USPS dog attacks: Pet parents, we need to talk about protecting postal workers from dog bites

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(Photo credit: Philippe Gerber/Getty Images)

Cartoons, movies, and comics are replete with scenes of beleaguered postal workers being chased by dogs. But beyond pop culture’s light-hearted depiction of the dog vs. postman relationship, it’s also a serious problem.

Today, the United States Postal Service (USPS) issued details on the number of dog attacks on postal workers in 2021. Throughout the year, there were more than 5,400 cases of dogs pursuing postal workers attempting to deliver mail and packages.

Houston was the city with the most attacks, followed by Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Denver. The USPS relayed the information ahead of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which begins June 12.

As we’re all about responsible pet parenting at DogTime, the news is a helpful prompt to remind us of some simple steps and precautions we can take to ensure that the mail — and all those shopping packages in important line – continue to arrive safely.

Tips to protect postal workers from dog bites

BOSTON - APRIL 17: Sissy walked the Dorchester Postal Route with Forest Catron of the US Postal Service for about fourteen years.

(Photo credit: David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Dogs protect their family. So it makes sense that they see a postman as an outsider and a threat. However, we must take steps to prevent bites and attacks as responsible pet parents.

First, if your dog has a history of aggression, you should begin an appropriate training program and contact a professional behaviorist or trainer for help. This is for your own dog’s safety, as well as the safety of others. Your vet can probably point you in the right direction.

You can find a guide to the different types of canine aggression here. Understanding them can help you determine the type of training your dog needs.

But beyond training, even a dog with no history of aggression may attack if it senses its territory or family is in danger from a stranger.

The Postal Service has provided some additional tips for avoiding dog bites:

  • The USPS recommends making sure your dog stays safe inside and away from the front door during your regular mail delivery time window. You may even want to put your dog on a leash if he’s showing any particular enthusiasm when the postman arrives.
  • Second, make sure young children don’t take mail directly from a postman, as your guard dog might view them as a threat to your children.
  • Finally, the USPS also advises its own workers to avoid the temptation to try to pet dogs they encounter on their way.

How does your dog react when the mail is delivered? Is your dog impatiently awaiting the arrival of the postman? Let us know in the comments below!

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