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Why Does My Dog Hate The Postman? A Pooch’s Point Of View!

Written by ADAPTIL Expert, published on June 18, 2024

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Hey there, human! Us dogs are fun, loveable creatures, right? Always up for belly rubs, playtime, and many, many, many treats. Yep, we can get along with just about everyone . . .

Everyone, that is, except people making deliveries. The moment the letterbox clatters with the morning’s post, I’m up in a shot. Bark bark bark! Know what I’m saying?

But exactly why do dogs hate postmen and women? Is it their scent? That they’re stepping into our territory? Or is it that they sometimes wear silly hats? Sit back, grab a treat – for me, not you – and let me explain exactly why I have a bone to pick with the postman.

Why Do Dogs Bark At Visitors?

So, the big question: why do dogs hate postmen and postwomen? Well, in truth, it’s not a personal grudge at all. If it wasn’t the postman or delivery driver, then I’d probably be barking at any visitor who comes knocking at the door.

 

 

Small dog approaching a parcel.

 

It’s not the postmen specifically then so much as what they represent when they approach our homes. For us dogs, our primary instinct is to protect our homes and our packs – and that includes you, dear human. So, when someone unfamiliar comes knocking, we’ll quite often take it as our cue to sound the alarm. Barking is not only a great first alert so you’re aware of the approaching threat, but also a noisy deterrent for warning these potential threats to keep away.

But Why The Postmen Specifically?

As for why we dogs bark at the postmen seemingly more than anyone else, it’s actually quite straightforward. Their visits are frequent and predictable, yet they never seem to properly join our pack. They come, they deliver, they leave – always a stranger, always a potential threat.

And when letters slide through the door, invading our space without a proper greeting? That makes no sense to me!

 

 

Dog watching through a window.

 

Now, for some of us dogs, this reaction may stem from past experiences - maybe we’ve had a scare with a stranger before and, being a nervous dog, are more prone to barking at visitors. Or perhaps the sight and sound of letters falling are just too much excitement to handle – you can’t deny that we find entertainment anywhere we can! And then there’s the aspect of habit – the postman comes, we bark, they go away. It’s only natural we take full responsibility, right?

Only, a nervous dog barking at the postman doesn’t really solve anything. In fact, quite the opposite: it’s noisy, disruptive, and can be more than a little intimidating for the poor delivery worker who is just trying to do their job.

But don’t worry too much, dear humans, for there are ways to smooth things over between us and our mail-carrying friends. Keep reading for a sniff at some effective strategies.

 

Dog coming through the front door.

 

Strategies For Managing Barking Behaviour

So, how do you stop dogs barking at visitors? Well, the key is to teach us that not every visitor is a threat:

  • Socialisation: Introduce us to different people in a controlled and positive manner. It’s always best to begin socialising us when we’re still puppies as this will help us to understand that not all strangers are bad. ADAPTIL Junior can be useful here, helping us to learn and adapt to our new world with natural appeasing pheromones.
  • Positive Associations: Use treats and praises to reward us dogs for calm behaviour when someone comes to the door. Over time, we’ll start to associate visitors as a positive rather than a cause for alarm.
  • Limit Our Access: Consider using a mail cage, a designated area for deliveries away from the front door, or put up a gate to prevent access to the door so we can’t even get close to begin with.
  • Distractions: If you know when the mail or other visitors usually arrive, try keeping us distracted with environmental enrichment. For example, put us in a room furthest from the front door, have music playing, and provide distractions such as activity feeders, chew toys, or simply play with us. ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser can also be a great tool for helping to build reassurance in this space.
  • Training: Using positive reinforcement techniques as encouragement, you could try teaching us to go to a specific spot or mat when the doorbell rings. This redirects our attention and energy and will hopefully prevent us dogs barking at the postman or other visitors.
  • Safety First: Always make sure we’re in a safe area where we can’t access the visitor before opening the door to avoid any unexpected confrontations or escapes.

 

Small dog standing outside front door.

 

It’s essential to understand the underlying reasons for our behaviour rather than punishing us for acting out. If you’re struggling to manage with our reactions to the postman or visitors, and are wondering how to calm us dogs down, it’s always best to reach out to a qualified behaviourist or dog trainer. They can help develop a plan tailored to our needs, ensuring both our safety and that of the visitors.

So, next time the doorbell rings and you see me getting ready to sound the alarm, remember that – at least in my eyes – I’m just doing my job as your loyal companion! With your help and a patient approach, I can learn to greet the day (and postman) with a wagging tail instead of a bark.

Is there more you’d like to learn about your dog and their behaviour? Get in touch for a chat!  We always love hearing about all things canine. If you’d like more information on ADAPTIL Calm and our other products, or are interested in reading more tips and guides, you can also stay informed by signing up to our newsletter.

Following our expert tips will help to ensure your bond with your dog goes from strength to strength.

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