Dogs and Mailmen – Why All the Hate?
Dogs and mailmen don’t seem to have a good relationship. Every time the mailman comes to deliver your mail, dogs usually start barking, running away, or even attacking him. Why is this?
Is it because dogs are territorial animals that feel threatened by strangers? Or is there something else going on here? Let’s find out!
Dogs and Mailmen – Why All the Hate?
Good dog, bad people. As a loyal companion to its keeper and guardian of the home, what is expected of your average canine? Some might say that barking at strangers who come near their territory goes without saying; others would never take such an aggressive stance with this issue.
Why does my dog hate the mailman so much?
If we look back on history for evidence though it quickly becomes clear how much our attitudes have changed: in medieval times dogs were often employed as guards by townspeople because they had been bred specifically to be vicious towards anyone coming too close.
The unfortunate recipients are typically mail carriers or any other service person just out doing his job-the last thing he needs when you’re trying time delivering packages is some overexcited pup running circles around him until all he can think about is how he’s going to get away from this situation unscathed.
The dogs are territorial and feel threatened by strangers, but there seems to be something else at play here as well-dogs have been known for hundreds of years now to serve man in a variety of capacities, so it’s not surprising that they would take on their duties protecting their territory from strangers, even if they’re just doing it for show.
In more recent times dogs have been bred to be friendlier and less aggressive; these days dogs are often seen as man’s best friends instead of his guards or hunting companions. But that doesn’t mean the attitude towards them has changed so much-they still need to be watched with dogs, and dogs still need to be kept away from the mail carrier.
Sadly, according to the Humane Society of the United States, dog bites account for five percent of all emergency room visits.
Is it normal for dogs to hate postal workers?
What happens from the canine point of view is this. Every time a mail carrier or delivery person comes, the dog barks and puts up a show of protecting its area. The person the dog is barking at drops off the package or puts the mail in the box and leaves. The dog thinks its behavior is what sent the person away. Simply put, the dog thinks it has driven off the intruder.
But the intruder is not gone for good. He’s coming back again and dogs are going to have to do it all over again, which they hate because dogs don’t like repetition.
Over time the dog becomes bolder and bolder, because often daily and sometimes several times in a day, it drives off the intruders it thinks are threatening their home. The dog wins.
Is it OK for a dog to bark at the mailman?
It is not OK for dogs to bark at the mailman. The dog has probably been barking and showing aggression towards the mail carrier since he started delivering your letters because dogs are territorial animals that feel threatened by strangers. They’re also very sensitive creatures who don’t like repetition; they will keep on doing it until someone makes them stop-unless of course they learn that the mailman is not a threat.
Dogs can’t understand human language and dogs are not humans, so it’s difficult for them to know the difference between a friendly person (like your friend) or someone who doesn’t mean them any harm like the postman-but you do! You have to be very clear with dogs that the postman is not a threat so they understand.
When dogs bark at them, some mail carriers get mad and start yelling back or even throw something to frighten the dog away-this will only make things worse, because it’ll only show your dogs how effective their barking strategy really is!
How can I get my Dog to love the mailman?
Think about how much we love our dogs. They’re always so happy to see us when they come home, and it’s the best feeling in the world knowing that your pup is protected from threats like burglars or package thieves! One way to keep them safe while you are away at work all day is by giving a treat as soon as someone comes over for deliveries.
Be sure not to feed treats during any other time of year- only give out one on delivery days because otherwise, this could teach your dog bad habits such as begging – which can be dangerous if there aren’t many people coming around with food (and also annoying!). It might even break their trust in you!?
Simply provide a box of treats or biscuits that is safely outside the yard the dog is in and ask the delivery folks to toss one into the dog.
They should never enter the area, especially if the dog has “won” for many years. The dog eventually sees the delivery person as something to look forward to and will view the visit in a positive light instead of a bad situation.
The owner, if home, can also work with this by breaking the behavior off with a diversion like snapping their fingers or clapping loudly. A toss of an empty plastic bottle in front of them might startle and stop barking immediately – so long as they give the dog plenty of praise! You have broken that bad habit for good.
Please keep in mind that it takes time to re-direct this energy and you should never test to see if the dog is safely over this. Primarily, you will be able to reduce the intensity of the dog’s protective behavior and help delivery people bring the packages to your door.
Never leave a dog where a delivery person has to come to put a package – that is just setting your dog up to bite someone. Depending on the laws in your community or area, your dog could end up being the real loser in this situation. We would hate to see that happen to you!
Other training articles you may find helpful:
- How to Stop Your Dog From Digging in the Garden
- Traditional Australian Shepherd Bad Habits and How to Fix Them
- 5 Of the Best Easy to Teach Dog Tricks
- 7 Ways to Bond With Your Pet