THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall

MY lo­cal postie is a good bloke who un­der­stands dogs. His de­liv­ery round abounds with ca­nines and Mike smooths the way with a bag of treats.

Dogs who take bor­der pro­tec­tion se­ri­ously are look­ing out for our bicycling postie with a whole new agenda.

There’s no need to loudly de­fend ter­ri­tory from this friend who brings a treat each day.

It’s more likely there would be an outcry if he didn’t stop at their mailbox.

Tra­di­tion­ally, dogs and post­men have a tense re­la­tion­ship.

Dogs confi ned to their yard or spend­ing too much time alone are likely to see the post­man’s reg­u­lar ar­rival as a wel­come dis­trac­tion in an other­wise dull day.

They rel­ish their chance to let fl y with a strong mes­sage, bark­ing loudly to let the in­ter­loper know he is on their patch and he’d bet­ter move along.

And of course he does, ev­ery sin­gle time, so their mis­sion is re­li­ably ac­com­plished.

The reg­u­lar­ity of the postie’s ar­rival and de­par­ture is per­fect for pets who thrive on rou­tine, and that’s pretty much all dogs.

It also pro­vides an out­let for their in­stinc­tive be­hav­iour to give chase and de­fend ter­ri­tory.

Dogs’ ter­ri­to­rial in­stinct to pro­tect their patch cou­pled with con­sis­tent and repet­i­tive suc­cess in get­ting the postie to re­treat, re­in­forces their be­hav­iour day in, day out.

It’s not an easy habit to break, es­pe­cially in the ab­sence of an un­der­stand­ing post­man.

If your lo­cal postie is keen to work on the “re­la­tion­ship”, you could try in­tro­duc­ing your dog.

If time per­mits, stand around for a brief nat­ter and give the post­man some treats to hand over. Do it for a few days in a row and chances are you and the postie will have coun­ter­acted the dog’s ter­ri­to­rial re­sponse.

Some dog own­ers leave treats in the let­ter­box for the postie to hand over, mak­ing mail- stops an en­tirely pos­i­tive and plea­sur­able ex­pe­ri­ence for the dog, the postie and the neigh­bour­hood.

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