Cases of dog attacks on postmen are on the rise, prompting Australia Post to issue a plea to pet owners across the country.
The company has recorded more than 1173 incidents in the last financial year- an increase of more than 400 from the previous year.
Every weekday, an average of five postmen are being chased or bitten by a dog, leading to both physical and mental trauma.
Australia Post is urging owners to make their dogs a friend, not a foe, of the postie (image: stock)
Campaign to stop dog attacks on postmen
The surge in attacks has led to Australia Post launching a campaign to stop dogs attacking posties.
The “even good dogs have bad days” campaign urges owners to lock pets up when posties come around.
Australia Post provides dog safety training, but with the rise of online shopping, more posties than ever are falling prey.
While it can be unsettling for owners, as well as the delivery man, experts say it’s an easy habit to break with a bit of training and education.
Protect the postie by training your dog
PETstock Ambassador and pet behaviourist, Lara Shannon, says there’s simple ways owners can prevent dog attacks on postmen.
“Many dog breeds were bred to chase and herd animals,” says Lara. “So that is why we see many of the working dog breeds, in particular, that love to do the same with other pets as well as people.”
“The dogs often react to all things on wheels also, which includes a postie on a bike unfortunately!”
Lara says that many of the safety measures put in place to protect the postman, can actually cause them being chased by dogs.
“High-vis tops, helmets, flags on bikes all draw attention, so that them more appealing to a dog that loves to chase things.”
It’s never to late to train your pet, but Lara says it’s best to start young so their anxiety doesn’t flare up around moving objects.
“If a puppy hasn’t been positively socialised with moving objects then they may react negatively in those situations.
“Barking, lunging, chasing and biting are all common behaviours of dogs that feel anxious and threatened.”
Training is key to preventing dog attacks on the postman, but there’s many simple ways owners can help prevent an attack.
Easy tips to stop dog attacking posties
- Start early – socialising a puppy or young dog is the best way to prevent attacks and generalised anxious behaviour.
- Put up a warning sign if dogs live on the property and if possible, move your letterbox to a safe area away from your dogs.
- Keep dogs in backyards if they are reactive to passersby or people approaching the house in the front yard.
- Put your dog in another room or on lead if you’re aware that a postie is approaching the front door.
- Do not allow your dog to ‘rehearse’ unwanted behaviours. By constantly allowing your dog to bark at approaching strangers in the front yard, it will occur more often and with greater insensity.
- Rehearse the ‘sit and stay’ method with your dog. Start by walking them to the front door, and then tell your dog to “sit and stay”. When they do so, reward them with either their favourite treat, a pet or a toy. The next step is to open the door and see how your dog reacts. If they break their stay, close the door and try it again until they’re successful.
- Work with a trainer to desensitise them to bikes, fluorescent work gear and helmets.
- If you’re really concerned, jump online and authorise alternative delivery options for parcels.
For more training advice such as preventing your dog attacking the postmen, head to the PETstocks website!
Australia Post has more information about attacks and their campaign on their website.