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nova1950

Debarking

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nova1950   

I have a 9 year old kelpie with a very loud bark. I have tried very many methods of training to no avail. I am now considering having her debarked but am very concerned that no harm will come to her. I gather that most vets in victoria do not perform this procedure. I am about to go into a retirement village that accepts dogs but have been warned that if there are any complaints I will have to give her up which would devastate me. I would appreciate hearing from anybody who has had any experience with dogs that have been debarked and if they would recommend my doing so or not.

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Hi....

Debarking ..it is AFAIK only to be performed after all other methods fail, and the dog is at risk of being put to sleep because of teh barking which can not be stopped by training/management means.

There are lots of things to consider ...

Do you have any idea of why your dog barks?

is there a time or place or situation?

Does she bark when inside with you, or only outside?

Does she bark on your daily walks/at the park?

Does she bark when playing with other dogs?

What training things have you tried ...we may be able to help before you battle bureaucracy ...here is a link to explain it a bit more http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/about-agriculture/legislation-regulation/animal-welfare-legislation/codes-of-practice-animal-welfare/debarking-of-dogs

Edited by persephone

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Red Fox   

Have you tried an electric bark collar?

http://www.k9pro.com.au/products/Dogtra-YS300-Electronic-Anti-Bark-Collar.html

I've got a young Mali with a very LOUD bark. I used the above collar on the lowest setting. Stopped her nuisance barking within a week (demand barking, bark off with the dog next door, etc) but she'll still bark straight through it when there is something 'real' to bark at such as a stranger on the property.

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pebbles   

The OP says he/she is going into a retirement village soon so I would imagine there are age and time restrictions. Debarking would be the best option if possible IMO.

To the OP - There have been a lot of dogs debarked without any harmful aftermath. I have an elderly friend who had all hers done when she had to move from a country property into town. Dogs all fine and so much less stress for my friend. Perhaps in your circumstances your Doctor may be able to help with a recommendation to your Vet. Most Vets can do it, it's not major surgery. Hope it will work out for you, have you asked at your Vets. No harm in asking.

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mita   

Yes, good suggestion to check your State's law about debarking. If I remember correctly, Victoria is a bit more draconian than here in Q'ld.

But, even here, the law insists it be the last resort.

My views on debarking changed when I met a pair of dogs that had been debarked (by a vet experienced with the procedure). I didn't know they'd been debarked and commented on their sexy voices! These dogs could still express themselves in a bark, but the pitch was lower than usual and the sound wouldn't carry to the same extent as a normal bark. So I now have a positive view of it.

I guess it's a question of how well.....if at all...some of the other measures work. Like, blocking your dog's view of whatever it is that triggers him to bark. Keep away from fenceline with passing parade on street outside. Put weedmat plastic along a fenceline if it's set off by a dog next door. I haven't tried a citronella collar, but others could advise. Just speaking for myself, I don't like the use of medication to stop a dog from barking. My concern about all of these, is that they're not fail-safe. Debarking is.

One tip I read (but have never tried) was in a book on keeping dogs in apartments in US cities. Sounds a bit crazy.....but apparently if a frightening noise follows instantly on a dog's bark...it'll shut up after a while, because it learns that its bark sets off this scary noise.

You get two pans & hide inside where the dog can't see you. As soon as it barks, give one hell of a bang. Just one.

If it barks again, another bang. I guess you'd have to tip off neighbours! The aim is for the dog to finally 'decide' not to bark again, rather than hear the scary sound. I wonder, though, if there's a brave dog that actually barks more and louder when it hears the bang! :)

Edited by mita

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pebbles   

There apparently are ways around it without having to wait for the 'last resort'. Friend knew hers would drive people mad and she had them done before she moved into town. She was in her 80's and didn't try anything else.

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There apparently are ways around it without having to wait for the 'last resort'. Friend knew hers would drive people mad and she had them done before she moved into town. She was in her 80's and didn't try anything else.

That sounds a good plan, pebbles.

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mita   

The OP's already said she's 'tried very many methods of training to no avail'.

So she is up to the last resort, debarking.

Here's the Code of Practice for Debarking of Dogs in Victoria.

http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/about-agriculture/legislation-regulation/animal-welfare-legislation/codes-of-practice-animal-welfare/debarking-of-dogs

Edited by mita

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So she is up to the last resort.

I thought Council had to declare dog a nuisance before it can be legally debarked?

well, that is what I understood from this, anyway....

This code recognises that debarking a dog may be necessary for therapeutic or prophylactic effects, or as an alternative to euthanasia for a dog declared to be a public nuisance because it barks persistently.

A dog is a public nuisance where – there have been written complaints from the occupiers of not less than two neighbouring residences or in isolated areas two written complaints from persons occupying the same residence, submitted to the Municipal offices, and investigation by an authorised officer of the municipality confirms that despite every reasonable effort by the owner to discourage the dog from barking by considerate care, training and management the dog continues to bark persistently.

This Code does not approve of debarking as a substitute for proper care, management and training of a dog. When management changes and training are undertaken, sufficient time should always be allowed for behaviour changes in a dog to be evident.

Legalese :(

Edited by persephone

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wuffles   

One tip I read (but have never tried) was in a book on keeping dogs in apartments in US cities. Sounds a bit crazy.....but apparently if a frightening noise follows instantly on a dog's bark...it'll shut up after a while, because it learns that its bark sets off this scary noise.

You get two pans & hide inside where the dog can't see you. As soon as it barks, give one hell of a bang. Just one.

If it barks again, another bang. I guess you'd have to tip off neighbours! The aim is for the dog to finally 'decide' not to bark again, rather than hear the scary sound. I wonder, though, if there's a brave dog that actually barks more and louder when it hears the bang! :)

I wouldn't try this because I know, at least with my dogs, that they would be just as likely to associate the loud/frightening noise with whatever it was they were barking at (eg. neighbours). Which would make it worse...

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mita   

That's why I posted the link to the Code in Victoria, persephone. So the OP can see what the process requires in her state. In regard to management strategies, the OP has said she's tried many management strategies to no avail. And is considering debarking.

That's not sufficient in Victoria.... the Code insists there also has to be evidence that the dog's barking is causing public nuisance.

Edited by mita

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mita   

I wouldn't try this because I know, at least with my dogs, that they would be just as likely to associate the loud/frightening noise with whatever it was they were barking at (eg. neighbours). Which would make it worse...

Yes, I agree that your dogs' response wouldn't be at all uncommon. I said a less intimidated dog might bark more and louder when it heard the clanging bang.

The US trainer who suggested it said that it took a little while for a dog to get the association. Even if it worked....I'd think the neighbours would be driven crazier by the sudden hell of a bang.

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One tip I read (but have never tried) was in a book on keeping dogs in apartments in US cities. Sounds a bit crazy.....but apparently if a frightening noise follows instantly on a dog's bark...it'll shut up after a while, because it learns that its bark sets off this scary noise.

You get two pans & hide inside where the dog can't see you. As soon as it barks, give one hell of a bang. Just one.

If it barks again, another bang. I guess you'd have to tip off neighbours! The aim is for the dog to finally 'decide' not to bark again, rather than hear the scary sound. I wonder, though, if there's a brave dog that actually barks more and louder when it hears the bang! :)

I wouldn't try this because I know, at least with my dogs, that they would be just as likely to associate the loud/frightening noise with whatever it was they were barking at (eg. neighbours). Which would make it worse...

Our dogs stop barking as soon as we put out the "big stick". Because one of them was chewing our front door when we were not home we had a sheet of plywood leaning against the wall. We then had a spare piece of the railing laying around and one day they were barking and wouldnt stop when we yelled at them so in frustration I hit the piece of dowling on the plywood and they immediately stopped. After a couple of times if this I only have to grab the dowl from next to the door and they stop upon seeing it. I might add that they have never been hit themselve, we just tap the piece of board and are actually standing about six metres away.

Our previous dogs were trained to stop barking by a method that Barkbusters use with small pieces of chain that you drop near them to create a noise. Some people drop them onto baking trays or other pieces of metal to make a larger noise. Similar idea just different way of making a noise. The dogs are not scared, they are just distracted from what they were barking at and forget all about it rather than go back and finish off the job.

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Erny   

Our previous dogs were trained to stop barking by a method that Barkbusters use with small pieces of chain that you drop near them to create a noise. Some people drop them onto baking trays or other pieces of metal to make a larger noise. Similar idea just different way of making a noise. The dogs are not scared, they are just distracted from what they were barking at and forget all about it rather than go back and finish off the job.

This method might work for some. It's the fall-out that is a concern and IMO is a risky way of trying to stop barking. It can result in dogs that become fearful/jumpy of sudden noise - whether they stop their barking (and even if they do, for how long and how reliably) as a result is another matter.

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I have debarked dogs in the past and in my opinion it is the best thing I could have done for them and I wish I had done it long before I did. I had spent years trying to keep them quiet via various methods with limited success and debarking allowed my dogs to be dogs without stress to me or the neighbours.

There are 2 ways to do it. One is an incision through the throat and they totally remove the voice box. The dog has no voice. I don't really like this. The 2nd one it they go down the throat and clip the vocals which results in voice softening, my preferred option. This way they still have a voice but the loudness is gone.

It was a very simple procedure, they came home and ate tea that night as per normal and it never caused me any issues at all. I would say it is very important that you get a vet experienced at doing it. It is a simple procedure but far more successful in the hands of the right vet. I personally travelled 8hrs each way to make sure it was done by an experienced vet. It can grow back and you may have to redo it but if you are able to keep her quiet for at least 48hrs it will stop scar tissue developing.

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My step grandmother in law is a registered breeder and she has de-barked some of her dogs. It is a much safer operation that I think it use to be. The dogs that have been de-barked still make a noise, but it is more like a small cough more than anything. I find it sad that they can't bark though.

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wuffles   

My step grandmother in law is a registered breeder and she has de-barked some of her dogs. It is a much safer operation that I think it use to be. The dogs that have been de-barked still make a noise, but it is more like a small cough more than anything. I find it sad that they can't bark though.

Can I ask why?

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Because they have never experienced the horror of a serial, continuous barker. I've only known one before and after debarked dog, and she is much happier dog after debarking. The stress of owning her has been relieved, and now her owners can focus on what a great dog she is.

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Cowanbree, may I ask were the dogs you've had debarked your Shelties? Not that breed matters, just that jeez my Sheltie can bark! I'm working on a citronella collar with him, it definitely stops the barking when it's on him but it also goes off when the other dogs bark and after only a week or so seems to radomly go off by itself sometimes so seems unfair and confusing for him...

I'm nowhere near contemplating debarking but the thing that concerns me most is an annoyed neighbour chucking poison into the yard or harming him in some other way if I can't get it under control, and quite frankly I'd rather he have a quiet raspy bark than be dead.

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