What is it with Dogs and the Mailman?

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Our dog Tino had a love-hate relationship with our mail carrier in Pasadena. We lived on cul-de-sac on a road that ran along a bluff next to the Rose Bowl. We had mailboxes in front of our house and the mailman would deliver the mail out of his truck.

Pete, our mailman, would enter the cul-de-sac, drive down one side and then circle around and drive down the other. As soon as Tino heard that mail truck he would make a beeline to the corner of the yard closest to the mailbox. If he happened to be in the front yard, he would bark like a madman, running up and down along the fence. If he was inside, no matter where he was in the house, when he heard that truck, he’d race to the kitchen, plow through the dog door and run down to the corner of the yard.

Once he saw Pete next door, he would quiet down and stand at attention next to the fence…as quiet as a mouse. Why so good after barking like crazy? Because Pete gave out treats after he put our mail in the box. Tino would stand there like a gentlemen, get his treat and then as soon as Pete started moving his truck – off he’d go, back to wild dogs barking.

It was as predictable as clockwork. I felt so bad when we moved from Pasadena to our new home and we didn’t have a mailbox anymore – I think Tino really missed Pete.

But what is it with mailmen and dogs, why is there such a myth about their relationships? It’s all about territory and uniforms and dogs natural protective nature. An intruder is entering their territory they bark at it, intruder goes away. The behavior is rewarded everyday…like clockwork. We found this pretty good explanation of what’s up with dogs and the mailman:


Additional Resources:
Teach Your Dog to Respect Your Postal Carrier

Why Do Dogs Hate the Mailman and Delivery People


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mondaymischief   We are joining up with the Monday Mischief Blog Hop, hosted by Snoopy's Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog and My Brown Newfies  


  1. We gave up on barking because that guy in the brown suit comes so often and he leaves stuff for us, so we actually like him but don’t waste out time barking at him anymore!
    Emma recently posted…The Victim Of MischiefMy Profile

  2. Absolutely LOVED this…but…..We are on the second floor of an apt/condo complex and when the mail person comes Dakota usually doesn’t see he/she……..he STILL barks from the moment they enter the building until they leave……….it could be the same delivery person each and every day, (you would think he would get to know the familiar sound/scent), doesn’t matter…..he is crazed when the mail is delivered!!
    Caren Gittleman recently posted…Michigan Humane Holiday Greeting Cards Help Make Homeless Animals’ Wishes Come True!My Profile

  3. My Lab, Cash, simply LOVES the mailman! Nothing thrills him more than rushing out of the house to greet any car or truck when some one has to get out and come to the door. And no one has given him treats yet. He also jumps in UPS and Fed Ex trucks……

  4. hahaha! Interesting! Luckily our mailbox is no where near windows, or near the backyard where the dogs play!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Siberian husky success storiesMy Profile

  5. A friend of ours is a retired mailman, boy does he have some stories to tell.
    Mary recently posted…Torrey knows it snowed just for herMy Profile

  6. As apartment dwellers, Eko and Penny have zero associations with delivery people or doorbells. I wonder how they’ll take it when we’re ready to look for a house.

  7. Mauja and Atka love the mailman/anyone that comes to our door. Guard dog fail.
    It’s Dog or Nothing recently posted…The Adolescent MonsterMy Profile

  8. Misty the alpha Poodle has convinced the other dogs that the mailman is just boring so no one pays him any attention.
    jan recently posted…PETA refuses to comment on the report they stole and killed a beloved family petMy Profile

  9. LOL that meme is hilarious! Reminds me of Kilo all to well.

  10. Oh gosh, I feel bad for the mail carriers. A lot of them seem to love dogs and carry treats, but I know they still have to deal with some nasty dogs. I think most of them carry pepper spray, don’t they? Even if the dogs are usually friendly, the may not be so friendly to the mail carrier. The video summed it up pretty well.

    We have to walk a ways to get our mail, so Ace never even seems to hear the truck. He might bark once or twice when a Fed Ex or UPS person stops by though.
    Lindsay recently posted…Top 5 loose-leash walking mistakesMy Profile

  11. We rarely see the mailman since we have a really long driveway; though I distinctly remember the first time I met ours face to face – he was delivering a package at the top of our driveway and I went out to meet him; he was jamming out to the Lion King soundtrack. Quite an interesting fellow.
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…Why Some Dogs Have Spotted TonguesMy Profile

  12. Mr. N finds the mailman very suspicious but he usually is pretty good about not barking at him as long as we’re not right next to him.

  13. Harley has a similar fetish to your Tino as it is described to the inside behavior. He jets to the front door and barks like crazy. He loves our mailman, but he goes crazy over that white and blue truck. Crazy! Liked the video, the explanation makes perfect sense to me!

  14. You know, it’s kind of funny. I just accepted as an undeniable fact that my dogs would always bark at the mailman — yet I never questioned it. Your explanation makes perfect sense! It’s as simple as their behavior being rewarded! Thanks for de-mystifying it!

  15. When I first heard the reasoning behind why Choppy loved barking at the mailman, it made perfect sense. Now, if only I could effectively train her not to do so…
    Sarah recently posted…Dog Blog Challenge – Day 16: Choppy’s Favorite ActivityMy Profile

  16. Ours bark at anyone that drives into our yard, so our mailman is not alone! He also carries dog treats and when I used to walk Kobi we would often run into him on the street, and he’d stop and give Kobi a treat. Then Kobi thought every car that drove by us should stop and give him a treat! He never understood why they didn’t. 🙂
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    • I understand why that would be confusing…poor Kobi, he certainly deserved the treats!
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  17. Brown dawgs bark at all who enter their realm. Well two do. Thunder doesn’t bark. 🙂 At the cabin we take our trash to a transfer station (they don’t have curbside pickup). Storm used to bark her head off at the guy who takes the bags until she figured out he gave out cookies. Presto. No more barking. Cookies work wonders.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Baking Up Special Birthday TreatsMy Profile

  18. i bet tino did miss the mailman and the good treats. When I go to my post office i go inside and on the counter is a bowl with treats for the dogs that are in the car. Too sweet of them.
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