Why does a barking dog bark?

Updated: Oct 25, 2010 07:42 AM EDT
Your dog may think she has good reason to bark at the mailman. (©iStockphoto.com) Your dog may think she has good reason to bark at the mailman. (©iStockphoto.com)
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The United States Postal Service reports that thousands of urban and rural mail carriers are bitten each year by dogs. It's such a serious problem that the U.S. Postal Service helps spread the word about National Dog Bite Prevention week every year.

Certain territorial dogs are very disturbed by mail carriers. Think about it from your dog's perspective: An individual shows up daily, so he or she means business and poses a potential threat. The carrier often comes right to the door. The carrier may even slide scary objects through the door, invading your dog's space.

Some dogs even become conditioned that their bark helps to ward off the carrier. Each day the mail delivery person comes, your dog barks and the carrier leaves. To the dog, that means its loud technique is working. Better socialization of your pet, such as through training classes, can improve its behavior around all people, including your dutiful mail carrier.

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