While barking is never pleasant for anyone involved, what's the first solution that pops into your head? Is it figuring out the cause . . . or stopping the noisy problem? The debarking surgery has been around for decades — essentially severing the dog's vocal cords — but has fallen out of favor since the concept sounds cruel to many people.

Beyond less invasive citronella and electric collar techniques (which still get critiqued), the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that the surgery only be done "after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed." It's probably not easy to find a vet willing to perform this, but a recent New York Times article called it a useful option for owners facing noise complaints and possible eviction. Could you give this the green light?