Why do dogs attack mail carriers? A Comprehensive Guide

Prevent Rehearsal of Behavior

If you missed the boat and failed to make your mailman the perfect representation of a friendly man, then you have some big homework to do. The first step is to prevent rehearsal of behavior. As mentioned, aggressive behavior is reinforcing and on top of that addicting and habitual. The more your dog rehearses the behavior, the more it will put roots. Stop letting your dog out to send the mailman away. Start keeping him in your home in the farthest room possible when you know it’s time for mail delivery.

Legal Issues With Dogs and Mail Carriers

Sure, the memes and gifs of dogs chasing mailmen are funny and viral, but the fact is, if a US Postal Service workers feels unsafe on your property, they have the right to interrupt your mail delivery.Â

Of course, you should get a notice from the USPS when this happens, but it’s important to take this seriously. If your dog threatens or injurs anyone on your property, you could be liable. Dog owners with aggressive or highly protective dogs should take precautions not to put themselves in a potential situation where someone might be injured (which can lead to lawsuits).

According to our research (including an article about dog bites and dog injuries on NOLO), unless someone trespasses on your property or deliberately provokes your dog (which might be hard to prove), you are responsible for injuries your dog causes. If a postal worker or delivery person comes onto your property and your dog bites them, barks at them, or scares them, you’re now the responsible party.Â

So, train your dogs to protect your property and take precautions to protect visitors — including delivery people — so you’re not that dog owner.

The Behavior Becomes Habitual

What happens when the dogs get to rehearse this behavior over and over? It’s become a habit. Dogs are habitual creatures overall and they engage in behaviors that work. If you combine the three issues mentioned above together, you’ll understand why the behavior of barking at the mailman becomes almost reflexive. Your dog doesnt seem to think twice about it; just the sight or the voice of the mailman is enough to send him in overdrive.

Mail carriers warn pet owners about consequences of dog attacks