Skip to main content
San Diego Humane Society

Safety: Mail Carrier Dog Bite Prevention - for Dog Owners

Receiving mail and package deliveries means people on our property often and this can prove challenging for our dogs! There were over 5,300 dog bites to USPS mail carriers in 2022, 39 of which occurred in San Diego. That’s a lot of stressed pets and people. How do we help our dogs reduce their stress, while also keeping our carriers safe?

Outside the home:

  • For the carrier

    • Make it clear there are pets living at the property. This might include:

      • Signage

      • Pet items readily visible — toys, bowls, housing, etc.

  • For the pet
    • Reduce access to areas carrier needs to move through to deliver mail.
    • Keep pet in a back yard, enclosed dog run, or indoors. 


  • Additional management:
    • Can you move the location of the mailbox, or add one further from where the dog might have access (visual, auditory, or physical)?

Inside the home:

  • For the carrier

    • Do not open door to retrieve mail/packages until the carrier has left the property safely. Some pets perceive direct interactions with a carrier as threatening, especially if being handed strangely shaped or large objects.

    • Keep pets away from the front door, ideally in a crate, or behind a barrier or closed door. Even typically social pets can get overexcited or anxious in these situations and bites may occur due to high arousal rather than aggressive behaviors. Some more anxious pets will even attempt to break through screens or other barriers to reach a carrier if a door is opened while they are present.

  • For the pet
    • Reduce over stimulation by reducing access to the front of the home (or wherever mail is delivered) during the everyday or otherwise expected delivery times. This can include:
      • Closing blinds or windows to reduce noise or visual stimulation.

      • Keeping the pet in another room away from the front of the home.

      • Keeping the pet engaged with an enrichment activity/toys/training/interactions.

      • Training skills like mat work and the Look At That game can reduce excitement.

Managing the situation:

  • If you learn or suspect that your dog might be struggling with the arrival of the carrier, look into management options beyond what we’ve already discussed.
    • Sign up for Informed Delivery so you can set up precautions before a package arrives.

    • Can you change the location of the mailbox or does it make sense to get a P.O. Box

    • If you have a regular carrier, ask them if they’ve observed any concerning behaviors.

    • Unsure how your dog handles stress when you’re gone? Set up a camera in the home! This helps you better understand their behaviors and experiences while alone.

  • Friends, family, or pets visiting? Ensure they all take the same precautions!
  • Ensure pets are not roaming free in the neighborhood or have the ability to escape a yard — they are often capable of more than we give them credit for, especially when stressed. Mail delivery may be interrupted or unable to occur if a dog is loose in a yard or neighborhood and a carrier feels threatened in any way.

How San Diego Humane Society, or your local shelter, might be able to help:

  •  We’ve got educational resources!
    • Look for flyers in the mail with tips for carrier & pet safety.

    • Educational seminars focused on helping reduce stress in regard to our pets’ interactions with people who pass, approach, or enter our homes.

    • Training classes that help minimize reactivity in the home and behaviors like door dashing (such as our online classes, Reactive Rover: Mat Work or Redirecting Excitement). If not working with San Diego Humane Society, be sure your trainers are using positive reinforcement-based methods to appropriately reduce and modify undesired behaviors! Need help finding a trainer? Check out our Trainer Director

    • Contact us at via our behavior helplines!



  • Was this article helpful?