Rescue Dogs and Delivery Drivers: How to Keep Everyone Safe

You’ve given your new rescue dog lots of love, attention, and rewards for good behavior. He loves to cuddle and is the perfect companion. But what about the delivery driver that it sounds like your dog wants to eat? It’s a problem that’s so common classes are offered for delivery drivers on how to deal with delivering goods safely. It can be the pizza deliverer, UPS or FedEx driver, or even the daily mailman.

If you understand why your dog displays this behavior, you can take measures to stop it.

Why Dogs Hate the Delivery Driver

Dogs perceive delivery drivers, the pizza guy, plumbers, or any stranger that comes on “his” property as trespassers. His ancestral past is to blame. When canines only existed in the wild, they had to actively protect their territory including food, mates, and newborn pups.

Urine marking, a left-over behavior you’ve probably noticed in your dog was a sort of olfactory “No Trespassing “sign. If an intruder ignored the sign, the canines alerted it to back off through barking or more active aggression if needed. This aggression could lead to violent attacks.

When dogs eventually became domesticated, the residents of early villages appreciated their protective nature. After all, these dogs were alerting the villagers to dangers such as enemy invasions or predatory animals. Many of today’s dog breeds are predisposed to display passive alert barking or even more actively protecting their territory. While they may appear mostly angry, fear is a factor.

Aggression in dogs is a problem in modern society because of potential liability issues. In, some countries, Switzerland for one, all dog owners must have liability insurance.

When Barking Becomes Reinforcing

When your dog barks, the delivery driver leaves. Your dog has experienced success and has received an intrinsic reward. Additionally, fear and anger have triggered the release of rewarding chemicals in the brain such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. In a sense, barking becomes addictive to your dog. The sight of the driver and even the honking of the horn will trigger the barking.

Your dog will soon project this rewarding bark on service workers or any stranger who enters the home.

Training the Dog to Accept the Delivery Driver

There are strategies you can take to eliminate aggression toward delivery drivers. The sooner you begin this training the better.

Deal with dog aggression toward delivery drivers by keeping it down to a few alert barks before you take control. You must let the dog know you’re the one that decides who comes on your property. This can be accomplished through counterconditioning.

Some dog behavior experts suggest giving your delivery driver a box of treats to give your dog. This can work with regular drivers such as the mail carrier. The dog will replace the barking reward with a tangible and tasty one. You can also train your dog on an alternative behavior. Distract your dog and reward him for being quiet by giving him a treat after saying the word “reward.”

Safety First

It’s tough changing a dog’s behavior. This is especially true for a rescue dog who may have a sordid past you’re not aware of. The best safety practice to keep delivery people and your dog safe is to make sure gates and doors are secure at delivery times. You can also secure the dog in a back room. Keep him calm and reward him for remaining quiet. Dog bites and attacks on delivery drivers are all too common. If your dog does hurt a delivery or service person on or off your property, you could be liable for any medical expenses or damages they incur. Even if your dog seems friendly, you should always monitor them when someone comes to your home to protect the delivery or service person, as well as to teach your dog appropriate behavior.

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