Friday, August 6, 2010


I think when you own dogs and live in an area where you live close to your neighbors; you become much less tolerant of your dogs barking. That’s usually due to the fact that your neighbors are much less tolerant of your dogs barking. I know I’m sensitive to my dogs barking and I live in a rural area, yet still there are neighbors that can hear my dog’s barking. I don’t like listening to them and I own them so I can sympathize with people that don’t own dogs and don’t want to be serenaded by their unwelcome annoying little yaps!

Now days it seems that people are less tolerant of things than they were years ago. Years ago if you lived in a neighborhood, hearing a dog bark was part of living in America. Johnny rode his bike down the center of the street, while Julie skipped rope on the sidewalk. A few stray dogs ran loose on Bill and Ethel’s front lawn and still others could be heard making a commotion behind someone else’s fence. This was a part of America. This is how we lived. Dogs and kids doing what dogs and kids do……playing and barking and living life to its fullest. Momma stayed home and cooked and baked while daddy went out to make a living.

Then all of a sudden we become a two income family. Less chocolate chip cookies were baked because momma had to go type up some “memos” for her boss and dad worked longer hours and couldn’t coach the little league team anymore. Nerves were stretched to its limit. Less time with the family and patience levels were tested on a daily basis. This is where the things that we once tolerated had all of a sudden become a nuisance to us. Children looking for help with their math homework, daddy looking to share his day with mommy who had all she could do to pull out yet another frozen meal for supper from the freezer. “Rover” is barking in the back yard looking to come in the house where he once laid by the fireplace. The dynamics of the family structure has changed and in many cases the tolerance level has gone out the window as well. What we used to classify as normal behavior is now classified as annoying behavior.

We’ve all heard this overused term a lot in these last several years and that is we live in a “sue happy” society nowadays. If you look at someone cross eyed, expect to be taken to court. Well dogs that bark even like a “normal” dog would back because a stranger comes into his yard is now considered a nuisance. Some neighbors would say that this dog was disturbing the peace! The next thing you know is that the animal warden is knocking on your front door looking to seize your dog and put him in an animal shelter were he spends a few of his last days before taking a trip to the “Pearly White Gates!”

So because many people have made it harder to live in some neighborhoods some owners of dogs have decided to debark their dogs so no one can complain anymore. Some people think this is a cruel and unfair punishment to a dog’s natural instinct used to warn their beloved owners of impending danger. Others feel that it is better to debark their dogs and insure that their animals won’t be taken away. However, even after a dog has been debarked, he can still bark with a lower tone or a squeak. Some feel that it gives a dog an emotional problem and others feel that that’s a bunch of hog wash! Those that are against this medical procedure feels why take a risk with your dog going under the knife and perhaps losing his life. They feel that unnecessary surgery is well unnecessary!

When a veterinarian does a debarking surgery, the vocal chords of a dog are cut and partially removed so the dog cannot bark as loudly. In some areas of the country, debarking is banned like in New Jersey. In some other countries it is also banned.

Some people are of the belief that you can train a dog to stop barking and others believe that you can not especially in breeds that are known to be constant barkers. Those that believe you can train a dog not to bark feel that by having a dog debarked you are not addressing the problem of why the dog is barking in the first place. Having this surgery doesn’t take the desire to bark away from the dog. Some people are looking for a quick fix when it comes to stopping their dog or dogs from barking. The stress that they receive from unforgiving neighbors finds them doing something that they otherwise would not be doing.

Sometimes after having the surgery, the debarked dog may be silent or have a low, hoarse bark, which sometimes is even more annoying than the original reason you had him debarked in the first place.

Some feel that debarking their dogs was a necessary thing that they needed to do in order to keep their dogs in the neighborhoods that they live in. They are no longer worried about their dogs being taken away from them because of their noisy barking all the time. They feel that their level of stress is reduced as well as their neighbors.

In the end, I suppose we all do what it is that we need to do to co-exist in an ever expanding population. If you live among other people, one must realize that the love we feel for our animals doesn’t mean our neighbors feel the same way about them. They pay their mortgages and their taxes and they are entitled to have a cook-out in their own backyard without the constant and annoying barking of the dogs on the other side of the fence! I know I wouldn’t like it. Heck I don’t enjoy listening to my own dogs barking no less anyone else’s doing the same thing.

So what do you think? Is it ever a good idea to put your dogs through this surgery just to keep the peace? And what’s next, will someone be knocking on your front door ready to “take you downtown” and lock you up for the night because you felt the need to clear your throat and spit on your neighbors front lawn? Will that little nasty act get you locked up? Or maybe your hacking cough woke up Susie Q who was napping in her stroller. Stay tuned………..

My rating: debarking dogs: (1 - 4)


  1. I would vote against the surgery. Next thing they will be doing is the same surgery to little children who cry and scream in restaurants, stores or anywhere in public. Talk about irritating. We took a crying child on an airplane one time from the parents and that child quieted right down and went to sleep. You offer to take a child now a days and you would be arrested for something or other.
    We have a three dog alarm and if you come strutting up to our door the dogs will be the least of your worries.
    If barking is a habit or incessant then buy a bark collar with citronella and ear plugs, carry it next door and lock it on your neighbor who is the trouble maker. Then take your dog for a walk. End of problem....
    At some point we need to return common sense and reasonableness. Neighbors don't talk to each other anymore, they just call the authorities who have even less common sense than those who called them.
    Problem is the people not the dog most of the time.

  2. Yes Bruce things have certainly changed from when you and I were growing up. As I said people are less tolerant to things that was once considered "normal!"

  3. Our first herding dogs were Pembroke Welsh Corgis they were fairly quiet outside. We had a dog run and they went out together and they might bark a little as they played but it was never excessive. In the summer and fall if it wasn't to hot they'd spend a couple hours in the afternoon out in their run as we were in and out of the house doing chores and unless they were playing ball with each other they were pretty quiet.

    My cattledog was a mouthy sort and she went out with a bark collar on because she felt the need to announce every movement of every critter. Neighbors never complained to us but it seemed smarter to prevent the problem by using hte bark collar. Also gave her the added benefit of being able to stay outside and sun bask longer if she wasn't barking.

    My GSD was a quiet dog outdoors. At our first home in a trailer park we had next to no yard so potty trips were done on a tie out. I was neurotic about someone messing with him so I watched and brought him in as soon as he was done. When we moved we had a dog run off the garage for him to go out and do his business in. He was quiet and not a fence jumper so he would go out and stay out for a bit if it was nice out. Gave me a chance to get chores done.

  4. In Massachusetts it is now a felony offense to debark a dog; a law I find foolish. If the procedure is performed by a licensed veterinarian it is painless. While I do not support debarking in an attempt to hide the number of dogs you have, I DO support it when it becomes an either or situation...either you stop the dog from barking or you have to surrender it. Some dogs do not respond to the bark collars and I find shocking my dog for doing what comes naturally to be cruel.
    They are dogs...they can't sing or dance...they bark.
    We bring ours in early in the evening so there is no loud barking after 5pm..and we do not put them out in the morning in the kennels until after 9:30 weekdays and 10 or 11 on the weekends. This REALLY helps curtail the nuisance barking and has made it alot more peaceful with OUR neighbors, "lifestyles of the rich and famous"....

  5. I think it's cruel to have your dog go through the debarking procedure. I believe dogs can be trained to bark only when it is necessary or just to keep them indoors at night when neighbors are about to sleep. According to what I read from, German Shepherds are not barkers but will bark as a warning for perceived danger. So, I won't go for it.