How To Stop Dog Barking At The Mailman

How To Stop Dog Barking At The Mailman – Anger Why do dogs hate the postman? Psychological reasons explain the enmity between dogs and postmen.

At the end of a beginner’s dog obedience class at our club, a tall woman with a blonde cocker spaniel on a hook approached me with a worried expression on her face. “We have a problem with Ember (the dog) because she hates the postman. She becomes more and more aggressive towards him. When he came to deliver the mail a few days ago, she ran to the front door. She barked and growled the whole way, then the door slams. He hit it so hard that the middle pane of glass cracked. My husband is trying to find a way to protect the glass so he doesn’t break it in the future. , but he’s also worried about what will happen when he gets out because he acts like he really wants to bite our postman. Why is he against her? Do you have any idea he created such animosity? Did he do something to her or threaten her?”

How To Stop Dog Barking At The Mailman

The eared dog rubbed me and wagged his little stubby tail. It was very difficult for me to imagine that this animal would behave aggressively towards anything. Unfortunately I know the statistics and they show that thousands of postal workers are attacked by dogs every year. So what’s going on here?

Why Do Dogs Seem To Hate The Postman?

Part of the problem is that dogs are doing one of the things they were originally trained to do. With wild dogs, it was rare for someone visiting their territory to be there for a friendly social visit. Therefore, these wild dogs will respond to such intruders with loud barks, growls, and even outright aggression to protect themselves or their mates, offspring, or food supplies, and if necessary chase the intruder out of their territory.

Then the first people appeared on the stage. People were good hunters but could not maintain sanitary conditions. This meant that the unwanted parts of the animal they killed (bones, entrails, rags and skins) were thrown onto the rubbish heap outside the village or camp. Wild dogs (mostly wolves) saw all this wasted food they could get without the actual threat of prey. So they started going through human settlements to take advantage of this free buffet. After a while, these wild ancestors of our dogs began to consider the surroundings of human settlements as part of their territory, and therefore they made noise when a stranger or a wild animal approached the village. This greatly improved the safety of these early human communities as it served as an early warning of potential troubles.

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Some of these early people argued that if dogs could act as an effective alert system for a potential threat to the village, having one in their home could serve as a personal alert system. Residence. Some sort of biological intruder alarm if the attacker had hostile intentions, and a bodyguard or biological doorbell if the person was a friend. Apparently, this was one of the motivations for domesticating dogs in the first place. Therefore, it was important that dogs retain their desire to defend their territory even after domestication.

For a dog, anyone who shows up at your door, whether it’s the postman, the UPS driver, or the Chinese takeaway or pizza delivery man, can be trespassing on its territory in any way. It makes sense that this would trigger their defense mechanism in a dog as it is one of the reasons we choose to keep them in the first place.

Why Do Dogs Bark At The Mailman?

Now some simple psychological mechanisms come into play that can turn this instinctively territorial response into an antagonistic and aggressive response toward the person delivering the mail to your door. You see, the postman comes, the dog defends himself and the postman goes. In other words, according to the dog, he was trying to defend his territory and it worked. This is an effective reward, and since any behavior that is rewarded tends to be stronger, it means the dog is more likely to respond in this defensive manner when the postman or other delivery person arrives. In addition, any hint associated with the arrival of such “invaders”, such as their uniforms, carrying something in their hands, or even the sight and sound of vehicles trigger this defensive behavior.

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But there is a problem. Although he feels in the dog’s mind that he’s won and chased off the intruder, defeated the villain, or eliminated the potential threat, it doesn’t end there. You see, the intruder keeps coming. The attacker will be chased away but may reappear the next day, indicating the dog’s aggressive behavior is not strong enough. So the dog feels that the only answer is to reinforce its reaction. The barking gets stronger and more persistent, and soon it mixes with grunts and grunts, and eventually with lunges and attempts to bite the intruder. The constant reappearance of this attacker must be accompanied by a series of negative emotions. Eventually, distrust of the stranger turns into open antagonism and maybe even hatred towards everyone who comes to your door.

Even today it makes sense to have a dog that will warn you when someone is approaching. However, it is neither safe nor comfortable for a dog to become ballistic and behave aggressively. I’ve solved the problem with my dogs quite simply by working with people who come to visit me or who I can open the door to talk to. I have a short belt by the door, along with a plastic container of some food. When the dog barks at the door, I give him soft praise and say, “Good dog! Good watch!” I tell him to sit down and I will tie his leash and feed him. Then, with the dog at my side, I open the door and explain to the person there, “I’m trying to teach my dog ​​to say hello politely.” Then I give them a treat and tell them to offer it to my dog. This is usually enough for us to go about our business later while the dog remains calmly under control.

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This can help reduce the level of animosity between the postmen and your dog if you are there most mail delivery days. If the dog is safe behind closed doors, there is hardly any danger for the postman. If you can tolerate the noise and antagonistic behavior, there is no problem as long as the dog is safe in your home. However, this leaves you constantly worried about what might happen if the dog gets out while the postman is around.

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It may interest you that a few years ago I contacted the Canadian Postal Service because postmen were often attacked or threatened by dogs. The problem is of course not the dogs that are safe behind the gate, but the dogs that are kept behind the gate, perhaps in the front yard where the path to the front door and the mailbox are. In such situations, food and soft words (especially when supported by the dog owner) can be used to greatly reduce the level of aggression between postal workers and dogs. At that meeting, I mentioned a few ways to help. My suggestions were well received by the participants and there was a lively question and answer session.

A year or two later I was invited again to speak with some postal workers and some union officials about a report listing the number of dog bites by mail carriers. On arrival I was surprised to find that none of the recommendations I had made on my previous visit had been followed. I asked the management representative why he didn’t know, and he replied, “The methods you’re proposing take time and slow down the mail delivery schedule because every postman has to interact with every dog ​​on his route.” That is impractical.”

I then asked the union representative who attended my first speech if he had any further information as to why my recommendations had not been followed.