Teach Your Dog to Stop Barking at the Mailman

Dog and mail carrier
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Give your dog plenty of treats and praise when the mail carrier comes to your door, so she'll have a positive experience with the carrier.

You may enjoy it when the mail carrier stops by (sometimes he comes bearing fun things like new shoes!), but your dog might be less enthused about his visit… and if she is, she may let you know with a bark or two — or five.

Barking is a way for your dog to express her emotions, and there are many reasons why your dog may bark at your mail carrier. She may be fearful or frustrated that there’s an intruder on her property, and she may think her barking is scaring the carrier away, since he comes and goes before she’s able to calm down and get to know him as a friend, Vetstreet trainer Mikkel Becker says. She could also be scared of the delivery uniform, or she could be frustrated that she can’t go up to your carrier and greet him properly.

So in honor of Thank Your Mail Carrier Day, we’re sharing some tips to help get your dog to stop barking at the mailman (as well as anyone else who may deliver packages to your door).

Don’t yell at or punish your pup when she barks.

If your dog barks at the mail carrier or delivery person, don’t yell at her to stop — she’s likely to think you’re just barking along with her. And, Becker says, don’t punish your dog for barking. She may start to associate punishment, which can often increase anxiety and lead to aggression, with someone coming to the door.

Create a positive association with your mail carrier.

If you’re out for a walk or in front of your home and see your mail carrier or delivery person coming, it’s a perfect opportunity to train and reward your dog for good behavior. Practice things like sitting, heeling and lying down. Reward your dog with a treat for a job well done, so she’ll have a positive experience near the carrier, as opposed to feeling anxious or fearful when he is around. But think safety first, Becker says. Make sure you have a restraint or barrier in place, like a leash or fence.

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