The bad press concerning dogs and the “mailman”, probably began during Pony Express Times. Imagine riding 100 miles with an important letter only to be set upon by a pack of hounds! The horses must have been scared witless. Yes, dogs have protective instincts and many good and faithful dogs do not distinguish delivery people from an intruder, even if they see him or her every day. After all, they have no concept of “mail” or a love of “Amazon Prime”, so to them, this stranger rides up in a noisy truck or walks up the driveway with a box, or worse, a disembodied hand pokes out of a truck to shove some paper in that big box or slot attached to the house. Sometimes they walk right up and ring the doorbell, saying someone has to “please sign for this!” The nerve of them! What’s a good dog to do?
Delivery people have been attacked, (or at least chased away) by loose overprotective dogs who bound up the driveway to accost the “stranger “who has the gall (in their opinion) to step on the property. In response, many delivery drivers carry pepper spray and other protective devices and gear to make sure they get to go home at the end of the day with their limbs intact. The postal service provides training on dealing with dogs.
Many mail carriers have had odd, weird and wonderful encounters with family dogs, including one now retired carrier who recalls a time when a young female Pitt Bull jumped into a mail truck and refused to get out until she got a ride around the block, which is against postal regulations. Perhaps she thought she could do some traveling postage free! Pepper spray is not all that many carriers keep in their pockets, as some dogs enjoy, with their parent’s permission, a small treat from their daily visitor.
According to an article complete with video footage featured on The Dodo sometimes dogs actually bond with one of these “strangers”. This was a mail carrier new to the route, so dog and man had not met before. No matter! Moose decided he liked the guy! From that day on, for a Golden Retriever named Moose who lives with the Gruszeynski family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, mail time is a fun time! Moose happily anticipates the sound of the mail truck and goes out to greet him. From the first time, Moose did a running jump at the mail carrier, a bond was formed. Now, Moose waits for his friend at the end of the driveway, looking forward to some quality time of greeting, nuzzling, and petting. The mailman could not be happier and assured the family that he plans to keep this route for a long, long time.
Moose is a superstar! Beautiful and powerful, Golden Retrievers are known to be friendly giants that in most situations can only harm you if they knock you off your feet. Moose is a wonderful family dog who even has his own Instagram page. To see more of this adorable Golden’s life, visit the Instagram Page. From the look of all those candid shots, including ones with his very special mail person, this dog leads quite a charmed life in a loving home.
Moose, like most Goldens, is highly intelligent and sensitive. He decided this new mailman was “the one” so Meghan Gruszeynski took a chance to let him out to make friends, and from the looks of the video, it was a wise choice. Moose is only a year and a half, and young dogs can be quite trainable and adaptable to new people and situations if properly socialized and trained. They can also intuitively sense who has good intentions and who could be trouble, so the same dog that might nuzzle the mail carrier might bite a burglar.
A dog’s reaction to those who serve us varies according to their past experience, personality, temperament, and training. Each and every time a delivery truck rolls up, my Chihuahua/Dachshund mix Zoe, snaps to attention and waits to hear footsteps on the stairs. She knows it’s not the slow stepping gentleman who lives next door, and she knows it’s not a friend. Her “mom” always gives the place a tidy up and brushes her hair when company is expected. No, this is a stranger! Whoo-hoo! You can just see the adrenaline rush. The bristles on the back of her neck stand to attention and she dashes back and forth to the door! Although they may seem like simplistic creatures, dogs take their family responsibilities quite seriously. Part of “pack” behavior is to go on “hyper-alert” and sound the whine or bark alarm when strangers approach. Even if that “stranger” comes to visit just about every single day.
They’ve seen him or her before, in fact, they know the sound and sight of the truck. For Zoe, delivery people are exciting, mystifying and sometimes, a bit off-putting! They don’t “belong”, yet they are welcome. She’s probably thinking “What’s up with that?” Once she sees me open the door or approach the person and “accept” him or her (dogs take cues from their parents i.e. body language, tone of voice), her tail stands up and wags and she often times sidles in for some attention for herself! My dog knows our mail delivery person by the sound of the truck and also her sound and probably smell, but as she is not overly friendly to Zoe (she may have had her own awful experience with dogs, you never know) Zoe just sits on the sidewalk and waits for her to fill all the community boxes.
Dogs bigger and/or more aggressive than my Zoe need dedicated training to not become a menace to those who bravely deliver our products and services. With the growing number of stores and restaurants providing door service, strangers coming to the door will only increase in number. One very helpful article on Pet Helpful, gives helpful tips on what you can do to ensure that the daily delivery experience is pleasant for the human and dog. We can all take a lesson and inspiration of how a mail carrier and Golden Retriever, Moose, became friends.