From the VetMed Forum:
A veterinary Forum Guest asked about a vocal cordectomy (debarking surgery) for their dog.
"We've tried it all - from more toys, Kongs, puzzles, extra walks and exercise, doggie daycare and still, the few times we leave our dog alone, he barks and howls continuously. We've resorted to using a bark collar on him, but we hate it, and so does he.
We're considering vocal cordectomy (debarking) after our umpteenth complaint from an anonymous neighbor. Our biggest concern is whether the procedure will work on reducing the howling noise as well as barking noise. Anyone know?"
From your Guide:
Like all surgeries, the debarking surgery is not without potential complications, namely bleeding, infection and scarring. Also, dogs who are debarked may still have a hoarse "bark" or vocalize in other ways. I do not recommend this surgery.
My recommendation would be to work with a dog trainer or vet knowledgeable in behavior issues such as separation anxiety, and treat the underlying problem (stress / anxiety when you are away), not the sign (barking).
My own dog, Sophie, has had some mild issues with separation anxiety as well as noise phobias. We had great success with the DAP collar. It is a pheromone-impregnated collar that has a calming effect on most dogs. Each dog / problem is different, and individual results vary. I recommend using positive behavior modification in conjunction with the collar for best results. Some dogs may need veterinarian-prescribed medications as well.
Please speak with your veterinarian if anxieties or phobias are a problem for your dog. These are serious issues for both the dogs and their people. We have many options available now to help these dogs live comfortably and stress-free.
Learn more about
- Why Dogs Bark and How to Stop Excessive Barking
from Jenna Stregowski, RVT, About.com Guide to Dogs
- Debarking in dogs
from Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM About.com Guide to Veterinary Medicine
- The use of DAP collar to reduce stress during training of police dogs
Photo: Montara Barking by Perfecto Insecto on Flickr