Boogie vs The Mailman

November 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm 3 comments

I think we are experiencing  a turning point in mailman relations. I think Mr. Mailman  has lost all tolerance and patience and he officially hates me.

It hasn’t always been this way.

The mailman and I used to be on good terms. He used to be a really nice to me and extremely tolerant of my snarling, barking, territorially-aggressive Boogie; and he even agreed to help out with our video submission to The Dog Whisperer Show should we ever decide to make one. Not that Mr. Mailman would have to DO anything or even smile at camera, He would only have to make an appearance in front of a growling lunging Boogie and act calm …

Many times, the mailman had said to me: “I don’t know what I have done to this dog. What have I done? Why does he feel this way about me?” And he continued to smile at Boogie from a distance, try to talk “nicely” to him, which made absolutely no difference whatsoever.

And many times I struggled to explain to him that it is nothing personal.

“Boogie doesn’t hate YOU personally. It’s just that you are a mailman. He is territorial. He behaves the same way towards UPS, Fed Ex, Yosemite Waters and the landlord.” (I didn’t tell him the bit about fat people, tall people, homeless people, and old asian people carrying bags…)

I have also assured Mr Mailman that he has nothing to worry about; he will be safe. My dog is always leashed when he is outdoors and I have him under control. Mr. Mailman shrugs. He continues to smile and say hi when he sees me even when my dog is embarrassingly unfriendly.

This week I am babysitting Butch and Emma, and when the mailman appears outside my apartment, all hell breaks loose.

ALL THREE DOGS run to the window and bark very loudly. Butch barks at anyone who passes by anyway (not aggressively, just being a dog) and Emma barks because Butch barks. But to the mailman it looks like three of them are ganging up against him and my dog is the bad seed that started it all. I look out the window and I see the Mr Mailman shaking his head, grumpy look on his face as he walks away.

This morning I was out walking the three dogs. The mailman appeared before us (came out of a building) and Boogie growled. I corrected him but it was too late because  Butch had barked  at Boogie and Boogie had lunged at Butch and Butch was fighting back and even though it was tricky situation with three leashes in my hands, within 3-5 seconds, I managed to separate the boys and have them both seated calmly next to me.

Unfortunately, the mailman saw all this happen right before his eyes and his mind was made up.

Mailman: “You should keep that dog away from everyone including the other dog.”

Me: “These dogs are fine together at home. What happened was my dog saw you, reacted to you and then this set off the fight. They are fine now”.

Mailman: “Oh really? (sarcasm) That dog is a problem. I don’t know why you keep a dog like that”.

I apologized and tried to reassure him (again) that he doesn’t have to feel unsafe. Everything is under control. Butch and Boogie were still seated calmly at my feet as I was saying this, but the mailman did not even look at me while he was talking.

Me: “I am sorry you had to see that. Don’t worry I have them under control”.

Mailman: (still not looking at me in a sarcastic tone) “Thank you, maam”.

Me (getting upset and defensive): “I mean, if you adopted a kid and that kid had problems and reacted badly to things, would you get rid of him? No. I keep my dog even though he has problems because I love him and care about him and I am working with him.”

Mailman: (still sarcastic) “Thank you, maam”.

I would probably feel the same way about Boogie if I were the mailperson, being barked at 5 days a week while I am just calmly doin’ my job, but I thought it was out of line for him to make that comment – “That dog is a problem. I don’t know why you keep a dog like that”.

I don’t know if I am being unreasonably sensitive about all this but obviously I am upset enough to write this blog post. I get upset whenever strangers make sarcastic comments, mean comments or roll their eyes when my dog reacts.

Can anyone else relate?


Some bookmarked dog-related blogs/sites:

DOGSTER “Good Dog” blog




I am also about to start reading Karen Pryor’s Reaching The Animal Mind.

Entry filed under: Social stuff, Training.

Staph :( Clicker-training Boogie

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kim  |  November 13, 2009 at 5:24 am

    That comment would have upset me too. I have problems with people making condescending, judgmental, ‘helpful’ suggestions about my friendly but extremely excitable Boston terrier. “Have you ever considered obedience classes?” and the horrifying “An e-collar would settle her down” are comments I’ve heard more than once.

    Yes, we’ve been to obedience classes and the thought of shocking my dog because she wants more than anything to jump into a stranger’s lap and lick his face, makes me completely sick.

    Good luck with Boogie and try to ignore the mailman’s ignorance. He clearly doesn’t understand what it means to love a pet enough to do the right and difficult things.

  • 2. lili  |  November 13, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by!

    This incident ruffled my feathers because the mailman KNOWS that I am working with a trainer. He knows I am doing the best I can. He has even met Boogie’s trainer. Of course like most people he is clueless and thinks that behaviors change overnight. Yes, i’ll try to ignore his attitude. I just felt like venting in a blog post because this incident was not a good start to my day.

    Shock your dog? I can’t believe anyone would even suggest that!

    Good luck with Ruby! I am going to follow your blog.

  • 3. obediencetrainingfordogs1  |  November 27, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    The mailman should know that this comes with the terrotory of their job.

    Obedience Training For Dogs


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