We’re all familiar with the classic (and somewhat slapstick) image of a postman being chased down the garden lane by a barking dog who doesn’t like the look of the day’s delivery… but for many people this is a very real problem, with around nine postmen and women a day suffering dog attacks across the UK.
With the longer days and warmer nights, people up and down the country will be leaving their dogs outside for longer periods, often unsupervised, posing issues for your friendly postie who needs to get to your door and deliver your mail.
A couple of years ago, Royal Mail initiated a campaign to tackle this problem. Entitled ‘Dog Awareness Week’, the aim is to educate people with dogs how best to prevent attacks on postmen and women. They are also working in partnership with a number of dog and police charities to convey this message as broadly and effectively as possible.
So, what can you do to help prevent your local postman or woman from being a victim of a nasty bite from your usually-friendly pooch?
Firstly, it’s important to understand why your dog might react this way to postmen and women. In most cases it comes down to your dog’s primal instinct: protecting its territory. Your dog may usually be friendly, quiet and approachable to people it recognises, however once an unfamiliar face steps foot on what it deems to be its territory, it will react in a very defensive manner to show the postman or woman who’s boss. In most cases this won’t lead to much more than a nasty growl but if your dog is feeling particularly threatened or feels its family is at risk, it could lash out leading to injury and even legal action.
Royal Mail can legally refuse to deliver your post if they feel threatened, so it’s vital you offer a safe and convenient place for them to leave your post if your dog is roaming the yard.
If your regular postie has to enter your property via a gate and you’ve forgotten to lock the dog indoors, they might be met with a toothy welcome, so why not put a post box on the safe side of the gate? There are hundreds of options available, from U.S mailbox-style to fence or wall-mounted designs in both contemporary and traditional styles, so consider which is going to work best with the ground or wall space you have.
Does your postman or woman deliver your mail through the front door while your dog is safely gated in the yard or indoors? You might think this solves the problem, but have you thought about what happens if your dog runs to the door and bites the incoming hand through the letterbox? To avoid this, secure a letterbox cage to the inside of your letterbox which will catch all incoming post keeping it, and fingers, intact!
Royal Mail’s ‘Dog Awareness Week’ runs from 4th July so keep updated on Twitter @RoyalMailNews with what’s going on and how you can get involved.
A world where postie and pooch can live in harmony is on the horizon!