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Dog Safety Tips for Delivery Drivers – Diva’s Domain

August 18, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost dog owners don’t want their dogs to ever bite someone. They take caution to put the dog in a separate yard, or in a wire crate or otherwise confined so a delivery or service person can approach without getting bitten. Yet every year many people are bitten in the course of their job.

If someone isn’t aware of dogs they don’t know how their body language and postures can affect them. Having had service people in our home and having several dogs living here we try to insure our dogs are socialized friendly animals. They can be approached by strangers. They have been handled by strangers (such as the first time to a vet) without being harmed or aggressive.

A telephone service man was in the home a while back and Freckles, a border collie, initially barked as many dogs will then obeyed when told to go lay down. He worked with the wires and got the phone working again, even with shining a flashlight around Freckles didn’t do anything.

Contrast that to a visit from a cable service person – who came in with a different presence. Freckles was clearly not comfortable with him, barking and tense postured. I put her – and her daughter – in a wire crate for the time the man was here. As he stretched and moved things to hook up a new cable she made it clear she didn’t like him in the home. As the service call was finished he picked up the faulty wire, turned around and waved it towards me while stepping towards me. He can thank his lucky stars she was confined – as I am not sure if she wasn’t if he’d not have gotten bitten. The tone in barking turned very serious and was intercepted with low growls and lunges at the carrier restraining her. He was doing it innocently – she was seeing a man she didn’t trust was coming towards her owner like he was going to hit me. While that wasn’t the case – the dog’s world is different. She has no concept that cable didn’t work so the tv doesn’t work. Her life is more primal – this person is a threat to my family.

While there are some people dogs just don’t like there’s also dogs who don’t like people. As an owner it is important to be clear with anyone visiting to use caution. Actions like stepping off a ladder, thrusting a wire overhead, pulling a cable through an opening can be interpreted differently by a dog. A dog is home protection, but at the same time we normally don’t need protected from the person installing a television cable or delivering a pizza. Some people carry goodies for dogs and before doing anything greet the dog.

It’s important for an owner to have their dog under control. It’s equally important for workers who are not comfortable with dogs to say so and require a dog owner to put the dog up before entering the home. It doesn’t matter if the dog is a poodle or a pitbull – if a dog is tense and clearly agitated do not go further until that situation is dealt with. Do not under any circumstances step past the owner or bump the owner in a rush to get on with the job. A thirty second delay could well save you from a painful bite from a dog who thinks his owner is being attacked.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomeone delivering packages, newspapers or mail can be greeted less than enthusiastically. Some bites occur when handing a dog owner an object for a signature. While it’s the owner’s responsibility to control the dog there is also a responsibility from workers to not encourage a bite. Sometimes the equipment carried or used in the course of the job scares a dog, which can result in a bite. Some dogs don’t like flashlights. Sometimes stretching or rushing for the door to the home can be all that’s needed to bring out “I need to protect my owner” in a dog.

Most bites are not done by truly vicious dogs – it’s a conflict between a person’s actions and a dog’s perception and instincts. With some consideration of the dog’s view many bites can easily be prevented, making things easier and safer for owner, visitor and dog. Ultimately the dog is the loser, unfairly deemed as being “vicious” and, if the wrong breed, immediately condemned to death. While not an excuse for keeping a truly vicious dog, most dogs kept in a home situation are not vicious. Dogs react – people think. And when situations happen where there are people in your home it’s up to the people to think and protect themselves and the dog from her actions.

  • Dog owners are responsible for their dogs.
  • Delivery and service people need to be aware of their actions when dogs are near.
  • Dogs can misunderstand the actions of strangers.

Did you know? The post office can refuse to deliver to a home with a threatening dog.

Excerpt from Dog Tails & Tales

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