The old jokes about dogs biting mail carriers are, unfortunately, true. Connecticut is second in mail carriers bitten by dogs out of the New England states. Although Connecticut sits in the middle of all 50 states, it still has a high number of dog attacks.
It is not just that mail carriers bear the brunt of these attacks. There is a higher rate of dog bites among most people who deliver products, letters and even food to your home.
Why do dogs attack mail carriers and delivery people?
First, this is not an aggression issue exactly, nor is it a breed issue. There are a few reasons why delivery people bear the brunt of the attack.
- Territory – Dogs are territorial and defend what they view as theirs.
- Recurring encounters – Since delivery people have similar routes, they return. If a dog barks or bites and the delivery person leaves, then comes back, it reinforces the behavior.
- Addictive chemicals – Fear and aggression release addictive chemicals in a dog’s brain.
Although there are other factors, these are the main reasons.
What can delivery people do?
There are a few things that delivery people can do to avoid a bite.
- Never attempt to feed or pet the dog
- Do not startle the dog
- Keep a watchful eye out
- Never think a dog will not bite
- Make noise while entering a yard
- Report any aggressive behavior
Each of these might prevent a bite.
More than 5,000 mail carriers receive bites annually in the U.S.A. 67 of the bites were in Connecticut. This does not include other delivery people. It is important to know basic dog safety measures.