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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Help! My Dog Barks at the Mail Carrier

Michael Baugh CDBC, CPDT-KSA
Fences Save Mail Carriers
Dear Michael,

How do I stop my dog from barking at the Mail Person so I won't get yelled at every day when the mail is thrown on the lawn?
Dogs barking at the mailman (or postal carrier as they are called these days).  It’s probably the biggest cliché in the grand and celebrated history of dogs.  Of course, the thing about clichés is that they are rooted in truth.  Lots of dogs bark at postal carriers, and worse.  In fact, dogs bite postal carriers more than any other single demographic group.  It’s serious business.

That said, let’s get back to the cliché.  What better way to address a clichéd problem than with more clichés?

Good fences make good neighbors.  Please tell me your dog isn’t running free off-leash, outside a fence, harassing the postal carrier in the front yard.  I’m sure that’s not what’s happening, right?  Right…?  Postal carriers, like us dog trainers, don’t like to get bitten or “yelled at” by dogs.  It tends to make us yell back, and sometimes throw things – like your mail.  Let’s put a fence between those two warring parties, if at all possible.  It will help.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.  Dogs tend to get less upset about things that are farther away from them.  So, for example, it would help a great deal if your dog were behind a fence (see cliché above) in your back yard rather than the front.  That’s a greater distance from where the postal carrier delivers the mail, in an orderly manner we hope – not throwing it anymore.

Out of sight out of mind.  This cliché is my favorite.  Yes, some dogs bark at sounds but most don’t bark at what they can’t see.  If that fence around your back yard were solid rather than chain link, we’d be in great shape.  Postal carriers come and go in peace and the dog is none the wiser. Heck, we could throw in a FedEx delivery or two as well.  No problem.

Home is where the heart is.  Cliché number four is the gold standard.  Bring that dog in the house in a room away from the front door.  The postal carrier is well protected (cliché one), far away (cliché two) and nowhere to be seen (cliché three).  No one is yelling, least of all your dog, and the mail is delivered safely and neatly.

I wish you and your dog the very best of luck. And, I offer best wishes to your snow-rain-heat-gloom-of-night mail courier.  I think we have a good plan now to keep everyone safe and happy.

But, that’s just one man’s opinion.

Used with permission

Michael Baugh CDBC, CPDT-KSA is a writer and professional dog trainer.  He specializes in helping people with fearful and aggressive dogs in Houston, TX.

Michael's advice does not replace an actual consultation with a qualified trainerPhoto courtesy lupita.ala via

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Unknown said...

Haha! Those poor mail carriers though! My mailbox is at the front of my house, and my dogs are only ever out in the back yard. All fenced! So no worries here!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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