The old cliche about dogs hating mailmen often extends to delivery men, and in some instances, they may even attack them. This situation is often nasty because it may lead to the dog being put down or even lawsuits to cover your hospital expenses. Understanding why dogs attack delivery men (and how to avoid it) can help you avoid this situation and do your job in peace.
They May Be Overprotective
Dogs have a natural instinct to protect their home and the well being of their loved ones. So when a delivery man shows up (who is likely somebody they don't know), they may develop overprotective tendencies that may impel them to act aggressively towards you as you come in to deliver a package.
Sometimes, they may even attack you if you get too close. It all depends on how threatened they feel by you and how you behave during your confrontation. There's a chance that you might be inadvertently activating another instinct that may cause the dog to attack: their prey instinct.
Their "Prey" Instinct May Kick In
If an aggressive dog causes you to panic and flee (an understandable reaction), your movements may activate what is known as the "prey" instinct. Dogs are often driven to chase animals that flee in the wild, such as rabbits and squirrels. If the dog is already on edge about your presence and you move away too quickly, they may suddenly see you as prey and attack.
That's when it's so important to know how to approach an unfamiliar dog and how to calm its overprotective nature. There are certain behavior patterns that will naturally calm a dog and make it more receptive to your presence.
How To Handle The Situation
When a dog is acting aggressively towards you, but not attacking, it is important to create a neutral presence that calms the dog's nerves. They are perceiving you as a threat, but if you hold out your hand with your fingers closed and the palm up, you are creating a neutral pose and a spot of curiosity that may attract the dog's attention.
Wait to see how they react to this situation. Many dogs will drop their head, perk their ears, or begin behaving in a friendly way. At this point, they are safe to approach and even interact with. However, if they continue acting aggressively, other steps may be necessary, such as using a dog deterrent.
If you don't own a dog deterrent and are a delivery man, it is important to pick up one right away. They can help protect you in situations when an aggressive dog simply won't calm down or if they are moments away from attacking you.
For more information, contact Sound Defense or a similar company.