Friday, January 12, 2007

Barking On Silence

Jack Russell Terrier
This is just a thought... a suspicion, maybe.

I am not judging or have a place to say this. I may be jumping the gun here or just mistaken, but just want to satisfy my curiosity... and guilt too, if this becomes true.

You see, everyday when I go to work, I take the stairs down instead of the lift. Everyday, I will pass by my 3rd floor neighbour's front door which is in near the staircase.

Almost everyday, I will pass their opened main door, but with the metal gate closed, as they also prepare to go out for work. And almost everyday, their dog will be there to ward-off passers-by with its loud and vicious-sounding barks.

Almost everyday, I will face this barkings, but no matter how many times I get the warning barks, I still cannot get use to being startled by it.

Worst times are when you thought the dog was not there, but it suddenly ambushed you by running and barking towards the front door out of nowhere! It freaked me out several times and several times I would retort spontaneously "Oh My God!" and once regained my composure with "stupid dog!" or something.

The owner may have heard my remarks thought. I am sorry, but that was my honest reaction to these "morning ritual" ambushes.

The Downstairs Neighbour
I had almost been attacked by this dog twice before. Once when I was coming back from home and somehow the owner was too. He opened the door and the dog dashed out and climbed up the stairs to attack me.

My natural reaction was to swing my bag at it as a "weapon." The dog retreated back to its owner when he called it back sternly. The owner did not apologize, although the dog "invaded my territory."

Another time was when they were at their front door going out as a family. The dog was out at the corridor too. When I climbed down the stairs, the dog suddenly came up to attack me.

Same thing again. It retreated when the owner called out to it sternly. I was not able to climb down the stairs as it kept barking at the corridor without a leash. I would definitely be attacked if I advanced further.

I had to actually tell the family to restrain their dog before I could go on my way. They did, but no apology as expected... they did not even look at you to acknowledge. Snobbish neighbours, but I have no qualms with them.

My experiences with the dog is not quite unique to me alone. Wifey had her fair share of surprises too. I also heard surprised screams and startled curses from other neighbours who use the stairs when I leave my front door opened on weekends.

Barking TerrSo! After that lengthy background, I experienced something different and puzzling this morning...

When I saw the dog at its front door after several days of no show or ambush, it had its neck bandaged, and it was not barking or jumping up and down.

The sight made me curious, restless even... with unpleasant thoughts during my journey to work.

I am suspecting either the dog is sick, or had gone through a miraculous behaviour modification through a crash-course at obedience school, or worse... had been devocalized!

Please let it not be the last one!

I cannot help but feel that it is inhumane to do such a thing to a pet!

Like I said before, I may be mistaken and jumping the gun here. I hope I am. I would rather have the dog go through an obedience school to stop the neighbours from complaining of its incessant loud barks and attacks.

I will feel guilty if I was a part of the decision made by the owner to "silence" their dog permanently.

Maybe it is just my wild suspicion. Hopefully.

I think I should give it several more encounters with the dog and also see if there are any barkings during the weekends as usual.

Wonder if this is the best route to go?

7 comments:

  1. Hmmm, that's a tough one. I guess there's nothing to do but wait and see. There are alternatives; I saw a dog with a "silencer collar" on one time. Somehow it miraculously makes the dog's bark sound as if it's coming from a mile away rather than right in front of you- it's uncanny. There aren't any shocks or anything involved- it's humane. I would agree that the vocal surgery seems cruel (but then, I think de-clawing cats is cruel and many other things that other people don't think are cruel!)
    I always have fun reading your posts- you have a knack for making everyday stuff sound....enlightened.

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  2. You may be right about the debarking Imran. My brother and his wife breed Shelties and the ones they keep they debark. When I visit, I do not say anything but I think it kind of odd that they do not take the time to give them obedience classes. Maybe they have not the time. Maybe many other of your neighbors have complained about the attack dog too. Sometimes pet owners can be so inconsiderate. Don't feel guilty. Enjoy the no barking zone.

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  3. Dogs are cool, if you know them. I was chased by a many a dog in my childhood.

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  4. Imran,
    I have never heard of debarking but it still doesn't prevent the dog from biting.

    Time will tell...

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  5. I think nothing's wrong with the dog. Of course his behavior was unexcusable but don't you think it was the owner's behavior for not trying to train their dog? I believe that people who owns a dog should be responsible for training his/her dog.
    Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Imran, you have a kind heart for this animal even though he is a threatening and annoying presence in your daily life. A dog can be trained not to bark, but it can take a lot of time and work to do this. I sure hope the dog did not have surgery. If he did, when he's feeling better, he'll try to bark but no sound will come out. Right now he's probably recovering from anaesthetic if he did have surgery. That can take a few days. Our neighbours had a debarked dog who they rescued from the shelter. I guess the previous owner de-barked it than abandoned it. It was awful to see the dog trying to bark and making no sound. Let's cross our fingers that things turn out okay with this dog.
    mp

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  7. Gosh...de-barking...I never knew it existed.

    As a dog lover and owner, I truly hope that the dog has not had to have surgery...however, the owners are irresponsible here.

    I am lucky that my breed of dog, a whippet (racing breed) seldom barks...but a barking dog can be quite intimidating. On our street every night, several of the dogs have an evening barking choir!!! We have grown quite used to it now.

    I know of a whistle that can be bought, that when blown can only be heard by the dog and calms the barking without harming the animal.

    Your post has got me thinking about the human aspect of this...de-voicing a person...hmmm.
    I suppose this does happen in our world but without the use of surgery, in more subtle ways but still with the end result.

    I think this de-barking surgery is cruel, as every living animal relies on communication of some sort.

    Someone advised me to have my ferrets scent glands removed to alleviate the smell...''certainly not I said, and by the way, you don't smell too fresh today''. I rest my case.
    Thanks for this interesting talking point Imran.
    Smiles.

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Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger