All the Dogs Want to Kill Me

Pictures taken while carrying mail in San Diego using one-time use, 400 ISO, 35 mm film (disposable, Rite Aid)

On the first day of training we watch an hour-long video about dogs and reading their language.

The mailman/dog relationship is no lie. It’s like they can smell it on you, a scent that triggers their hunting instinct. But the owners are worse. Opposite of owners who talk to their pets in baby voice are the ones who scold their pets as if they were aristocratic children.

"He won't bite you, but he will lick you to death," - Every dog owner.


Through the mail slot.

222 thoughts on “All the Dogs Want to Kill Me

    1. Actually, our dogs have always LOVED the mailman (in our case….the mail lady). I’m sure all dogs do not feel the same….one of our current two dogs, will pull towards any mail truck we come across while walking–she knows the
      mail lady gives treats–and they love them and her!!! Have you tried “treats”??

      1. why should the mail lady PAY for treats?? ….keep ur dog behind the gate and away from the front door for when she rings the bell for a signature, those critters love to run out and nail the ankle. Just be considerate and keep your Dog AWAY from the mail-lady. In this economiy, who can pay for ALL of those dog treats? Have u thought about compensating HER for the treats? and ur dog aint the only Queen on the route…….

      2. The problem with your mail lady giving treats to your dog is what happens when she is sick or on vacation and someone else has to deliver your mail?

      3. I’m a letter carrier and I’ll let you know something: it’s against regulations for carriers to give treats to dogs. 🙂

      4. My dog barks like mad at our mail lady of 8 years…She even knows his name, but he still isn’t used to her…:)

    1. Giving treats to dogs does not make them vicious if they don’t get a treat, contrary to Postal Executive belief. Educate yourselves on dog behavior. If a dog gets a treat one day and not the next, he isn’t going to bite the person who doesn’t give him a treat, smh at these ignorant responses. .

  1. My two dogs spent the morning waiting in front of the mail slot for the mail to be delivered. As soon as they’d hear the mailman they start barking and growling. And when the slot opened they’d grab the mail as it was coming in and threw it around the room. I imagined the terror of the mailman everytime he had to come to my house. About a year later, we had a new mailman. I was told that the other one had a nervous breakdown. I always felt my dogs had something to do with it.

      1. Exactly! Dumba@@! Your dog rips up your mail, puts you at risk of a lawsuit should your dog remove the fingers of an unsuspecting mail carrier. As a Letter Carrier for 19 years, I fail to understand customers who fail to mitigate possible risks. As far as the door slot, I have had this happen to me and it is scary. Imagine if the dog took off a finger (even if is what not malicious). The carrier will own your house!

    1. i like these dogs. i only have to put the mail at most halfway through the slot and they take it from there. fast delivery for me.

      1. After talking to dog owners that wouldn’t control their dog, I preferred to hold on to the mail outside while the dog tore the mail in half on the inside. It’s weird how people start controlling their dog when their mail is ripped in two.

    2. Its irresponsible dog owners like YOU who give all dog owners a bad name! The fact that you let this happen… and then had the audacity to write/brag about it shows just how F***ed up you are!

      Ryan- stay strong and keep up the good work! We all appreciate how much you guys have to go through. As a dog walker I can tell you there IS something about the postman that stirs them up and I can’t figure it out either!

      1. It’s something in the uniform (from cleaning). I was a field employee for 16 years for The Gas Company, and even though I like dogs I got the same bad reaction frequently. And, yes, I carried treats!

    3. dog;s on my route that attack the mail as am putting in the slot
      get the most important lookng piece of mail 1st

    4. Had a nervous breakdown from you dogs throwing your mail around the room? Haha! If I had a delivery like that, I’d deliver your welfare or SSI check first.

      1. Yeah, I don’t think I’d put up with my dog ripping my mail and throwing it around the room; sounds kinda dumb, right?

    5. I used to hold on to the mail if a dog grabbed it from the mail slot just to make sure they ripped the heck out of it …I figure if they want nice mail they should control their dogs or put a box on the house.

  2. Good luck. No longer working I am a licensed vet tech. I absolutely love dogs but have had my share of encounters. Fortunately they were all well handled.

    I wish you were my current mail carrier. Our dog, Tegan, loves everyone and knows the pizza delivery, termite inspector, and various UPS folks. She’s even won over the babysitter’s dog hating husband. Alas, she is few and far between, and has hours of classes and training under her belt. I am so sorry that you have such warriors on your path.

    Maybe a thrown treat would help? At least you have a sense of humor about it. Hang in there!

    1. Our former mail carrier knew every child and every dog on the route by name. She was wonderful, full of smiles, and always had treat for every dog. My dog learned to recognize the uniform at great distance and would whine and wiggle like an over-excited pup when she saw any mail carrier anywhere in the city. That wonderful woman retired and was replaced by a rotating group of dour carriers who can’t even be bothered to pick up the mail sitting there in the box when they drop the day’s delivery. Very sad for everyone in the neighborhood, dogs included. Thanks for sharing your photos and good luck!

    2. the treat idea is a good one, but to an untrained dog that is left alone at home all day..i don’t know. we tried treats with a couple of rescue dogs we got and the result was disastrous. in addition to the usual bad behavior, they became hungry at the site of the guy. :/

      1. I am a rural carrier who loves her job. I know the kids and dogs and older folks. I used to be able to check in on the older ones and make sure all was well. The load of work has nearly tripled since I started. The time, in which the powers that be, expect us to do it, has been cut drastically. It’s not a friendly personal job anymore. The postal service is cutting it’s own throat by removing the ability to give that personal touch. Sad

      2. As a carrier I used to think maybe the treat was a good idea. Then i thought what if the dog became ill for whatever reason. It would be the mailmans fault for trying to poison the dog.

      3. Umm, Donna, you are paid a flat rate for doing Rural routes. As a former Rural Carrier, I averaged (as 90% of the RCs) 5-10 hours UNDER the evaluation every week, so if you wanted to spend a bit more time doing the job the way you want to do it, you could and still make more then the hours you are paid for.

        And John, if you paid attention to your safety training, you would know giving treats is forbidden.

    3. That has to be the most ignorant comment I have ever heard and I am ashamed to hear you are a CVT. I was a CVT for 15 years and went to the Postal Service for better benefits and double the pay.

      The dogs that get fed treats everyday will be EXPECTING them everyday. The same mail carrier is not on the same route 6 days a week. There are vacations, sick calls, etc and other unsuspecting carriers will be carrying that route. Postal carriers are NOT supposed to feed dogs treats, but many do and it is a poor practice.

      Also, you have an ignorant attitude about your own dog. ALL dogs will bite given the right situation. Why else did the good Lord give them teeth like that? It isn’t all about feeding time, it is about protection as well. If I had a nickel for every time an owner told me their dog is super sweet, has never bit anyone, and I am there doing a dog bite investigation, I would be a millionaire.

      1. As an RVT in the state of Ohio I have to agree with this. My dog only growls or attacks at people who he feels are threatening his territory. If you have a mail slot look at it from the dog’s point of view. A strange person approaches your home, rattles a noisy metal door of the mail slot, and jams something in at the family. It’s protection. I personally know my dog behaves himself well on a leash or with me outside with strangers to the point where he is very loving. I do not discourage his protective behavior at all. I have two small children and a break in on our street is very possible. I just take measures to protect the safety of the mail carrier such as an interior box to cover the slot or, if we are outside, controlling my dog with restraint. A protective dog is not a bad dog and you can’t change natural instinct. I do train my dog that there is a time and place for that behavior. Even the sweetest dogs have their limits though.

    4. Throwing a treat is strictly forbidden. A Carrier can be disciplined for that. The dog might become friendly with one carrier but when a new carrier comes on and doesn’t give a treat, watch out. The dog may become upset! A sense of humor doesn’t help when so many people fail to take actions such as proper restraint of your animal. If people could see how their dog behaves when they are not around, I have a feeling there are many who might want to get rid of their dog.

      1. I think it’s a bit extreme to say they might want to get rid of the dog. I wouldn’t allow my dog to be around anyone without proper introduction first. Mail-carrier included.

        I would certainly hope that the reaction would be to give the carrier more protection, and their pet better training. Not put more dogs into an over crowded rescue system.

      2. Wolfie52 – don’t you think you are being a tad harsh? Dogs instinctively protect their “turf”. Get rid of their dog? You clearly have never owned a pet. They are not disposable.

      3. First off, as I stated in comments before, I am an RVT. It does not matter how my dog behaves when I am not around. When I am not around he is protecting my home. If you are in my home when you are not around…you’re screwed, pal. If he had separation issues when I left there are ways to deal with that to curb any destruction. I would never get rid of my pet because of behavior issues. Very few dogs have issues so difficult that they cannot be remedied and unfortunately those dogs usually get euthanized because they are a danger even to their owners or shelter staff. It’s a matter of being as loyal to your pet’s training and well being as they are to you. If you cannot invest the time and effort into easing your dog’s problems then you don’t need to own a dog.

    5. Throwing a treat at a dog by a mailman is a big no-no. When the regular is off their replacement is approached by the dog seeking a treat. The replacement feels threatened by the dogs approach. Can not end positively.

    6. My dog is by nature a guarding dog and yes, she would have bitten the mailman if I didn’t train her with treats. Everytime the mailmain comes, I treat her. After time and effort, my dog paired all things good with the mailman. I was even able to get my favorite mailman to shake with my dog and walk inside the house. They are now good buddies. Mail comes, she wags her tail. How about throwing out some treats?

      1. There is one very important distinction here though. YOU are treating your dog. It is a very good training technique but is not concrete. If you get a new mailman you will most likely not have the same results and if you are not present to treat her yourself it could be disastrous. YOU were present for inviting the mailman in the house and it’s the dog’s nature to want to please you and be rewarded. If that same mailman entered your house without you I can assure you the reaction would be very different. Also the theory might only work with YOUR dog on the entire block because you spent the training time. If mail carriers try to treat every dog the results can differ drastically with dogs without training. I’m glad you take the time with your dog but it is not fail proof (nothing ever is) and I would never suggest that taking a safety risk would make them better at their job.

  3. Our mailman — a super nice guy and awesomely precise mail carrier — was attacked by a dog on his route. It makes me angry that dog owners don’t understand the danger that their “kids” pose for others.

    Also, mail carriers rock! I ❤ the mail 🙂

    1. I completely agree with you! I think if you have a dog and the MAIL CARRIER (not the pet owner) feels the dog is a threat, you should have to pay for a Post Office box. I’m a pet owner and owning a pet has lots of expenses. Vet, shots, grooming, food, and a post office box! Owning a pet is a luxury, not an entitlement. I love mail carriers also. $.50 to send something around the world??? where else can u get that kinda deal?? lol

  4. Yesterday, I was walking my dogs and we ran into our regular mailman delivering mail a block up. The dogs were silent, guilty and ashamed (both leaned anxiously against his legs and licked his hands with their tails between their legs), because they are gripped by murderous psychosis EVERY TIME he comes to the door. Neither has ever bitten another dog or human and they’re the picture of poise most of the time; I don’t get it.

    My favorite is the one coming through the mail slot; hilarious and horrifying.

    1. That one is simple. They are territorial. Mine are the same. I also delivered for 20 years and once you leave their territory, they are fine.

    2. A lot of dogs are like that. Away from their home they don’t protect. Not like when they are in the yard or behind the door. It is funny. I am a mail carrier and encounter this everyday! It is so silly.

    1. I was attacked by a cat cornered on a porch. Luckily it was spring and I was wearing rubber shin high boots on my route when he latched on and bit down. I left him gasping for air on the porch after a swift kick to the ribs. The owner had him put down. Normally cats either run or rub against your leg. In 11 years that has been the only issue. I don’t trust ANY now.

    2. Cats are fine. But, since your asking, it’s the drivers on the road. I almost get run over everyday delivering mail or almost hit in the truck. The dogs are the best part of the whole day!

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  6. This drives me nuts… I’ve trained a lot of dogs along my regular routes by throwing them treats. You don’t even have to interact with them – just throw them a treat every time. Use (appropriate) people food, too (like a 2sq. inch piece of lunchmeat) – not generic dog treats.

    1. So he should be spending about how much, would you estimate, on lunchmeats? And what about the crazies who keep their dogs on a special diet and get so angry with him?

    2. people food is bad for dogs and could make them sick. none of it is really appropriate. if you’re gonna give treats you should get something that is intended for dogs. if someone’s dog got sick or (god forbid) died from it you could be held responsible.
      although i think no one should give a dog food without checking with the owner to make sure it’s not something the dog shouldnt have even if it is intended for dogs. some animals have very specific diets.
      just my 2-cents

      1. Ever read what is in a can/bag of dog food or a box of treats? An informed person can make much better food decisions for their dogs (and the dogs they know) by giving them appropriate treats fit for human consumption, not that it is good for anyone to consume too much lunch meat. Meat By-products aren’t good for anyone/animals.

        Not that i would suggest mail carriers do this, it would seem to me that the better alternative to slots would be mail boxes (I am aware this is not a carrier issue, but the infinite wisdom of the powers that be should take that into consideration). Even having slots, seems like a small prodding device carried in hand would keep fingers safe from teeth. Who cares if the dog tears up the mail if the dog owner doesn’t keep them away from it.

  7. Also, scolding a dog for barking at strangers across a fence might work if you’re really vigilant about it, but it doesn’t create the kind of positive association that will actually make them stop seeing you as a threat…

    The treat thing will take several weeks to work, for some dogs, so keep at it.

      1. No, but it provides them with the proper steps to take to report a problem with dangerous dogs on their route. You can do it the right way, or you can give the dogs treats out of your own pocket. OR, you can just quit your job. But no matter what way you choose, you shouldn’t complain about dogs in yards on your mail route. That’s part of the job that the mail carrier chose to have. There’s plenty of other jobs out there.

    1. I was attacked by a rott on my route. The dog had broken its chain. I’m glad it wasn’t some kid coming to their door to sell something on a saturday morning. Needless to say if you have a dog you can’t control be prepared to be sued by your mail carrier because that is what I did. they ended up putting the dog down. Treats are a terrible idea …what if the dog is sick. If you are a responsible dog owner you should know that controlling your dog is your resposibility. The post office is constantly rearranging routes and you can’t expect to always have the same person delivering your mail, its unrealistic to expect every carrier to cater to your dog when there are possibly hundreds on each route .

    2. No! scolding sounds like you;re joining in from dogs perspective. Train like lady does – scroll up to see her technique

  8. These pictures are the best-please keep them coming!!
    We are however one of “those” houses that the postman, UPS, and FEDEX hate coming to. Most of the delivery people do keep treats on them now…they fling handfuls of them at my three spastic barking idiot dogs, jump out to dump the packages and then speed away! I can’t say that I blame them.

    1. If you know that your dogs are making people scared to death, why don’t you keep them inside or control them? Seriously. Don’t post about this s*** and expect people to say, “OH, that’s hilarious!” It’s not, it’s just rude and mean-spirited.

  9. Have you ever had trouble with cats? Our postman told us we had to keep our cat indoors for the hour or so range in which he would deliver our mail since he felt threatened by our cat. Who was, to be honest, about 15 pounds of meanness.

  10. Yes, cats can be mean and territorial! I had one that when you came to the door, it would hiss and growl and jump at the window trying to get me. It was hilarious!

  11. I have never been bitten as in broken skin, a few nips, but no blood, from dogs my 26 years and counting career. I was, however, attacked by a cat so severely it landed me in the ER. On one part of my route a feral cat had a litter one hot summer ten or so years ago, two of the kittens survived. I felt so bad about them, I would bring fresh water and part of my lunch to leave for them. This evolved into feeding the three with dried food, fresh water and sometimes a can of cat food before I did my last split of the day, right where they were. One day I had fed them, then did the loop, ending at a set of apartment boxes where I fed them. One of the kittens had gotten pretty used to me, and apparently had left the dish where his mother was grooming him and decided to rub up against my leg. I stepped back from the box, and onto the little guy’s tail. He screamed, I jumped and was apologising when Mama let out a low howl, I looked and this mass of hair and wide open eyes tore out, jumped up and hugged my leg and started kicking and slashing with her back feet. I had my satchel and tried to move it between her and my torso, but when she saw my arm she climbed up and over the satchel, up my arm, where she bit down as hard as she could on my arm below my elbow, front claws sunk into my arm on the back, and her back feet were slashing my hand to ribbons. My truck was about 20 feet or so away, and trying to talk calmly to her was not working. I walked towards the truck with her howling and biting down, slashing with her back feet, at one point the blood made slippery for her and she fell off. Instead of running I held my arm up to look at the damage and saw it literally bloom with dozens of lacerations and puntures. Then she howled again, I looked down and she was still at my feet. She lept up, grabbed my arm again with her front paws and sunk her teeth into my arm again, and I decided it was time to get the heck out of there. I ran with her still attached to my arm and when I got to my LLV, slung her down as hard as I could, she fell off, and run under the truck. I jump inside, slide the door shut, and her her outside the drivers door, on the ground, howling and she starts jumping up at the open window (hot day, I didn’t roll it up per regulations) to get in with me. I got the truck started and got away, but as I was driving away I realised the blood spurting out of my arm in pulses meant she had pierced something important, and I probably wouldn’t make the 20 minute drive to station. And it was after 5:00 PM so no doctors offices would be open. Nearest help was a fire station within a mile, where I surprised a group of them about to sit down to a meal. While they were working on me, they called my supervisor to report the incident, and I kid you not, that woman — who now is a postmaster somewhere — first thing she asked was “Did he finish the route?” Wound up later in the ER for irrigation of the wounds, counted nearly a hundred lacerations on my arm, hand, side, and leg. 16 punctures from bites. She was one pissed off Mamma kitty. The city animal control department captured her the next day, worried she might attack the kids running around in the apartment complex, and I adopted the two kittens. They and I had to wait out rabies incubation together, them in my garage in a cage. No rabies, so no shots, and both boys grew to be great pets that found a home with a lady friend. Worst part of my story is that my coworkers wouldn’t let me live this down, leaving a stuffed cat on my case (that if you petted would meowww and purrr, then go into a hissing and screaming fit), and management every year for dog bite prevention month would get on the intercom and add, with a pause “dog….. and cat… bites” while my coworkes laughed their butts off.

    1. Feral cats are extremely dangerous. Always. Really, everyone should equate them to wild animals. Same as feral dogs. No feeding or interacting, etc.

      But I’m surprised that you waited out the rabies quarantine? You should have gotten shots right after. I think any insurance company would cover post-exposure rabies shots. Anyway, if YOU started exhibiting signs of rabies that pretty much means you’re dead, so they usually do it immediately following a wild animal attack.

      I’m sorry they tease you about cats. I am a cat person, but even I’m aware that feral cats are as dangerous as they come.

    2. I’m so sorry for your pain! but your writing is very humorous! I had one bite by a kitten over 2 weeks ago and it’s still throbbing. Those kitty teeth are like razor knives! Love the cliche postmaster comment, haha. What a horrible and hilarious story! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    3. Wow. Interesting story, glad you had a happy ending with kitty pets. You have given your coworkers something interesting to talk about, how sweet of you. 😉

    4. “Did he finish the route?” Good Lord, so they ARE all the same! I got bit several years ago from a dog I knew damn well would get me if he ever got loose. And sure enough, walking back to the truck down the back alley, 3 houses away from the dogs house, his owners mistakenly let the dog out, he sees me and comes raging for me! Got me right on the back of my knee and needed a stitch. Also have a cat on my route that manages to get it’s paw through the door slot, savagely swatting at whatever is outside of it. Scratched up one of the subs pretty good on their hand before I knew of this problem!

    5. Yikes, Donald! What an experience!
      I picked up an ~3-month-old kitten at the ferry terminal in Hyannis on Cape Cod when I lived on Nantucket Island in 1975-76. The ferry ticket booth lady told me someone had probably dropped him off since he had been there for 2-3 days, and she had given him only water, hoping he might wander back home.
      The ferry auto-loading door needed to be repaired, so rather than leaving at 8:00 on a June evening we had to wait until close to midnight. We were at the waiting area and watched over the belongings of a group of watercolor artists who walked to a nearby restaurant to bide their time waiting. I rolled my wooden bangle bracelet on the ground and let the kitten chase it to get him tired for the trip. Finally it was time to board the ferry so I tucked the kitten into the front of my cardigan with his head sticking out between the buttons. We sat in a booth in the onboard café and a woman sat on bench seat opposite us. After a while she saw that I was giving the kitten a bit of tuna from a sandwich, and milk, and exclaimed, “Oh! I didn’t notice you had a cat! This is the closest I’ve been to a cat in 25 years!” She then told me about a mother barn cat, with a litter of kittens, that had attacked her when she was a girl. From her account, and yours, I can see how viciously protective mother cats can be.
      Several years later, I had that cat from the ferry terminal in my little apartment downstairs in a house. My landlady’s male cat from upstairs was at the door in when I opened it, and was staring at my cat in the room behind me. Stupidly, I pushed him back out so I could close the door, and he attacked, biting and scratching my wrist and bare forearm. I think he wanted to attack my cat, but I became the surrogate enemy.
      Even though I washed it thoroughly, the bite wound near my thumb caused my whole hand to swell and become stiff and painful the next day. It looked like an partially inflated latex glove! My cousin told me to apply a warm epsom salts and olive oil poultice to draw out the toxins, as advised by a vet tech she had worked with.
      One time I was visiting the local veterinary school. I walked up to a large stall where a mother horse and foal were being kept. The foal was healing from an injured leg, and the mother ran screaming (!) up to the door I was looking over. Watch out for protective moms!

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  13. The treats sound like they would work. But you need to understand that they view you as a violator of their territory and a threat to their house and their owner. This is why they go crazy. I also imagine that they learn your scent after a while as the person that does this and it doesn’t help. Your job is to convince them that you aren’t a threat, that delivering the mail is not in itself breaking and entering.

    But owners need to teach their dogs about mailmen! And if all else fails, have them crated during that time period. I think the responsibility lies with both parties.

    Anyway. I don’t blame the dogs and I don’t blame the mailman. They both have intentions that are severely misunderstood and unfortunately the body language of neither can be read by the other very well.

    In my area the mailmen drive up to the mailboxes without getting out. I think in the entire town there is regulation that there has to be a mailbox. The dogs aren’t even aware of the mailmen.

    1. Giving out treats is agianst regulations, and with good reason. When the regular Carrier gives out treats toe dogs come to expect it. Then here comes a Substitute down the block. The dog comes looking for his treat and the Sub has no idea why the dog is running towards him or her. The Sub reacts and startels the dog, who bites.

      I have been delivering mail for 32 years and have not been bitten. If it ever happens, and I find out the Regular Carrier has been handing out treats, I will sue them for my injuries. I may or may not win, but it will cost them to defend themselves. Only cost me a few bucks to file the lawsuite.

      1. I feed the dogs treats. I know it’s against regulations but everyone else feeds them, UPS, FedEx, the Terminex guy, the water softener guy, the Arrowhead guy, and the meter readers. Since everyone except maybe the USPS is feeding them, no wonder dogs give a “what the heck” look if the carrier shows up with no food. If only the carrier was feeding the dog, the ban might make sense, stop the carrier and the sub is safe; but even if the regular isn’t feeding them, you’re still not in the clear because I guarantee every other delivery person is.

  14. Why should a mail carrier have to carry around treats to placate dogs? It’s the owner’s duty to keep their animals under control.

  15. I don’t get it; one of our dogs has never even met a mailman, but from the time he was about 3 months old, he just goes ballistic the second he hears the truck coming down the street. And it’s not just limited to the house – if we’re out walking and the mail truck is anywhere in sight, running or not, mailman visible or not, he barks and pulls trying to get to the truck. The poor man never even approaches the house, since the mailbox is way down in the street, but Napoleon is hellbent at getting to him. I always thought the whole dogs & mailmen thing was a stereotypical exaggeration until Napoleon. It’s astounding.

    On a side note, PLEASE DO NOT FEED DOGS PEOPLE FOOD, especially lunch meats, which are high in sodium and can cause bloat (a very dangerous and often fatal condition) in large dogs. If you go the treat route, please choose wheat-free treats made for dogs. I’d even be happy to supply you with them. 🙂

  16. Absurd. Pit bulls are no worse than any other dog – they just get an asinine amount of media attention because they are so widely misused and abused by people who use them for fighting or as some sort of attack dog to guard their house. “They won’t give up” is a ridiculous thing to attribute to pits specifically – this true of any dog that is so broken and damaged that it is going to attack you. Don’t perpetuate the myth that has lead to so many friendly and completely safe pit bulls being euthanized specifically because of their breed!

    1. True, true, I have had every kind of dog after me on the mail route. Luckily they were all behind fences. Most are fine even when you go in the gate. It’s all show on their part. I just talk to them a little or a lot depending on what I am trying to deliver. 99 percent calm down after a bit.

  17. I worked 1 summer as a letter carrier and, like you, was amazed at the poor restraint of pets! I am a dog-person myself (own an 80-pounder), but ALWAYS carried the pepper spray the USPS provided. The only dog that truly terrified me though was the one I never saw! I think it was a dachshund, and when I knocked on a door to deliver mail that wouldn’t fit through the slot, the man had to put the pup in another room to answer. All I saw were the curtains being shook vigorously and I could hear the snarls and barks. Honestly, I could only think the attack would be similar to that of a school of piranhas. Nothing but bone left.

    Keep on keepin’ on! I found a new appreciation for letter carriers that summer. Thanks for all you do!

    1. You are EXACTLY right. That is why dogs act aggressively toward mail carriers. Other people come to the house…dog barks, owner lets visitor inside. The mail carrier leaves as soon as the dog barks. I used to make a point of getting introduced to new dogs and puppies, so they knew me and were happy to see me whether or not I had a treat for them. The PO’s assertion that a dog used to getting a treat from the carrier will attack a substitute not proferring one is pure poppycock. There was a cat known to all the carriers in the town where I delivered mail – it would claw at the screens from inside the house, trying to get to and maul whoever was delivering that day. On my own route, which had dismount deliveries along a stretch of busy state road, I had a summer when a tom turkey claimed that stretch as his own, attacking the mail truck and other vehicles, and menacing me. Eventually we bonded over our mutual hatred of LLVs (mail trucks).

  18. My dog was trained as a puppy by the letter carrier we had then, to love all mail delivery services. That woman threw the tennis ball for her and showered her with cookies. I realize this is not a letter carrier’s job, but since that first mail gal, my dog (now 12) watches for the mail and loves anyone wearing that uniform and/or pulling that mail cart. Now, I am in Canada. Maybe the Canada Post uniforms are more conducive to good mailman/dog relations.

  19. Now I’m feeling guilty about the racket our dogs make. The thing is, we want the dogs to bark when someone approaches the house – they are cheaper and more effective than an alarm system. Our dogs are not biters, but every dog owner says that, and every dog can bite.

    I can identify with you a little. I have to deal with dogs behind fences or tied up outside as I walk my dog. I’ve worked hard to teach my dog to heel when we are passing beasts that lunge up against the fences or the end of their ties (sometimes less than a foot from the sidewalk), otherwise it could turn into a dog fight. My dog has been bitten through a fence, and now I take her across the street if I see one of those dogs out in the yard. Sometimes owners are out in their yards and think nothing of letting their dog off the leash, until I’m pulling my dog into the middle of the street and yelling “Get your damn dog!” I’ve taught her to heel when approaching someone coming the other way on the walk, and this includes our letter carriers, too. I believe dog owners should not impose their dogs on other people, no matter how sweet the dogs are.

    Some letter carriers carry dog treats, and several times my pooch and I have been stopped on the street and offered a doggie cookie. I’ve always declined, but my dog appreciates the gesture very much.

  20. I happen to have a very sweet dog, who hates our mail people. I just don’t understand it. Not only does she bark like the mail person is wielding a machete, ready to mow us down, but our cat sits in the window, growling, from the moment the mail person gets out of the vehicle! I wonder if there is a “love the mailman” class somewhere. The sweetest people are delivering our mail… and I hate that my animals stress them out so terribly. One man, doesn’t even bother putting anything through the mail slot – and that’s the one that my dog gets closest to the door for! (Usually, she barks furiously – from the couch…) I hope you don’t leave your job, due to a nervous breakdown, as someone mentioned before, of their mail carrier. Thank you for sharing your photos and experience. Hopefully, documenting it helps you somehow. It’s a difficult job, without the ferocious animals! Peace!!!

  21. …your mail carrier. Yes, at Christmastime or even in between, always remember your mail carrier with a nice gift card from a local market, especially if you have dogs. They have to buy those treats or perhaps, after a long day of dodging pets, would just like to have a beer ; ).

  22. LOL- Okay I shouldn’t laugh… but yeah I have to laugh at the” every owner tells you he just wants to lick you to death” line. I ain’t gonna lie… the pitbull would like to lick you to death.. but you’d have to get past the Akita first.. and HE WANTS TO EAT YOUR FACE.

    I’m sorry for mailmen, but fortunately we keep our dogs INSIDE.. and there’s no mail slot so the only interaction is big Akita head in window barking loudly to let you know that he does not appreciate your making contact with HIS steps. No baby talk from me I promise.. if we are home when the mailman comes we do attempt to haul him away from the window. Unfortunately… when he barks like a maniac the mailman “goes away” so I guess he believes his guarding works… you approach.. go out of sight as you drop the mail in the box, he barks like a maniac and you trot back down the steps and leave… until tomorrow.

    1. I had a large dog (some kind of rot/mix) come THROUGH a large bay window to “protect” his home while I was delivering the mail one day. The sad part is that I told the owner just a couple weeks before that the dog would be coming out the window sometime soon. He did. Thankfully, the breaking window, me holding my ground and letting out a sharp bark, and a dose of pepperspray made him stop in his tracks.

      1. This happened with my husband’s dog (before we were married). In the dog’s defence he was NEVER going to like mailpeople after what happened to him when he was a puppy. He was on a leash, sitting down next to his master and the mailcarrier sprayed him with pepperspray “because he was big” even though he never got up or went after her. The mailcarrier was fired after several complaints from residents, but Bear (an English Mastiff) never liked any of them after that. Once he came through the baywindow in the front of the house and got into the mail truck with the carrier who quickly jumped out and locked him in it. My husband was phoned (this is a small town) and asked to come get his dog out of the truck. This isn’t really a funny story because the man at the time would have been very seriously injured if he hadn’t gotten out in time.

  23. Every day you come “sneaking” up to their territory, throw something in, and then when they catch you at it and bark at you, you leave in a hurry. Obviously you’re up to no good and must be firmly taught not to return. Each time you do, in fact, return despite warnings, it gets worse.

    The treat idea works sometimes. Our local fed-ex guy does this, and it helps but I know one dog is totally friendly while he is facing forward, then I’ve seen them lunge for his ankles as he leaves. These dogs are otherwise charming and well socialized(and not my dog).

    The owners should restrain the dog. If they fail to do so safely, leave them a note to collect their mail at the local post office themselves.

  24. I was walking my dogs one morning and ran across my mailman. Of course my adorable dogs erupted in to an embarrassing tazmanian devil routine. As I was apologizing and getting my beloved monsters under control, the mailman slunk away saying, “Even my own dog hates me.”

    1. LOL… I came home one day to our dog that we had just adopted a couple weeks before and when I walked into the house, in full uniform, she freaked out and lunged at me. I yelled her name and I could see the puzzlement in her eyes. My family never lets me hear the end of it, but she’s a great dog and all it took was a quick correction to get her back in line. Just the same, I always announced myself when I came home after that.

  25. No one should have to put up with this nonsense in order to do his job. If people don’t secure their pets, they should get their mail dropped on the curb or in the gutter, if at all.

    The absolute most obnoxious dog owners (besides those who think their dogs are human “kids”) are the ones who let big dogs come bounding up to small children, even when the children are clearly terrified or even knocked down. I’ve kicked more than one dog hard in the ribs at our local park over this & have come close to doing the same to their owners. Note to planet: pets aren’t people, but they are your responsibility if you own one.

  26. Found your story on NPR – good to see plenty of humor in it. We are dogless and probably will stay that way, but we did own one that bit a landscaper and my brother-in-law. I guess the mailman problem is related to the repeat visits that they see as threats. Great job with the pics.

  27. My husband is a mailman, and he’s been bitten three times while delivering mail. When he’s not in uniform dogs love him. Ironically, our dog loves all of the letter carriers. She knows a mail truck by sight and will pull me half a block or more just to get the letter carrier to pet her and/or give her treats.

  28. The best solution would be for people to install a nice locking mailbox outside their gate close to the street, for the mailperson’s safety and the safety of the dogs themselves (well, and the safety of the mail). I love the zombie chihuahua waiting to eat the mail and the white boxer giving you the authoritative stinkeye.

  29. I can completely understand a mail carriers frustration and concern for dogs. My neighbors across the street actually had to move their dog fence back away from the walkway to their porch. Apparently the mail carrier kept complaining to them about how their dogs would jump (almost over the fence) while barking and growling. After a while they got a letter from USPS and promptly moved the fence back.

    When I got my dog, I was determined that she wouldn’t be one of “those” dogs with the mail carrier. So from the first day I got her (at about 2 months old), I would take her out on the porch to greet our mail carrier. After about 7 months our mail lady felt comfortable enough (as did I) for me to let go of my dogs collar. Now (4 years later) my dog and the mail lady look forward to seeing each other. I keep her inside or hold on to her collar when there is a substitute carrier just to be safe (she still wags her tail and wants to say hi).

    I like the blog and look forward to updates! Thanks for all you do and put up with, it’s greatly appreciated.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to let your dog get to know the mail carrier. It can make a big difference.
      I had a customer once tell me they didn’t want the mail carrier petting the dog because “they didn’t want it to become friendly to strangers”. My thought is you are now not a stranger and the dog can tell the difference from the real strangers.

  30. I can verify everything in your documentary. I carried foot routes for 8 years in a suburb, 8 miles/day, 1,500 miles/year.

    Dogs hate mailmen. If they are ever going to bite someone, it is likely going to be the mailman. Mailmen invade their territory every day and worse yet, wear uniforms, which many dogs do not like.

    There was 1 dog that was so bad the directions were to drive by the house and if the dog was outside or the inner door was not closed, you skipped the entire block. Once he saw the truck he would go insane. Dog catcher lived kitty corner behind him and wouldn’t do anything to his neighbor’s dog.

    Little dogs are actually worse than large ones. They are faster and like to sneak attack out of bushes and around corners. Big dogs come right at you giving you a good spray target and time to put your bag between yourself and the dog.

    I have cats for pets. Cats are more civilized than dogs; if they don’t like you, they just ignore you. They don’t try to turn you into hamburger.

  31. My dog LOVED our old mailman. He’d run up to the front door and whine until I walked him outside. At first the mailman was horrified that I was opening the door so the dog could chase him down. Once he saw that Jack wanted to be friends he laughed and played a bit with him. 3 days a week (the days he had our route) he’d spend an extra minute playing with Jack. Over a year later, when he had his route changed he left a note on my front door saying that my dog had kept him from hating his job and dogs in general. My sympathies to mailmen who get poor dog treatment!

  32. I am what might be called and “Observer”. I carried newspapers on a bike for five years, hopped milk for a farm dairy for two years and always watched how dogs react. We have two dogs, (I have always had at least one dog) and they react no different to the mail carrier. However, I believe the UPS delivery man could walk in to the house, get a cup of coffee and have a sandwich with our two dogs and do so without any fear of being attacked. Here is my observations on this matter.

    The UPS driver delivers to our house about twice a week and he checks the remainder of his deliveries as he eats lunch at the end of the lane in full view of the dogs. I have noticed when the antagonist is in no hurry to leave the dogs accept the person. They bark, but the UPS man doesn’t leave, so, they don’t win. The mail carrier arrives, the dogs bark, the mail carrier continues along the route and the dogs win. I have noticed this since I first began watching dog behavior.

  33. As a letter carrier I have been told the main reason that the dogs smell the mail that we carry and it carries the smell of all the people that have touched it. Also we wear hats. We enter into their places without their permisson, being a threat to their “pack.”

  34. Once upon a time I dated a letter carrier who claimed while on a beach, on vacation, sans uniform, a dog ran from the parking lot across the beach and into the ocean to bite him. He took it personally.

    I’ve been attacked twice by ‘porch’ dogs who are untethered while owners work in the yard. It’s horrifying. It also hurt my feelings; I love dogs. The owners think they have voice control over their dog. Ha!

    Carlson’s feral mama cat story was fascinating. Sorry for his injuries, really sorry, they sounded severe, but how impressive was that mama. Tiger-ish. I applaud his caring for her and her kittens. Most of us would be surprised to learn of all the feral cats who have been trapped, neutered, and released. Many neighborhoods have that ‘crazy’ cat person who quietly maintains the health of a colony. We’d also be surprised to know what a public service it is.

    Nice blog here, Ryan. Be careful out there!

  35. I am among many good animal lover’s who take the time and pains to teach them who or what is good and who or what is bad , and for our mail carrier I take the time to let them meet and greet so that all the bad people who are too lazy to be someone good .
    when some not so good people came around where I used to live in the L.A. area who were going around stealing mail my dog’s must have realized that they were real bad guy’s and not only went after them and cornered them until I was about to get the police their , I have trained dogs for many types of jobs for the military over the last 40 some years , this is not an easy job and not all dogs make the grade however I do place the ones who do not make it with good caring homes .
    in the second photo is that a real Lion or what I would love to know . and i would like to have a copy of that photo if possible .

  36. please, the only reason why the po tells all carriers (and yes i am one) that every dog will bite, is because they don’t want carriers out on injury, yes there are some dogs that are over the top, but my route is full of pitbulls and rotties and they are all my friends they come up to me to be pet and give kisses and i make sure they know me from puppy on up, i would much rather be friends with these dogs than have a 90 lb lady walking 300 lbs of dog lose control of them, dogs are awesome, if you are afraid of dogs, you really shouldn’t be a mailman, its not the uniform, it is the fact that dogs see someone walking toward their house that doesn’t live there, that is their job, to bark and let the owners know someone is there

  37. The pictures show the dogs all securely locked behind fences and gates. My former house was in a rough neighborhood where most fences were broken or non-existent. There were strays and at least two pit bulls on every block. God Bless that mailman. I used to have four dogs at my house that lived in the big back yard which was fenced off from the front of the house. The dogs are protected from malicious dog-haters, and visitors can come to my front door without any fear or worries.

  38. Dru is so right about pit bulls, and I apologize for making them sound like the bad guys in my comment. I should know better. While living in my former house…we saw a pit bull being tossed out of a car and abandoned near our house. We rescued him immediately and intended to take him to the Humane Society when we could. That was about 4 years ago. “Freddy” is a keeper.

  39. I love the lines about if we only didn’t rush off after delivering the mail. I am a letter carrier and my route has over 600 delivery points. With travel time and office time figured in I have apporxamatly 3 seconds per house to deliver the mail. My supervisors expect me to keep this schedual so much that they don’t even give me the time to get to know most the people on my route or to even properly maintenance it for new customers or the ones who have moved out. Peoples dogs are the only reason I may not be able to deliver to them, and if they are loose, they may cause the entire block or several blocks not to be delivered. I don’t hate dogs, but I don’t trust them either. I have had dogs that acted friendly when I come by and they are alone, only to see them act like a wolf when their owners are out. So don’t think that just because you are out with them they are going to do as you say. When they get excited, and agressive, they don’t here anything except their own barking.

  40. Every owner tells me, “ole my dog won’t bite you, he is harmless.” I tell them everyone tells me that, and sorry, but I don’t trust it, at all. I have one dog right now who nearly jumped inside my window to bite me, and I’m not walking to deliver mail, I’m driving. After being bitten, I don’t trust anything the owner says, and definitely don’t let my guard down.

  41. I am a letter carrier and have been attacked while taking a package to the door. The dog rushed passed the owner when he opened the door. I was bitten twice on the leg before the owner pulled him away. Dogs are becoming a very big problem because more and more are getting them for protection instead of just a family pet. Dogs are territorial and need to be respected but on the other side owners need to do their part in restraining the animal. On one of the routes I have I have an attack cat…it grabs the mail and tries to get me when I put the mail through the slot. This is just one of the many things that as a postal carrier we have to deal with. I agree with one who posted we do not have the time to give the service we should because of time limits.
    Everyone loses in the situation. Next time you see your carrier thank him or her for the job they do. Yes we do get paid good and have good benefits but most days we do earn that money.

  42. I have been a rural mail carrier for 17 years. When I first started delivering, I use to carry dog treats for the dogs on my route. I use to have one dog who would wait by a bank of mail boxes to get his treat. A week later there were two dogs. Eventually there were between 3 and 5 dogs who would be by that bank of mailboxes waiting for a treat. The poor substitute carrier would freak out when she got to those boxes and had a bunch of dogs milling about her car waiting for a treat.

    I had to stop giving treats to those dogs because it became dangerous for both the sub and the dogs. The doggy buffet came to a end and I have not given treats since.

  43. This is why I am a mail processor/expiditor!!! Don’t have to worry about the animals, ever though I love them! And also the weather! I live in Nebraska and you never know what it’s gonna do here!!

  44. Dru: Letter carrier 31 years here. Love dogs in general. The ONLY pit bulls one needs worry about is one trained to be bad by its owner. Thats true with MOST large dogs. Whether your talking about Shepards, Dobermans , Rotties or chows. The BIG problem is the owners not the dogs. They train the dogs as a defense to their property, and then won’t put their box on the curb or fence in their yard. And then people wonder why there’s a “territory problem”.
    Probably one of the friendliest dogs on my routes, was a American Pit named Dallas. His size was scary , but he was all heart.
    My dogs are rottie mixes, from the pound. But you’ll never hear me bad mouth the pit breed.
    Actually, the only time I was bit was by a tea cup poodle.

  45. 28 years as a carrier, plenty of dog stories, bitten by poodle,dachsund,Chihuahua and one big dog, appreciate all the positive feedback from the public, some people still appreciate us.

  46. I trained my first Rottie from a puppy to “say hi”. She loved the UPS driver and the mailman. She’d jump into any vehicle to go for a ride if she could. Everyone was a playmate to her. Lived to an old age and never bit anyone. I adopted the dog I have now. I didn’t have her as a pup and I wouldn’t trust her not to be territorial. It’s in the training – which most people don’t do properly.

  47. I don’t know if someone already posted this, but there’s a good reason dogs react to mailmen the way they do. Mailman comes, dog barks, mailman goes away. It conditions the dog to think that you as a mailman are a threat that can easily be frightened away. Then it becomes a routine because it happens at roughly the save time every day. It’s the result of poor training on the owners part.

  48. Love the pics, though I’m sorry to hear the whole mailcarrier/dog stereotype is actually true. My dog barks his scary deep bark when someone comes to our door, while backing away from the door. If someone forced their way in while we weren’t home … I don’t know what he’d do, but the barking ought to be fair warning. However, our mail box is on the outside of our house, entirely inaccessible to the dog whether he’s inside or in the back yard. I figure, if you want your mail delivered, you should make sure it’s safe/easy to deliver.

  49. you’re famous!

    and yay! to a fellow san diegan! 🙂 what part of sd do u deliver mail to? (if u can share)

  50. In Germany there are “Keinohrhasen”, “two ears chicken” on gives you like to picture 4 .. Giant-ear dog keep it up


  51. I own two Dobermans and they don’t make a peep if someone comes to the door. They wait quietly behind the closed door waiting to see if it opens. As long as it stays shut, everyone has a super day!

  52. We have three dogs that bark their heads off whenever anyone comes to the door. The poodle (the instigator) can hear the mail/UPS/Fedex truck coming from two blocks away and he runs to the door and starts barking. Then the other two join in. We don’t have a mail slot, so our mail carrier leaves packages on a table in our foyer. I always feel bad that our dogs bark like that, but we haven’t been able to train them to stop. They think they’re protecting us, I guess.

    I wouldn’t dream of letting them come into actual contact with any of our delivery people. While we know they’re all bark and no bite, no one else knows that. On the bright side, it probably keeps burglars away.

  53. I think the reason dogs bark at the mailman (or woman) is because it ALWAYS WORKS! The “intruder” is always scared away by the barking…or so the dog thinks!

  54. It isn’t the dog that are the problem, it is the owners.

    Let’s face it – lots of people who have dogs simply “turn them out” in the back yard for the day and hope they will amuse themselves. I’m against leaving dogs outside unsupervised unless they’re in a proper kennel – not just because they can (and do) threaten passers-by and the mail man, but also because it’s dangerous for the dog. I don’t know how many stories I’ve seen where people have stolen dogs from yards, or poisoned them. There was just a poisoning story today.

    And let’s not forget – a dog that is turned out by itself in the yard without any kind of supervision or (mental) stimulation is a bored dog and bored dogs find things to do – charging at the mail man. Barking. Digging. Lots of annoying and unwanted behaviors. (And, in the end, it’s always “the dog’s fault.”)

    If people kept their dogs properly contained, there would be no issue with the mail man. Sure, he’d still get barked at if the dog is in a proper backyard kennel, but he won’t bite the mail man. (Or the UPS guy, or the FedEx guy.)

    And I hate to hear about owners who allow their dogs to behave badly, then “explain away” the behavior. It’s not okay for a dog to jump on a stranger, whether that dog is 50lbs or 5lbs. All dogs can scratch. Or bite. Or cause an allergic reaction. Your dog should be approaching only those people who don’t mind being approached – and if you can’t stop your dog from approaching, maybe you need to go back to obedience class and teach “down” and “stay” so you can. (Or keep the dog leashed.)

    I have a former police K-9 who lives with me, and you bet your behind that she’s not running loose to scare the mail man. She’s inside the home when I’m not there, and while she does bark, there’s no danger she’s going to bite him. And when I am there, I have her sit/stay or down/stay when she comes outside with me when I sign for a package.

    Of course, I am also lucky in that the mailman and the UPS guy around here like dogs and have always invited her (my dog) to come up and say “hello” – which she is allowed to do once I release her from her sit/stay or down/stay.

    I know a lot of people here have suggested that the mail carrier should have dog treats and make friends with the dogs on their route. As a dog owner, I don’t like people giving my dog treats without permission. My dog is on a special, healthy diet – the last thing she needs is a daily complement of crappy treats. And I’d be annoyed if the mailman tossed treats into the yard without asking, to be honest. (Of course, since my dog isn’t unsupervised, it’s not an issue.)

  55. Wow, quite a few whiners here. I work for L.A. DWP. Try going into every single back yard, not knowing what is back there. I have received 3 minor bites in 12 years and have only sprayed 1 dog & struck 1 dog. Mail carriers have it easy compared to us; going into gangbanger’s backyards in south central with 5 pitts, rottweilers, argentinian dogos, you rarely have to open a gate, give me a break. 250-300 yards a day. On top of that each day’s route is different, many of you go to the same houses everyday!!!! You haven’t seen pictures till you’ve seen mine!!!

  56. Just a thought, from someone who has dealt with their dog barking at the mail lady. I went into research mode with my dog, because I felt terrible about her barking at the mail lady everyday. But, there is a logical reason your dog, as most would say “doesnt like the mail person, or hates them.” Think about this: Dogs bark at most people/things they don’t know, and aren’t comfortable with, usually when someone comes to our homes, they come inside, and the dog has a moment to sniff and get-to-know this new person. This situation 95% of the time hasn’t happened with the mail person. So, think of this way, dogs are protecting animals, they want to protect their loved ones, and their home. This person has come to their house everyday, and left. BUT, only left after they got barked since they stepped foot in front of your house. In a dogs mind they think: BARK, if they go away, I win! Their doing their job to protect themselves, and you, and OMG – it’s WORKING. This person is LEAVING because I’m barking. It becomes a game of who will win today. Everyday, the same situation, the mail person comes up to your home, doesn’t come in, and the dog barks, and the mail person LEAVES, and the dog thinks they have completed their duty.

    It’s not that our dogs hate anyone, it’s just the mail person is the only person that “gives in” to the terror of the dog barking, growling, and “protecting.”

    SN: Good luck! These pictures are precious! xo

  57. While I will make no excuses for the irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to threaten you, I have to say the USPS training video must have failed miserably if you still think the dogs “want to kill you” or are “hunting” you. The reasons the dogs seem threatening will be as varied as the dogs you meet, but “hunting” or “killing” are likely not the motivations. Dogs put forth verbal and visual displays of aggression as a warning to stay away. It is appropriate dog behavior. Think about when a cat stalks a mouse or bird, that is an animal intent on quietly sneaking up on and catching its prey. The cat doesn’t meow and hiss at the prey, the cat is very quiet.

    I understand that your job is surely harrowing because of irresponsible and careless dog owners but please stop demonizing the dogs. They are behaving appropriately, as dogs.

  58. I used to work for Canada Post (the Cdn equivalent of the USPS) and that’s when I learned about how dog attacks can lead to serious injury for letter carriers and consequences for the dog itself.

    Children and the elderly are even more likely to be victims.

    A while ago I started a Facebook page called “dogs who love posties” to show support for responsible dog ownership and help make people aware of how serious an issue dog bites and attacks are. It’s at Some of the injuries can be really horrific. One of the photos in the photo strip is of a UK letter carrier whose nose got bitten off.

    The Canadian postal service banned the use of dog treats on routes about three years ago, for the reasons some of you have mentioned.

  59. The dog LOVES our letter carriers. That’s why, whenever I open the door to her, him, anyone in a uniform, anyone not in a uniform, I’ve also a hand already around the dog’s collar. An 85 pound dog, even a nice, gentle dog, can cause all sorts of mayhem and misunderstanding by charging out to greet someone.

  60. First off, thank you to my mailmen and women that deliver to my house. Secondly, I’m sorry. My dog seriously does not like you but I think I figured out the root of the problem. I have an 80 lb. female pit bull who is as sweet as sugar pie but as soon as a mailman, UPS driver, FedEx, any delivery of parcels or mail comes near my house, my dog loses it. I could be walking her and three blocks down the street she sees a mail truck and she loses it. I always make her sit, I hold her muzzle (training tactic of establishing dominance), and try and calm her down.

    Here’s where I think she went wrong… I used to live in a little house where the front yard had a six foot fence, bottom four feet was solid and top two feet was picket. I used to leave my dog in the front yard during the day while I was at work with the front gate padlocked (I’d just use the back entrance). Never had a problem with mail or delivery people. Then one day I got a packing slip and was bummed I had to go to the post office to pick it up so I let them know they can throw the packages into our yard and that my dog won’t rip it up. I think I started a chain reaction… I really believe she thinks the mail and delivery people were throwing things at her. I’m pretty sure she was subsequently sprayed by whatever that mace stuff is you carry because she was confused and probably pissed things were flying into our yard and was most likely barking at that point. Since then, she doesn’t like you. I’ve been trying to fix this for a few years now and have decided it’s better to just distract her and keep her calm because in essence, she’s just protecting me and the house. She once barked so hard at a mailman that she literally pooped while standing up. Shot a little nugget out. No joke.

    Now, you can’t blame her breed, pit bull. My dog has never once attacked another dog, jumped on a human, or any other bad behavior. She doesn’t even pull on a leash – she’s well trained (had to considering her breed and I want to be an educated good owner). She’s indoors now and away from any delivery during the day, but if we’re still out on a walk or a UPS guy comes into our courtyard to make deliveries… she’s on a leash and I make her sit and wait. …same thing if she sees a cat I suppose. Hair is in a mohawk and she’s ready to protect if she wasn’t on a leash but I’m not sure what else to do. Caeser Milan may be on the ol’ to do list.

    At any rate, read about your blog in CityBeat and figured I’d come check it out. Definitely makes me laugh because it’s sad but true… all dogs hate the mailman. Love the pictures!

    1. i have a pit bull to but he is a male rednosed two and a half year old named kilo and i love him to death but i just dont understand why dogs bark at the mailman thats just stupid. why would he bark at a white mail truck but not a blue chevrolete or green mustang??????

  61. Dogs are scared. They are protecting their territory. Everyone on here that says their mail-person loves dogs, doesn’t say anything about them being attacked. If you’re too scared, then take the appropriate action to have the owner move their mailbox somewhere safe. If you’re still too scared that the dogs are going to attack you, then don’t deliver mail for a living. It’s your choice to have that job, just like any job. And, the pay/benefits for working for the postal service are better than most jobs in the U.S. that don’t require anything past a high school degree. So, be happy with what you have, or fix it, or quit and do something else. Leave the dogs alone, it’s not their fault.

  62. 1) This entry is amazing.

    2) The people who post in the comments “LULZ MY DOG IS A TERROR TOO ISN’T THAT JUST THE FUNNIEST WHAT A SMALL WORLD” might be the biggest nitwits on the internet. Which is saying something. What the heck, y’all? Sigh.

    3) This entry is amazing. (Linked from Gawker, sorry about your job 😦 )

  63. interesting stories. my motto was “lets be friends.” a rhodesian ridgeback dog protected me from beginning to end on my inner city route . it was the treats along with the welfare checks that helped out.U see that I helped out the local neighborhood economy & the local dope dealers made sure to protect me even though there were ak 47 shootings & drug turf wars, DEA raids etc all around me.
    Yes, I could write a book about the PO intimidation having been both a carrier & a manager.
    do U realize that there R more than 70k, yes that is 70,000 stray dogs, in motown ([detroit) alone.
    & do remember that this area was known as the arsenal of democracy during ww2 & also as branch1 of the NALC that helped to establish the middle class citizens of this country.

  64. interesting stories. my motto was “lets be friends.” a rhodesian ridgeback dog protected me from beginning to end on my inner city route . it was the treats along with the welfare checks that helped out.U see that I helped out the local neighborhood economy & the local dope dealers made sure to protect me even though there were ak 47 shootings & drug turf wars, DEA raids etc all around me.
    Yes, I could write a book about the PO intimidation having been both a carrier & a manager.
    do U realize that there R more than 70k, yes that is 70,000 stray dogs, in motown ([detroit) alone.
    & do remember that this area was known as the arsenal of democracy during ww2 & also as branch1 of the NALC that helped to establish the middle class citizens of this country.

  65. 1- i would NEVER allow my dog to rip up my mail
    2- if your dog bites someone accident or not YOU are responsible and your dog WILL be taken away and quarantined. When it comes out because it was most likely quarantined at animal control your dog will probably have kennel cough as well as pick up other costly things avoid the cost of vet bills and a lawsuit and be responsible for your dogs sake

    1. if my pit bull bit some one while he was on his chain and the police said he had to be killed or put down i would HIDE him from the police so…….thanks

  66. I just want to say as a former postal worker Casual – trained T.E., I know the slave mentality. Women who work there don’t need to have a name, because as long as we are working there the boss(es) of many call on us each as ‘Hey female go to the doc’, and etc…

  67. Okay … as a dog owner I feel beyond compelled to reply … I find this article interesting, but not near as much as you people with your “dumb@$$” and “F***ed” up comments to us dog owners.
    First of all I have one aggressive dog (not my choice, belongs to my fiancee who got him before I was in the picture, a rescue dog that is mean as hell, probably from abuse when he was young) and one “barker” that will pee on himself if you walk up to him, he is that timid.
    You people that are making those nasty ass comments to everyone else, need to silent your muzzle. We (my fiancee and I) do EVERYTHING we can to keep our dogs from in anyway annoying, scaring or in ANY way pissing off our mailman. Unfortunately, we have JOBS and cannot be home every second of every single day to babysit.
    However you are missing the main point here … a dog’s main instinct is to protect their home and their owner’s whether or not they are currently home at the time, that matters not to the dog, it knows it’s “job”.
    The mailman, appears and dissapears quickly – just because he is not walking away because they barked at him, doesn’t mean the dog knows that. They see the desired reaction from their behavior and continue it to protect their home.
    I am not in support of bad dog behavior, but you people feeling the need to say nasty little comments to dog owners just because they admitted to having a bad dog – need to stop, grow up and save some of those insults for when you look in the mirror as I am sure you have never walked on water.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. These people have the nerve to blame the dogs and their people. We can’t be home all the time just for the stupid mailman/woman!

      1. Tell that to the judge after he slaps you with the typical $10,000 judgement plus reimbursement to the USPS for the lost time of the carrier and medical treatment, you idiot. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your dog at all times, home or not.

  68. Why are you photography peoples’ homes and pets while being paid to do a job? As a TE I know for a fact this is NOT part of your job description. This is invasion of privacy. Obviously you do not respect that. None of these dogs seem harassing in nature. Now that you have gotten your 5 minutes of fame off the backs of hard working individuals in the Post Offices I hope any future employers see you for what you are. I have worked in the USPS for over 28 years as a carrier, clerk, Postmaster and IT Mgr. I grew up on a farm. Every day was a challenge and most of the time hard work. I don’t believe you know what the meaning of that is. I has seen the wash-ups that can’t hack it. They range from retired school teachers to factory workers. And the young incompetents of the next generation are the worse. Good luck my friend.

  69. All of these comments are hilarious. I am a letter carrier (15 years) and here is my thought – while the dog thinks that it is protecting the owner/house is one idea. Another is – how many of you roll up a magazine or catalog and swat the dog with it? We are the people who bring you those. Stop doing it. Also – a few fixes to any dog problem – 1.) Anytime the four legged creature comes near you – spray the hell out of it – after a couple of times the dog gets the message – or if you do not have the heart for that – 2.) Shut the delivery off – once the owner has to wait in line at the post office for their mail – and we all know how long that is (sorry clerks but it is true) the situation should be handled and if that does not work – 3.) Shut delivery off for the whole street – it is amazing what kind of pull pissed off neighbors who are now spending their Saturday mornings at the post office have on a dog owner. I love the comment about the most important piece of mail going in the slot first – I fed a tax refund check to a dog lately – note to owners – get all checks direct deposited.

    1. i hope ur sooo not my mailman cause i would sue u if u spray my dog with mace or something like that and feed my dog my check or mail…….:(

      1. Take control and care of your dog and it will never be an issue. If not and it goes after the mailman, your dog gets sprayed. Your dog eating the mail is your problem – again. Train the dog. Oh, and if the dog attacks the mailman, you have absolutely no chance in a lawsuit if he/she sprays the dog.

  70. These dogs see a stranger come to their house, and are just being territoryal!!!! You deserve to be fired. Don’t be a stupid mailman if you do not like the job!!!!!!!!!

    1. What an ignorant comment. If the dog attacks, it is going down. Tina is simply protecting herself from being bitten. Not wanting to be bitten has nothing to do with liking the job. Being chewed on is not part of work.

  71. I’m not a mail delivery person, but I’m amazed at the poor restraint of dogs. I take mine out for a walk and our neighbors’ dogs (including an adorable pit puppy named Lola) always run up to my dog, wanting to play, because their owners don’t restrain them. So, then, I’m holding back my dog, who is snarling and snapping, and the other owner is oohing and ahhing, “Oh! She wants to play!” No, she wants to tear your dog up.

    She’s not a vicious dog, but she is very protective of me. If she’s in the backyard and one of the dogs come up to play at the fence, she’ll wag her tail and spank the ground with her paws and her butt in the air, and they’ll have a great time playing through the fence. But if anyone (dog or otherwise) comes up to me, she’ll get in between us and defend me. However, I know about this, and I always keep her on a leash and warn people who want to pet her that she has never bitten before, but she is overly protective and will try if they get too close. Thank goodness she doesn’t percieve toddlers and little kids as a threat, because my neighbors don’t watch them either and they come bounding over to pet her. She licks ’em and puts up with them pulling on her.

    As for her interaction with our mail delivery service, she’ll go up to the door and bark, but she’ll cock her head and wag her tail as soon as I tell her, “They’re good.” And if she continues, then a swift pop to the rump and a loud, “Lucy!” will stop her. I don’t abuse my dog by any means (she’s a brat), but there is no reason that an innocent delivery person should have my thirty-five pound dog charging after him/her while they’re just trying to do their job.

  72. Hey read about you on AOL news. I can’t say I totally relate to your experience, but I did work for the 2010 Cesus and yeah, the dogs and PEOPLE try to kill you. However, what I wanted to say was don’t go looking for another job. You have a new job..BLOGGING! And if you are really passionate about writing, write a book about your experience. Screw the man!

    Good Luck!

  73. when our mailman/mailwoman come they come to our dang mail box not to our door but when our newspaper woman comes to our door once a month to get the money we owe her and she is just terrified of our two and a half year old red-nosed pit bull, kilo!!! i find that funny cause he bit a man on the leg and caused he had to go to the hospital, but kilo was on his chain, jumped on a little boy and chased several turkeys. he was raised around white/hispanic ppl so he hates blacks not to be racist i have alot of black whites and hispanics cousins and i love them all but kilo hates them all so bye……..:)

  74. jeez people have a mailbox by the road or in front where the dog is fenced in the back or kept in the house. is it really that fun to watch them bark and go crazy and rip up mail?

  75. I have 3 dogs, one is friendly with everyone, one hates everyone she doesn’t know including mail carriers and the other is in between the two variations. I’ve discussed with the city and the post office about placing a mailbox at the end of the yard rather than at my door on numerous occasions, but they state I cannot do that. I think its absurd. I know my dogs behavior and I shouldn’t have to keep them locked inside all afternoon until I know the mail has been delivered because the mailman must come up to my front door. I am a responsible dog owner, I know the dogs personalities and what they do and don’t like. Strangers are a no no in my yard or at my front door. If I had my choice I’d play it safe and put a box away from my door so that my dogs can run the yard like they should be able to do, and the mailman can be safely out of their reach.

  76. This is a reason why dogs bark at mailmen: He/she finds the mailman “spooky” (they are a stranger to them, and any stranger can be a possible threat, remember, they are DOGS). Dogs bark/growl, etc to make the stranger/threat go away. When the mailman comes, he/she drops off the mail, then quickly leaves. To the dog, his barking/growling has worked! He has made this spooky, unknown being leave! Since this happens EVERY day, the dog has now been conditioned to exhibit the exact same behavior with the exact same senario. Not to fret, there is a remedy to this behavior! Read the book “The Culture Clash” by Jean Donaldson. It is an EXCELLENT book explaning dog behavior and the relationship between dogs and humans. This book is a must have for any/all dog owners.

  77. You’re blog is a hoot! I love dogs and own them, but at the same time, I know some dogs can be obnoxious and any dog can be unpredictable. So I think it’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure that their dogs are properly maintained so they don’t become a liability and threat to anyone. As far as I know, my dogs would never bite anyone but then I don’t give them that opportunity, either. I don’t want to find out the hard way and I’m sure no one else does!

    When I was a teenager, I had a dog who was loveable to me, but HATED strangers. And he WOULD bite. I kept the dog fenced securely in our back yard and away from where he could possibly get at anyone just passing by. However, some visitors were the problem. The would come up to the fence, the dog would be snarling, barking, throwing a fit, baring his teeth. I would say, “Please do not put your hand across the fence, this dog bites!” You would think the dog’s reaction to them alone would be enough to discourage any overtures. But, as if they just didn’t believe me (or him) they would put their hand in the fence. Surely no dog would bite THEM. Inevitably, they’d get bitten and then want to get huffy with me because my dog bit them! Subsequently, came the complaints to the health department and my dog having to be impounded for 10 days, with me paying room and board, even though his shots were always kept up-to-date. Oh well. I guess I went thru a lot to keep that crazy dog for 14 years.

  78. I had many close calls. One time after leaving a package by a front door i was halfway back to the truck when the customer let the dogs out. they chased me the rest of the way back to the truck and almost got me. They were barking their heads off and showing their teeth. The customer yelled, “oh, they wont bother you, they just want to be mounted”. I was like “What?”. People are so stupid. If those dogs bit me i would have sued the crap out of the homeowner for everything they got.

    On another note. I’ve been a rural substitute carrier (RCA) for 11 years. No benefits, no retirement. If i ever do become permanant those 11 years do not count. I would effectively be starting all over. Its funny, you can work 1 day a week at like Home Depot for example and get medical, sick leave, 401k, etc. Here i work for the Govt for 11 years, dont get medical, no retirement, not eligible to contribute to the Thrift Savings plan, my time in does not count for anything. They are not moving anybody up, there have been 3 vacant routes for over 2 years. I hear they want to implement a part time work force.

    People also need to stop paying their bills online or at least continue to receive their paper statements. People are losing their jobs because of online bill pay and e-statements due to declining mail volumes and routes being consolidated. People should support their local postal workers by getting paper statements in the mail and by, yes, getting on the shit list. We need more junk mail, it will save jobs. You might not like to get junk mail but it helps to keep people employed, something this economy needs. So please, go to online retailers and request those catalogs, get information packets that you do not need just to get the mail volume back up or more postal workers will be out of work. What if it was your job on the line? Please help us by saying yes to junk mail and hard copies of your statements and say no to e-statements etc.

    Thanks! I just needed to vent.

  79. P.S. There is a law in many states called the Leash law. By law your dog, if outside, is supposed to be tied up or on a leash, it is not allowed to be roaming free. Some municipalities also have their own leash law. So, if your dog is roaming free in the yard you may be violating the Law!

  80. Keep everyone safe:
    1) always remember your pet may not bite you but will bite me
    2) always secure the pet in another room BEFORE you open the door
    3) do not allow your pet outside the house without a leash
    4) just because there is screen or glass between me and your pet does not mean that I am safe
    5) if your pet is inside a fence the mailbox should not be anywhere near that fence and it is best if the pet is out of sight of the mailbox
    6) if your mailperson tells you that you need to address a problem with your pet please do so immediately because experience is a powerful teacher
    Yes I am a mail carrier and yes I have been attacked by a dog that does not bite. I can not tell you how many close calls I have had because of irresponsible pet owners. It is very frustrating to try to do my job within the time constraints that the managers in the Post Office want the job done and trying to fight off these pets. I have had people laugh when their pet tried to rip my limbs off my body and I have had people acutually command the pet to attack me. There is no requirement in my job description relating to pets. My job is to deliver the mail safely. It is the pet owner’s job and responsibility to control their pet and keep everyone safe. Please do your part as a pet owner.

  81. Please help, ok first of all I understand that no one wants to get bitten by a dog, but here’s my problem, I have lived in my current home for 6 years, never had a problem with the mail being deliver, no there’s a problem, my carrier won’t deliver mail cause she says dogs are out, also put a sticker on my mail saying to “please secure my dogs” now this what I don’t understand, my house is gated and the mailbox is on a post and facing the outside of the gate, there’s more, my wife waited for the carrier, and the carrier made a comment as to say the she did not have to delivery if she feels threaten, and is going to report us to the nearest humane society about our dogs, really has it come to this with our USPO…. My dogs, yes bark, yes big, and yes are behind a gate and yes have all their shots and licensed. I made a complaint to the supervisor but still no mail, even the super said he has not seen a problem in my neighborhood, but now he won’t return my calls and still no mail, can someone tell me what shaw I do next?

    1. Put the mailbox on the OUTSIDE of the gate FACING the street… sure that the dog cannot jump up and bite the mailman’s arm…..just keep the damn dog AWAY so the mailman can do his job. He has at least 600 more stops. How would you like it if you could not do your job because someone was annoying you by sitting in your chair or using ur computer. How bout when you mow your yard, ur lawn mower was missing? Just the mailman do his job and SECURE your dog cause if she has a certified letter for you, she aint coming in the gate either!!

  82. this is one of the best journalistic vignettes EVER.. if you want to publish this, contact me, i’d love to help.. this is absolutely great and very important subject material. i want to see over 100 hires photos of snarling dogs, waiting for their Mail Carrier Delivery, as if it’s chinese take out, being delivered to the dog.. mmmm… freshly scared mail carrier.. tasty!! here postman, here here… i’m over here… rufff ruff ruff… awww… ate another mailman.. that’s the dog’s dream.. when they are laying down kicking and asleep.. they are chasing mailmen and other small animals.. this photo essay puts pictures to a frightening and hilarious reality our mail carriers brave daily, and we need to put this out in public more..

  83. I am also a letter carrier. I like the comment someone made about suing the mailman over spraying the dog and feeding him the check…. good luck with that. it’ll never happen. I show NO MERCY to aggressive unleashed dogs. My customers will tell you, if you think your dog’s free time to run around unleashed is more important than my safety, then you’ll learn the truth as your taking him to the vet after i hurt him. i admit i have a longer fuse with smaller dogs, but in the end all dogs are eligible to catch the postal scanner to the cranium.

  84. I blame the owners for the dog acting that way. Especially if you have a pit bull type dog , you shouldn’t have that type of dog if you can’t control them with the mailman.i have a pit bull type dog and she is well behave dog. The mailman could knock on my door and she would just go to the door and sits and greet the mailman or whoever come to my door, even if she does not know them.she doesnt even bark when someone knocks like most door do. I hate when a lot of dog owner use the excuse that the dog does that because they are protected with their place, that’s bs if you would train your dog and discipline your dog they would act like my dog. Dogs that act like that would bite someone someday and you should never trust them with nobody especially if you own a pit bull type and stop giving them a bad rep . If you can not discipline and train your dog to behave with anybody that comes to the house you should not own a dog. Been breeding American pitbull terrier for years and all of them were good dog to stranger and mailman.

  85. It’s interesting, there appear to be two types of mail carriers 1) those that understand and respect the interaction required with dogs as a part of their career choice 2) those that believe all dogs pose a threat to them and the only side of the equation that needs fixing is on the canine/owner side.

    It was published that there were just under 3000 dog bites reported my mail carries in 2009. In 2009 there were approximately 77.5 million dogs in the US. It’s safe to assume that a certain percentage of the dog bites were serious and the balance was minor nips of an overly sensitive employee looking for some paid time off. So for the USPS employees that keep saying they’d be rich if they had a dollar for every time a dog owner said they’re dog is the nicest on the block, right after biting someone, that means their definition of rich is an additional $3000 dollars per year.

    In contrast, there were 10,839 deaths related to drunk driving and 1.3 million violent crimes reported in 2009 with a population of 305 million people. The numbers don’t lie; people are far more dangerous than dogs. Maybe we should put ALL people on leashes since we know a certain number are bad apples?

    Not sure if the mail carriers care, but the USPS is a failing business. Alienating customers because of their dogs seems like a counterintuitive approach. I wonder how many carries get bad flues due to delivering mail in inclement weather. I bet more than 3000 per year. Maybe they should only deliver mail on days when the temperature is between 65-80 degrees. That would help keep medical costs down. Yes, I’m being overly silly but you see why! What happened to stereotypical kick ass mail man? You know, the guy/gal that knew everyone on his route, went the extra mile and didn’t complain about a little rain, snow, sleet or dogs!!

    I suggest the USPS embrace dogs, train their carriers how to identify aggressive traits verses passive defensive traits and learn about different breeds. With that said I agree that certain breeds have a proven history (statistically) to be more aggressive and pose a greater risk the public and should be treated differently. It’s the reason some cities have these dogs on “lists”. My first job at age 14 was at a dog kennel, shoveling dog crap. I learned real quick which dogs were aggressive and how to deal with them; at 36 I still have some scars as proof. Not all breeds/dogs are the same and the sooner mail carriers accept that, the safer and more educated they’ll be.

    But in the end, if you’re scared of heights, don’t get a job as a window washer!

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