Devocalization is just as it reads – altering the vocalization of something. In this article that something is a dog. Surgically altering a dog’s vocal chords is a procedure to reduce the volume of a dog’s bark. That is the intention of a dog owner. It does not work out as planned and often makes the dog a more frequent barker, albeit the volume is lower.
Dogs use their bark as a warning system. It can mean fear, it can be used to intimidate a perceived threat to the human family, or keep something higher on the food chain away from livestock. Nature designed dogs to be early warning systems. Taking away their way to communicate can change their behavior in a negative way, but will most certainly change the very essence of their assignment as a part of the universe.
Altering your dog is most often done because of complaints from neighbors and people may be given the choice to either cut the chords or ditch the dog. The dog parent takes the option that will allow them to keep their baby. This is a sad and inappropriate way to deal with barking. It will probably lead to more barking because the dog’s anxiety and stress levels will increase as a result of being unable to share in his language. And do not be misled nor mistaken, ALTERING A DOG’S CHORDS WILL NOT SILENCE YOUR DOG. As a matter of interest, this author lives in a townhouse complex which ordered an owner to alter her dogs or move. The dogs bark constantly, especially on their late night walks. They can still be heard and in their desperation to communicate, bark consistently, and without relent. Their struggles can be inferred from the obvious desperation to be heard.
It is a natural, inherently primal instinct for a dog to bark. You can’t take the bark out of them. You can cruelly soften it via surgery, only to find it is a lot of post-op pain and results in a dog that has been stripped of what nature gifted him. Instead of a surgery that is unnecessary and painful, try one or more of the following:
- If you have an outside dog, make sure to bring him or her in often and make your pet a part of your family. Nothing stresses a dog more than loneliness.
- Contact your local shelter or your veterinarian to find a trainer specializing in barking issues. Re-training the dog’s brain can help.
- If your complex has ordered you to de-bark your dog, then get an attorney or move. Your dog should not have to suffer for a zip code.
- Never use hitting nor shock collars as mechanisms for training your dog. If you are not setting yourself up as alpha, which is on you, not the dog.
There are many resources to help with these issues. We often, as flawed, busy, and over-extended humans put our woes on our pets. In this instance, the surgery benefits neither dog nor human. Certainly, you will forget much sooner than your dog.