For some people there is nothing more annoying than a barking dog. In fact, this issue is probably one of the most common sources for neighborhood quarrels. The important thing to remember though is that the noise is not the dog’s fault, it is simply trying to communicate.
Dogs can bark while playing, as a greeting, as a warning, to gain attention, and while performing specific tasks (e.g., driving cattle). The true fault for excessive barking lies with the dog’s owner for not adequately controlling the situation. Yet some owner’s, rather than giving their dog what it needs – regular exercise, play time, and adequate attention, seek to have their dog debarked as a quick resolution to the problem.
While it’s true that some dog breeds naturally bark more than others, excessive barking is usually a behavioral issue and the only way to effectively fix the problem is to determine the underlying cause of the behavior.
Debarking (also known as devocalization or bark softening) is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia where tissue is removed from the animal’s vocal cords to permanently reduce the volume of their vocalizations. The procedure does not take away a dog's ability to bark; dogs will normally bark just as much as before the procedure. What it does do is reduce the volume and change the tone of their barks.
Opinions are mixed on whether this is an inhumane procedure or not, but it can be argued that performing a surgery on an animal simply for the convenience of the owner, especially one which will not address the underlying cause of the issue, is not a fair treatment of the animal.
We strongly encourage any owner considering debarking their dog to review the following articles, which aim to define the reasons for excessive barking and offer non-surgical solutions:
5 Tips for Handling Nuisance Barking Additional Dog Barking Articles