Why do dogs dislike postal workers?
As most of us know, dogs were once used for specific jobs. Breeds are a result of our wanting to use dogs for such jobs. Border collies herd sheep, Great Pyrenees watch over and guard their stock, rat terriers keep the farm and home free of disease-carrying rats, and several breeds–indeed, quite a few–were also bred to protect and guard. They have natural territorial tendencies.
For some dogs, these territorial tendencies come into play when someone like a postal worker makes a delivery to our home. Postal workers aren’t the only ones who may end up being “targeted” by our dogs–UPS or FedEx delivery people, or other visitors, can also be subject. They hear and/or see this person. They bark. They continue to bark and the person finishes the delivery, and continues on their route. Since the person left, the dog’s action of barking is reinforced–it worked in getting them to go away!
Besides being territorial, there can be other causes for why a dog may “dislike” a postal worker or delivery person. Sometimes it may be fear. Sometimes it’s just excitement, or frustration at not being able to meet the person. Whether it’s being a guarder/territorial, being too excited, fearful or frustrated, all would be addressed through behavior modification techniques to recondition the dog’s response to the delivery person/postal worker. A qualified trainer or behaviorist with experience in these techniques can adequately diagnose your dog’s particular response and formulate a treatment plan. Management techniques are also helpful to curb this behavior, so the dog isn’t continually being reinforced for the undesired behavior.
Dog behavior is complex, especially when it comes to issues of reactivity, such as this question poses. Therefore, we recommend a complete consultation from a professional if you are experiencing this issue in order to safely and adequately address it. Contact us if you have more questions or would like to schedule a consultation.
Thank you and happy training!
Owner, Delightful Doggies