OT Debarking A Dog To Keep It

11 Replies
kris A. - January 27

Hi everyone, got a problem and am curious what you all would do... We have a great Pyrenees dog, neutered male, one year old whom is the love of my 13 year daughter's life. He however, LOVES to bark. It is not a behavior problem, simply his breed. He barks continually all night on our farm - coyotes, squirrels, the rabbits, wind, snow, airplanes, stars... whatever. This used to aggravate me, and we have worked with him for the last 6 months and nothing works - not distraction, not putting him in a kennel, not putting a shock collar on him (which I hated, he'd bark, whine, then bark, whine, etc.) and now, with the added sleeplessness caused by the baby, I am literally being driven mad... I HAVE to get some sleep as I work long hours then cram my time in with the baby. It seems I get home, get the house taken care of, older kids homework and chores done, the baby fed and content, and lay down on the couch to snuggle with her and steal a couple hours with her on my chest from 8 - 10 pm when that dog BARKS AND BARKS AND BARKS. He'll bark for 5 minutes straight, then 15 minutes of quiet, then bark, ALL NIGHT LONG. Every night since her birth I have to get up at least 3 times to quiet the dog, only to buy a 15 minute reprieve until he decides to let me know the wind is blowing. Last night I almost went out and cracked the dog with a frying pan. Seriously. And I love this dog. He is gentle and noble and strong and protective, and the kindest gentle giant I have had the priveledge to own. But at 125 pounds, he has an INDUSTRIAL SIZE bark. He is not an indoor dog, and can't be, he loves being outside and does not like the heat or restrictions being inside means - he likes watching over his animals - that's what he was bred for, and loves it. I have reached the honest realization that I cannot keep on with this level of stress and noise. I have decided to debark him to keep him, because it really has come down to that. I felt like a drug dealer trying to ferret out what vet would do the procedure, and found a very experienced vet in my town that does many debarking operations weekly, mostly on guardian breeds like my boy. I made the appt for him next week - it's very expensive - but want so much to keep him... Am I being cruel to do this?


Shelly - January 27

I think (and I am the vice president of our Humane Society) that you are doing the right thing.I really don't like debarking,I've seen a doc_mantery about it,but in order of being able to keep him and give him a great home.....yeah...you should go for it!! He will be able to bark,but you can't hardly hear it.Let me know how his surgery went.And if you feel guilty start thinking about what would happen.....you would start hating him....find a home for him and who knows how they would take care of him.....and then your daughter....she would be sad to see him gone...I really think you are doing the right thing!


kris A. - January 27

Thank you so much for putting my mind more at ease ... I would sure miss his big dumb happy mug! :) Not the sharpest tool in the shed, that one, but we really love him.


C - January 27

Hi. I'm a former dog groomer (stay at home mom now) and have done some training and showing. I'm not at all a fan of debarking, but it's better than dumping him off at a shelter or what have you. Just keep in mind, he'll still bark. It won't be as loud, but it often is still annoying...a hoarse bark. Have you tried toys and treats? Do you have a kong (you can fill them with peanut b___ter, cheese, treats, etc) to keep him busy? Can you play/walk him to tire him out in the early evenings? I know you have a baby, if you can't, can anyone else? A tired dog sleeps, and pyrs need plenty of exercise. Can he come in just overnight? If he's barking for attention, making any contact with him just gives him what he's seeking. And, if it works, he'll do it again and again. I'm just throwing out some ideas off the top of my head.


mama-beans - January 27

Yes, a kennel inside, maybe in a mud room or garage, some place where he can be cooler yet won't be stimulated by wind, falling leafs, gra__s...... that is what I'd try first. The kennel will cost you, but you can get a wire one at most major pet stores for around $150. I would think, when all stimuli are gone, he would calm... but de-barking, ( while I hate the idea) is much better then abandoning him, if that is the alternative!!


SonyaM - January 27

I feel so bad for you. We HAD a dog who was very similar except we live in a neighborhood with a very small backyard so the neighbors could hear everytime she barked. She was an inside/outside dog and would bark no matter where she was. She also had other troubling behaviors such as getting in the trash, chewing up anything and everything she could get to, jumping on people, etc. In the end, we "gave" her to my sister in law and she is doing great there. We considered getting her debarked and would have it the other behaviors weren't there and if my sister in law wouldn't have taken her. You gotta do what you gotta do.


kris A. - January 27

Mamabeans - that is what we tried first when his night barks started... we have a large barn and had him in a stall with the lab, and he would bark until he went hoarse. And in that metal pole barn let me tell you about the echo - my neighbors put a stop to that...


FF - January 27

Hi, I don't really have a solution for you, I just wanted to let you know that I too have a huge dog who I love dearly. I'm sorry you are having to make such a difficult decision, especially in a sleep deprived state! :) Let us know how it goes, ok?


Shelly - January 27

Some breeds bark and there is really hardly anything you can do,it's in them.It is not only the breed but the area where you live.You mentioned you had coyotes in your area,there is NO WAY you will ever be able to teach him not to bark,he is defending your territory.I used to have a malamute when I lived in the country,howling every night with the coyotes,when I moved closer to the city she quit doing that,the only time she would howl was with the sirenes of an ambulance/'police car and thunderstorms.I think it is GREAT that you are willing to do this to be able to keep him.Most people wouldn't,thats the reason we get so many dogs/cats at the Humane Society.People don't care,you do....and I really have respect for you;....i am a great animal lover and I wish there would be more people like you!!!


No name - January 28

The American Humane a__sociation does not have a policy regarding debarking dogs; however, American Humane strongly discourages pet guardians from having this procedure performed. Debarking surgery does not result in a silent dog. The dog will still attempt to bark and will typically make a hoarse, raspy sound that can be equally annoying. Debarking surgery will also not alleviate the reason for the dog's barking. There are humane methods for training dogs to bark only when appropriate, and American Humane encourages people to look for obedience trainers or animal behaviorists to discuss training methods to help inhibit barking. Dogs have a fold of tissue on each side of the larynx which must tighten and vibrate to make a bark. Debarking surgery removes this tissue. After the operation, dogs have only a whispery bark, and most of the time both dogs and owners are quite happy with this. Unfortunately, some or all of the the bark comes back within a few months. Because we know how awful it would be to "debark" a person, many people think the operation is inhumane. Since the surgery is often unsatisfactory and because many people consider it cruel, veterinarians seldom suggest debarking as a solution to barking problems. I don't agree with the debarking, as I don't feel it's very humane. Could you look into getting the citronella collars that give off a smell when the dog starts to bark? I'm not sure of what the name is but you maybe able to google it. Anways, good luck to you in whatever decision you choose.


kris A. - January 28

Thanks everyone for your replies - no name - I appreciate your opinion as well - I dont consider debarking people and dogs even close to the same, as dogs do the vast majority of their communication by body language, my other two dogs rarely bark and are quite content. The hoarse, raspy bark would be just fine, Trigger's bark would knock you out of your chair right now - this is not a small dog or even large dog bark, It is a 125 pound INDUSTRIAL BARK. But I did talk to the vet and he said if scar tissue builds then it is possible for the bark to come back - but to avoid that I have to keep him from barking for 5 days as much as possible. (yeah, right) I made his appointment for Thursday, and will take Friday and Monday off and keep him with me for the entire time, including nighttime - which he will HATE... he truly hates being inside. I do not look forward to next weekend, but I do want to keep my boy. Thanks to everyone for responding, and I'll post a followup on this sometime early Feb, after his surgery and follow up. Have a good one!


shaylanrae - January 29

ooh i hope you dont. order a shock collar from cabellas. not the kind that automatically shock when they bark, but the kind you control. dogs bark for good reasons sometimes. intruders in your house, for an example. you need to lay down the law. any dog can be trained. watch the dog whisperer on animal planet. he works wonders. you just have to lay down the law, and shock until it stops. it doesnt hurt them, just irritates their skin. my mom breeds dogs and trains them, and she learned from other dog breeders/trainers. in fact, these people she learned from have had many championship dogs come out of it... a bark is a dogs personality. there are other ways... send him to a dog school first.. anything..



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