their most basic form of communication is some of the most cruel animal abuse I have heard of to date.