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Dog vs. Mailman

Dogs and their hatred for postmen seems to be nearly universal

Our beagle likes to sit on the edge of the couch, stare out the window and bark at everything that goes by. Still, I can tell when our mail has arrived because Charlie’s barking reaches new heights of anger.

If I have learned anything from talking with so many dog owners around Del Ray, it’s that Charlie is far from alone in his hatred of the mailman.

, a tiny Chihuahua known by her owner as being a quiet couch buddy, saves almost all her anger for the mailman. Upon the postman’s arrival, Peanut will run back and forth from window to window, barking and growling until she has safely fended him off. She even gets angry when spotting his truck on walks.

, in general a sweetheart of a dog, one time got loose and grabbed the mailman’s bag. Baloo’s owner, Rebecca, even saw the postman tossing spare pieces of mail at Baloo hoping to keep fend the dog off.

Casey and Steve told me that their mailman is so scared of , a dog they say sleeps all day long, that he once stood outside their gate and shouted over to them, “I’d like to deliver your mail now.” But first he wanted to make sure the coast was clear. They have tried arming their postman with treats and even that hasn’t worked.

I have to admit, these stories are kind of funny to look back on. But dogs versus postmen is a serious issue. According to the United States Postal Service, about 3,000 mail carriers are attacked by dogs each year.

Clearly dogs have it in for the mailman. But why?

Agatha Christie’s famous Hercule Poirot offers an interesting explanation:

"The dog… he is intelligent. There are people who may enter a house and there are people who may not—that a dog soon learns… Who is the person who most persistently tries to gain admission, rattling on the door twice or three times a day—and who is never by any chance admitted? The postman. Clearly, then, an undersirable guest from the point of view of the master of the house."

Or perhaps the postman is just plainly seen as an intruder by dogs, like any stranger that walks up to the front door. Every day the dog barks trying to scare the mailman off, and every day he is successful. “If it wasn’t for me,” our beagle might be thinking, “this guy would have taken over my house by now. I’m a hero!”

Well, if that's true, he’s a dangerous hero who mailman can rest assured is kept safely behind closed doors where he can bark away while inflicting no wounds.

Adam Gerard April 26, 2011 at 06:07 PM
Maybe this means we need to buy our beagle more toys and treats via delivery!
Maurine Daniels April 26, 2011 at 06:28 PM
We just went through formal and expensive dog training or should I say people training...Our (3) BIG dogs wanted to "kill" the mail carriers every day if they could only get through the glass storm door...although I must admit that if they ever did get through they wouldn't want to have anything to do with the mail carrier, they would be too interested in marking whatever they could right away. One thing that we used to deter them and let them know that barking at a person at the door was not good, was that the dog trainer told us to fill an empty (rinsed out) soda can of any type with 40 pennies (yes, count out 40 of them). Slide the tab over the hole in the can so that the pennies stay in the can. Whenever they did anything that was not seen as appropriate, we "canned" them! We of course didn't throw it on them but next to them at the door. It makes a noise that they DO NOT like and they got the idea very quickly...took about 2 or 3 weeks of "canning" them. We really love our dogs and enjoy them even more now that they are a bit more under control. We even learned how to teach our dogs that we are walking them, not the other way around...I would highly recommend having your pets trained...I mean being people trained! ha ha
Denise April 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Our dog used to sleep right thru mail call. But then a neighbor's dog stayed with us for a week, and he taught our dog that the mailman was Enemy #1. They only get bad habits from each other, it couldn't have been the other way around.
Adam Gerard April 27, 2011 at 02:48 PM
They never seem to learn good habits from each other, do they?
Bettie Biehn April 29, 2011 at 05:57 PM
All of my dogs - 4 of them - have been city dogs, used to street noises, voices, etc.. Our current mail carrier always talks on his phone headset, so you can hear him coming from down the block......my dog hears him, lifts his head in acknowledgment and then goes back to sleep, barely noticing the mail when it comes through the slot! When I lived in Old Town our mail carrier put dog biscuits through the mail slot and won canine friends that way. And he talked to the dogs from outside of the town. We people call that building relationships or networking, but my mail carriers have turned this into an art. BB

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