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Archived Message

debarking a Maltese?

by Jay

"What do you think about bark removal. I just came from the dog show and so many of the dogs have had this done. Just wanted another opinion."-I was emailed this message today. I replied with the following:

I feel that "debarking" is for the convenience of the owner who possibly has too many dogs in an area that is not zoned for dogs or breeding or areas where no dogs are permitted. It is another selfish way for some to breed dogs without proper licensing. It is much easier to "hide" a dog that can not bark, or only makes a muffled sad noise. It serves no value to the dog. It is inhumane. The Maltese has such a small windpipe to begin with, adhesions formed after the vocal cord surgery only narrows the air passageways, making it difficult for necessary surgery in the future, and is unhealthy to a breed in which "reverse sneezing" is already a problem. That is my opinion -- what do you think?


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

I think debarking is inhumane and wouldn't dream of doing to my dogs. You can teach them not to bark when you want them to be quiet.

I may be wrong, but, don't some breeds have a proclivity for barking all the time? I like a barker because I have a hearing loss, and even with a hearing aid, sometimes I don't hear the doorbell. However, my Max always lets me know when someone is at the door, or for that matter within 10 feet of the house. I feel de-barking is inhumane also.

It was me guys. Sorry.....I did not think about that, and I should have with all of the surgery I have had. The dogs that I saw done were yorkies. I guess I won't consider this but do the bark teaching. It really was inconsiderate on my part and totally lazy of me to think of. I live on two acres and was just thinking of myself and not my babies. Thanks for the honest opinion and slapping me to my senses. I really do appreciate the honesty here.
-Marsha A.

Jay, I agree with you 100% debarking does narrow the passage with adhesions and can cause major complications later on. No way would risk one of my little ones just to tone a bit of noise.

I always thought the debarking procedure was at minimum a mean-spirited way to deal with barking, being sure that I (who talk lots and lots) wouldn't be thrilled if a dog had me similarly "fixed." I am wonder though if anyone has tried the bark stoppers that are advertised in Drs. Foster/Smith--the kind that make a high-pitched sound when the dog barks (not the electric shock collars, which I also can' t get into). As an aside--this morning when Carty the barker dog was doing his thing at a passing dog while I was having breakfast, I put my hand down to pet him, thinking to calm him down and he turned around and bit me--thought that "barking dogs don't bite," so was quite surprised. It seemed like a reflex action to me, not a meant to hurt behavior, but worrisome nonetheless. Has anyone else ever had their dog bite them in these circumstances?
-cathy brown

When my two males are "faceing off" they sometimes go a step farther and start to fight. In breaking up the disagreement, I have had an occasional bite. Their minds are just somewhere else and they bite before they think. I know that it would never be intentional, as I don't think yours was either. Next time try getting his attention verbally before touching him.
-Marsha A.

Thanks Marsha--what a good suggestion. Next time I will chat before I pat. It just never occurred to me that he was in his raging male adrenelin phase and in his mind, at least, locked in combat with another pooch.
-cathy brown

I have three words to say on this topic, "DON'T DO IT!!!!!" I had a wonderful male that was sent to a handler. The handler had the dog de-barked and it was done incorrectly. THE DOG DIED!!!! Nothing is worth risking the life of your dog!
-Andrea Noel Snoel Maltese

I got Fergie one of the sound collars when he was barking all the time and it did not work. If would go off when he sould run, shake his head or even when he was chewing on his toys! I found that the pennies in the can work best. As far as debarking goes, I agree with Jay, it's just being lazy at the dogs expense.

Jessica, thanks for the input on the citronella collar. I will give that a try in addition to some behavior mod techniques. My new barker baby is making himself extremely unpopular with folks around here, to say nothing of their "perfect, well-behaved" dogs.
-cathy brown

Oddly enough, we have two (that I know of so far) breeders of Maltese just in our section of our street. From what I understand, in both cases, neighbors complained to our Homeowner's Association to the point where they had to have them de-barked. I don't know either well enough to ask whether these were all outside dogs--but I just find it hard to believe. I think it's so unfair to the dog. Especially here, I wouldn't dare leave my little one out, due to coyotes in the area. And I don't think anyone will complain about our dogs barking in the house, and I'd do anything to keep them from going through that!

We have had Maltese for about 25 years, sometimes 2 or 3, sometimes more. Right now we have 7. One is visiting and one is a new baby, so only 5 are permanent residents. I always found that there seems to be one or two who bark more than the others, I guess they are the designated barkers, unless it is something really important, in which case, they all join in. The Maltese does seem to love to bark dont they. This Spring I bought one of those bark activated alarms that you set up near the dogs area and it goes off when they bark. It does seem to work most of the time. I hear it go off once in awhile, but I dont hear any barks after, unless they are very quiet ones that dont set it off, so I think they do know they are doing it, and sometimes they give it the dirtiest looks. It is hooked to the fence. They can still bark on the other side of the house, away from us and the neighbors, and they do once in awhile, so they do get their barks out when they really need to. I tried one of the collars that vibrate, and on the older, and I might add, smarter dog, she didnt bark when she had it on so I think she knew it had something to do with that activity, and the younger, 6 months, who loves to hear himself talk, was so startled by it that he yelped, and that set it off, and he yelped again, and that set it off again, so it was a scary thing for him, so I use it only on one that it having a bad bark day, and old enough not to be frightened by it. We live in a rural enough area that we can have this number of dogs and they all live in the house with us in their condo at nite, so it doesnt bother the neighbors to much. They have four kids so we dont complain about each other, we just try to keep it down as much as possible. We did live in base housing overseas at one time, with two maltese, and you can hear every noise made, but the dogs we had at that time were quiet, so I dont remember it being a large problem. You just have to find out what works for each dog, and even that can change at different ages in their lives. Sorry to be so long winded here, I guess my barkers come by it naturally.

A few years ago our dog had a really bad problem with barking, so much so that the neighbors were complaing about it non-stop, not that we weren't trying our best to stop her, because we were. My parents heard about the de-barking procedure, and were thinking about getting it done to our dog, but I wouldn't let them, I think that it is an incredibly cruel procedure. Anyway, we went to a dog show a few weeks later and meet some people there. They had entered one of their dogs in the show, and braught their other dogs with them, who had been de-barked, and let me tell you, those dogs were making the most awfull sounds!! After that my parent realized that de-barking dogs does not help at all. So we didn't have her de-barked, and with time, our dog has learned not to bark all the time. So if you have a dog that has a problem with barking too much, just give it some time. Trust me, you won't regret it!!

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