Does your dog bark at people in uniform?

All of us have experienced our dogs barking at the mail carrier or the FEDEX guy delivering a parcel.  Our knee-jerk reaction is to react to the sympton, which is the barking, rather than respond to the cause, which is probably excitement.  Most people never think about what is causing the dog to bark; he might be afraid, he might simply be saying hello.  In essence, he perceives that he’s doing his job.  In most cases, people deal with the barking by yelling at the dog, hitting him with a newspaper, or jerking him on the leash to get him to stop.  Regardless of the reason the dog was initially barking, he now associates the mail carrier walking toward him as a danger because of the bad things that happened to him when he barked at that person.  So now the dog has a growing aggression problem toward people in uniforms approaching the house.  Imagine, on the other hand, if every time the mail carrier showed up and the dog started barking, you interrupted him with a phrase like “Who’s that?”  and then gave him a treat.

You will have ended the barking and the dog will have associated the mail carrier with something positive.  So, by using this nonviolent, positive approach, you’ve stopped the barking and, in the process, you’ve made your dog more social.

Tips from Paul Owens & Norma Eckroate


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