Dogs bark at mailmen. Monkeys love bananas. And men watch football all Sunday. It is the natural order of life. No one asks why do Monkeys love bananas, they just do. But a dog barking at the mailman can be annoying. Why do dogs bark at the mailman?
Puppy Vs. Everyone
A puppy has only a few things on it’s mind. Food, play, and new environments. Dogs are hardwired by their ancestors to pay attention to their surroundings. Hundreds of years ago dogs knew they had to protect their territory and food was a limited commodity.
When a puppy hears a strange sound, and everything is strange, they pay attention. Most dogs will be afraid of what they see. At least at first. A squirrel in the backyard is an interesting new foe. A puppy will be curious and afraid. After a while, a puppy will let out a bark.
When a squirrel runs away, the puppy wants to chase. It only takes once for your puppy to always want to chase squirrels. To your dog, this is protecting their territory and food. This bravery is not born, but learned.
Mailmen are not special. A dog will first be afraid of a stranger. But after a while, your dog will let out a bark. After a bark, something interesting happens.
Why Dogs Bark at the Mailman
Dogs cower from a lightning storm or fireworks the first time they hear them. After a while, a dog will bark at the thunder and fireworks. This is because once your dog gets the courage to bark at the invading sky sound, it eventually goes away.
When a dog barks at a squirrel, the squirrel runs away. When a dog barks at the mailman, the mailman will eventually run away. This behavior is natural to all dogs.
The secondary reason is that the mailman presents excitement. When you are at work, or taking care of the house, your dog does not have a lot going on. At the same time, every day, your dog hears something suspicious. After a bark, the threat goes away.
The mailman brings new scents to the home. Suspicious scents that could be a threat. Your dog protects their territory and has a routine. Some dogs love mailmen. Even so, all dogs still bark at the mailman. This is because your dog is excited to see the mailman. These dogs love the new scent, the friendly pats, and the routine.
Why Do Dogs Bark at the Mailman
Why Do Dogs Bark at the Mailman? Easy. It is all they know. Instinctively your dog will eventually bark at the mailman. Every mailman will react to the bark. Some mailmen run away, while others greet the brave puppy.
The commonality is your dog will get a reaction. As long as a puppy receives a reaction, the behavior is validated. If the mailman runs from your dog, or your dog is aggressive, your dog is trying to protect their territory.
An excited dog fine. An aggressive dog is not. No one likes all the barking either. You can’t change the reaction of strangers, but you can help train your dog to stop.
How to Stop a Dog from Barking at the Mailman
Dogs will bark until they can assess the threat and get a reaction from what they are barking at. In the case of the mailman, your dog will bark until the mailman leaves or your dog accepts the mailman as a welcome guest.
Luckily for us, my husband is a mailman. He has a trick many smart mailmen use. They bring dog biscuits with them. Every dog they see outside will get a dog biscuit or treat. Aggressive dogs quickly become friends. The first time a dog is given a treat they are suspicious but stop barking.
The second time, the dog does not bark as much, and approaches with caution. Next time the dog barks out of excitement and anticipation. Your dog has a new routine, mailman brings a tasty treat and is a friend.
This is only less barking. The problem a dog will bark at the smell of mail and the sound of the mailman before your dog can determine it is a friend on the property. This is ever annoying for dogs in the house. You can tackle this problem with a couple easy solutions.
Let your dog see the mailman as soon as possible. A doggy door, letting your dog outside, or putting furniture near a window so your dog can see who is approaching will stop the barking. If your dog keeps barking, a single loud ‘No’ will stop the barking. Multiple ‘No’ reactions will encourage your dog, but one loud ‘No’ will do the trick.
A Whole New Puppy
Why Do Dogs Bark at the Mailman? Your dog has to. It is nature. Protecting your home and greeting friends is about the entirety of a dogs existence.
A puppy must bark at new sounds. After a positive reaction, the puppy must keep barking at the strange sound. A puppy will bark for attention or at friends, but that can be shut down will a firm ‘No’.
You do not want an aggressive puppy. Rewarding a puppy for alerting you to a threat or new friend is a great idea. As is letting your puppy see the potential threat and determine the mailman really is not a bad guy, but a friend.