A FedEx Van Parked on the Street

Why Does My Dog Hate Delivery Drivers?

When the local postal office worker or an Amazon delivery driver shows up to someone’s door with a package, the last thing they want is to be run off the property by an aggressive dog. The concept of “dogs that hate delivery drivers” is so well-known that it has become a common theme in movies and popular culture. In some cases, real life dogs do indeed have a less-than-harmonious relationship with local delivery drivers. We discuss why your dog may not be fond of delivery drivers and how that relationship can potentially be improved.

Why Your Dog Might Dislike Delivery Drivers

From a dog’s point of view, postal workers and delivery drivers are strangers that show up periodically, make lots of noise, and drop off strange-smelling packages. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that they treat delivery drivers as a type of intruder and react accordingly. Many dogs are likely attempting to protect their property, which prompts them to bark in an attempt to warn their owner of a potential intruder. Even though a delivery driver isn’t coming inside your home, they’re probably getting close enough to potentially alarm your dog. 

Dogs are also clever enough to realize that your regular postal worker or Amazon delivery driver repeats your house repeatedly. In an attempt to keep the “intruder” from coming back, your dog may bark louder and more aggressively every time the delivery driver shows up at your doorstep. However, some dogs may bark out of excitement when they see a mail van pull up, especially if the mailman regularly offers them a treat. Your dog’s barking may thus be misconstrued as aggressive, when in reality they’re just excited to see their friend!

It’s important to find out whether your dog’s reaction to parcel carriers is due to aggression, fear, excitement, or another emotion entirely. While your dog may normally love people and be harmless, delivery drivers are at a higher risk of dog bites than the average person. You don’t want your dog getting loose and chasing a delivery driver out of the neighborhood! The last thing you want is to be dealing with a costly delivery driver or UPS accident lawsuit.

How You Can Help Your Dog Behave Around Delivery Drivers

Training your dog to accept a delivery driver’s presence will make life easier for everyone. Your dog won’t be as stressed about packages being dropped off, you won’t be bothered by constant barking, and your delivery driver will be relieved to know that they aren’t about to be bit for simply doing their job. We’ve got some tips to help you train your dog to be on their best behavior when a package is due to arrive. 

Start Training Early

The best way to prevent unwanted behavior is to begin training your dog before bad habits set in. Once your pup gets it into their head that delivery drivers are scary home intruders, it’ll be much harder to train them not to bark as soon as a delivery van pulls up to your house. You can leave a doggie treat in your mailbox for your mailman or delivery drivers to offer your dog when they stop by. This creates a positive interaction between your dog and the parcel carrier. Chances are great that your dog will be excited when you receive mail or a delivery in the future!

Prevent Rehearsal of Behavior

If you were unable to redirect your dog’s behavior before it became problematic, there’s some work to be done. Aggressive behavior tends to be self-reinforcing — once your dog reacts negatively to a delivery driver once, they will likely respond to their continued presence with increasing aggression in an attempt to ward off the perceived threat. This can be particularly dangerous, as it puts the driver at risk of an eventual dog bite

You’ll need to work diligently to teach your dog that delivery drivers are not a threat. To do so, you can:

  • Ask delivery drivers or postal workers to drop off a tasty snack when they come by, so your dog begins to warm up to them
  • Distract your dog with verbal commands such as “sit,” “heel,” or “down” when the delivery van rolls up
  • Introduce your dog to the mail carrier, while making sure that you have firm control of their leash. If your dog shows signs of aggression, bring them inside immediately
  • Have a friend or neighbor pretend to be a delivery person and rattle the mailbox. Reward your dog with a treat for reacting calmly and not barking

Helping Your Dog Accept the Inevitability of Deliveries

With time, patience, and a bit of training, your dog and the neighborhood delivery drivers can become the best of friends. Be sure to begin training early and prioritize calm, controlled encounters so that your dog and parcel carriers are safe and comfortable. We hope that this article helps your home become a safe haven for delivery drivers!

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