I DO NOT recommend this old fashioned surgery for Shelties. Here's why...
Years ago, I had gone to my vet to have several of my guys undergo the surgery. I had never had the procedure done before and so I relied on his expertise on how it should be done. He was quite insistent total removal of the vocal cords was the only effective means.
The reason for the surgery was, unfortunately due to a neighbor that complained about my dogs barking. I had 30 days to solve the problem. You can't train multiple dogs in that short a time to keep quiet, much as I'd like to think it possible.
Afterwards, I was quite horrified at the results. I would caution any of you out there to avoid this surgery at any cost. This is not the ramblings of someone who has only read about it and made a judgement on second hand experience. (Which by the way is what you can usually find on the internet.... people with an opinion about something they have never witnessed).
First, the procedure is expensive and rather lengthy. 20 years ago it was about $500.
Secondly the surgery requires an incision at the trachea (the front of the throat) so FULL removal of the vocal cords can be achieved. Once the vocal cords are removed, there is absolutely NO SOUND coming from your pup.
That means, your Sheltie could come to some harm or have a painful experience and you would hear absolutely nothing. It is truly spooky hearing nothing from your buddy. For some unknown reason, I expected to hear at least a whisper coming from them.
Nothing, Ziltch, Nada.
Imagine accidently closing the door on your dog's paw and not hearing anything to alert you to to his pain. YIKES!
They don’t appear to realize they are not making any noise and don’t seem emotionally distressed by it, but I assure you, you will feel that way.
Further, the recuperation time is pretty long. I seem to recall it was at least 6 months for recovery. This time period was punctuated by lots of coughing, gagging and bringing up sputum. That, I am pretty sure would be annoying to your pup as well as disturbing to you
While your neighbors may be happy with the subsequent silence and the dogs eventually do adjust, I can’t say it justifies something like this. Bark-Softening however, is a completely different matter that I recommend.