Apparently banding the tails is quite accepted practice. There's special tools and techniques and some breeders do it themselves because they can get the correct tails that way. Quite often vets don't know how to do a proper dock, and if the dog is to be shown then it needs a second docking (which is an amputation) at the same time ears are done.
My Dobie friend tells me it is completely painless, clean, and efficient as long as it's done by someone who knows what they're doing, and it's done at the right age, not too young.
I'm just repeating what she told me, she sent me some sites and info.
Just FIY on banding, not necessarily cruel or just to save money.
Cooper The WonderDog
Daphne The Destructo-Rott