Why Do Dogs Hate the Mailman and Delivery People

by The Pet Care Guy on May 19, 2009

Many of our dogwalking and petsitting clients have asked us why their dog always barks at the mailman, delivery people, and others who come to the door. It’s as if it’s in the doggie union that all dogs MUST bark at these strangers at the door or they get kicked out of the union.

It’s quite simple, really. Your home is also your dog’s home. And even if your dog can see the mailman, you might think he would recognize him. But instead, your dog goes into attack mode and fiercly defends his territory.

Well, that’s the answer right there. Your dog instinctively wants to defend his territory when he sees the stranger coming. The mailman or delivery person, doing their job simply comes and goes in a matter of seconds. To your dog, this means that his threatening behavior worked to rid his territory of the intruder.

So, the next time the mailman or a stranger comes to the door, the dog recalls that his tactics worked the first time, so he does it again. And, lo and behold, the stranger leaves again. Your dog learns over and over that whenever he barks at these strangers that come to the door, they quickly leave. If you do not step in and correct this behavior, it just continues. And of course, the deliveries come when you are at work, so your dog is free to defend his territory at will and how he sees fit.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

dog obedience September 29, 2010 at 10:16 pm

My dogs go nuts when the mailman comes. Drives me nuts too! Sending this to my friends! Thanks Rick!

Denise in Florida

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Buppy April 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm

i dont understand this b.c if my dog is out side and sees someone she instandly runs up to them and rolls over to pet them even if they come no where near our front step.. its only the mail man.. and the mail man is a nice guy. he said he talked to her and she stopped barking and as soon as he goes to leave she barks again.. but she doesnt do that with anyone who opens the gate and goes to the door she rolls over and waits and wags her tail..is it b.c she cant get close to get petted or does she just not like his smell? or is it just a behavior that she had learned as a puppy?

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Luna December 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

I would guess that she is simply trying to get hi s attention to get her to pet him. There is a dog during my neighborhood that behaves similarly. When she is outside on her tie out and not indoors, if she sees me she will bark at me endlessly until I come over to pet her. If I sit with her and pet her for a few minutes, she’ll happily and quietly watch me leave. If I don’t, she’ll continue to bark for my attention until I’m out of sight. So I would suspect your dog is just barking at him to seek attention.

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Matt April 8, 2015 at 1:42 pm

I was at The Vet office with my dog and she never got upset at anyone coming through the door. People came in with dogs and cats, she was curious and playful. Then The Vet’s mailman came through the door, my dog went nuts. Barked and tried to attack. She did not know this mailman. We were not in her territory. I am sure other people have noticed this with their dog, while outside of their house. Something specific about a mailman makes a dog upset.

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