Do you think it is inhumane to “de-bark” a dog if it means it’s the only way you can keep it?

Pittman & Davis

Question by Skye: Do you think it is inhumane to “de-bark” a dog if it means it’s the only way you can keep it?
I have 2 WONDERFUL Shetland Sheepdogs. Anyone that is familiar with the breed knows that a lot (not all) of them can be very “yappy”! I want to clarify one thing. My dogs do NOT bark because they are bored, unhappy, or have behavior issues. That is the furthest thing from the truth. I am home almost all the time with them and I take them for at least 3 walks (one is an hour) a day as well as 2 15 min. training sessions plus any classes we take in the evening for agility or obedience. We live in a heavily wooded area and they bark at the squirrels, rabbits, and deers that they see while they are in the backyard. We have a lovely fenced in yard and I will let them out there to romp and in a few minutes they spot something and will bark (they have ear piercings barks too) and bark and bark. I have firmly reprimanded them and tried squirting them with a watter bottle which they don’t like but this doesn’t work. I’ve tried collars that emit a high frequency noise and they ignore that as well. I won’t try shocking collars. They also bark the whole time on the walks OUT OF EXCITEMENT AND HAPPINESS! I can’t scold them for that! My neighbors have complained even though they I only have the dogs in the yard for short periods during the day because they are indoor dogs. My neighbors are just jerks really. However, animal control has been over twice now. Why did I pick such a breed that barks so much? I love the breed and they are great at agility which I’m very active in (they also bark the entire time they run the course LOL which any agility person can tell you is very common w/ herding breeds). De-barking them will still allow them to bark but it will just be muffled and won’t bother the neighbors. It will allow them to play outside more when I’m doing housework instead of being cooped up inside. I’m afraid I’ll be told that I have to get rid of them if the barking doesn’t cease. I live on 2 acres and my neighbors aren’t that close but my dogs barking is just incredibly loud so it’s not that I live in this little subdivision. I’d also like to get another dog so de-barking is beginning to look like it may be the WISE thing to do! I thought it was inhumane at first but the more I have talked to other Sheltie owners that have had their dogs de-barked, I realized that it isn’t really bad at all. They can STILL bark! It’s just not as loud. However, I am still concerned about how risky this procedure is. All ELECTIVE SURGERY is risky. I even knew someone that lost a dog during a routine spay and this was an excellent vet. So, if you spay or neuter your pet you really can’t yell at me for de-barking my dogs. I’d like to hear people’s personal experiences with the procedure (GOOD AND BAD) but please don’t chew me out! I will be able to tell if you took the time to REALLY read all I wrote if you immediately start calling me names. And yes, I would HATE it if someone surgically altered my voice but wouldn’t you HATE it too if someone took your ability away to reproduce as well? Thanks.
Of course my dogs are spayed and neutered.
I wrote my neighbors the nicest letter ever and I went over and personally explained my situation. I told them that I’d let them back in if they start to bark but sometimes it takes me a couple of minutes to get to the back door (we live in a huge house) or I don’t hear them right away if I’m vacuuming or doing something noisy. I also told them that I’d only let them out during the day when it’s light out. It’s just my one neighbors who we’ve always had problems with. They used to shoot squirrels and rabbits just for fun and my dad went over there and told them where they could stick that gun (LOL) because he loves animals. Since then, they haven’t liked us.

Best answer:

Answer by xxsamxx
i have to tell my dog off when she barks as we live in a groundfloor flat and her bark can be heard around the corner.

she used to bark all the time but like yourself some-one is always in in my house so we tell her off when she barks and it has calmed her down, she only occasionally barks now.

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10 comments on “Do you think it is inhumane to “de-bark” a dog if it means it’s the only way you can keep it?

  1. You have to do what is best for you and it sounds like this is one of those situations. My sheltie is de-barked and still barks but not as loud.My new puppy will be de barked also.

  2. 😉 Oh, I understand! I have had Shelties since 1967!!

    I am going to get many thumbs down for you!!!

    When we lived in a tract home, I had a few of my Shelties debarked. I worked and I wanted my dogs to be able to enjoy our lovely back yard during the day.

    No dog was ever traumatized from being debarked. They came home fine, went outside and barked their fool heads off. To them, you see, they are still barking. It takes a while getting used to the new sound they make, but the sound doesn’t carry as far.

    My neighbors were very pleased, the dogs enjoyed their yard.

    ps….when we moved to the country about 28 years ago, I haven’t debarked a dog

  3. Debarking does not take away the dogs ability to bark, it lowers the volume. The dogs can still bark.

    I know people with Shelties, yes, they can be barkers. I know some that are debarked. Now if it’s choice between my dog and my home and I’ve done all I could do, then I would debark to keep the dogs in my home. However, you are not going to loose your home over this, you need to keep training and reinforce the no bark rule. If your taking them for walks and your dogs are screaming the whole way, it is YOUR fault, this is a training issue. If one sets the other off, then walk them seperately. As for the yard, they should only be out there supervised, so when they start to bark, you can correct this.

    Now, onto your excuse about shelties barking during agility. If you ever really stop and watch other runs, the dogs who are incessantly barking during a run are not paying attention to what the handler is telling them to do. It’s one thing if the dog barks at you out of frustration because your not giving the information he needs fast enough. It’s another to have a dog bark thru out it’s whole run.

    You need to stop making excuses and train your dogs. Oh, if you don’t get this under control and you do get another dog, like you’ve been considering, your only going to have more problems, because the new dog will learn and follow your other dogs bad behavior.

  4. I feel bad for your situation, But I don`t think the dog should pay for you not being able to train him. Sorry It`s wrong.

  5. The Pink Gremlin

    You can and should scold your dogs for barking “out of excitement and happiness” You allowed your dogs to become what they are, and now want to do surgery to correct it? Scratch the idea of surgery, and do some training with your dogs. If you aren’t sure, hire someone to help you with the problem.

    And comparing de-barking with spay/neutering is like comparing apples to oranges.
    De-barking is elective and unnecessary since the problem can be solved with training..that can’t be said for heat cycles, unwanted pups or pyometra

  6. my neighbor in my apartment complex took her dogs to a pet phychic and had them evaluated to help stop them from barking. I have never heard a peep from them.

  7. in most cases i think its cruel and selfish, much like declawing a cat is. in your case though, it sounds like its your only option. i mean it sounds like you really love your dogs and take care of them and have tried almost every possible alternative. i say as long as your comfortable with it, then go ahead with it. other peoples opinons really shouldnt matter because most of us cant relate to your personal situation.

  8. Hmm I haven’t heard of that procedure before, we must not offer it at the vet clinic I work at. I can’t offer you an opinion on de-barking since I do not know anything, but I was going to offer one more alternative. Have you tried a citronella collar? The dog barks, and they automatically get sprayed with either air or citronella, depending on which canisters you buy. Just a suggestion 🙂 Good luck 😀

  9. My Golden Jewel <3 P.B.J

    Dogs are not the same as humans. You are taking altering a dog, personally. They are not humans. They are animals. There are enough unwanted dogs in the world already. It is the right thing to spay your dog. I consider it for pet owners wrong to NOT spay their dog. (Different case for reputable dog breeders)

    Now, taking away a dogs ability to bark, is wrong. I understand your situtaion, but them barking is party your fault. You have to train a dog to not bark. Not take away their voice bark! Consult with a dog trainer. See what they say. I don’t like shock collars, but it is better than ‘de-barking” your dog. That is ridiculous.

    Overall, I hope that your dogs are spayed/neutered:
    http://www.suite101.com/blog/charladawson/top_10_reasons_to_spay_or_neuter_your_dog_or_cat

  10. You have done everything you can. Your neighbors are a little over doing it. Have you considered talking to them? Be extremely polite. Explain this to them. You’ve already written everything out. Make some bullets from this question, knock on their door, and talk it out.

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