Whenever I receive post and deliveries, my five-year-old Fox Terrier Timmy goes crazy. He barks, jumps up at the front door, and leaps on to the sofa, then on to the windowsill. His antics are damaging my home and frightening the delivery people, especially when they ring the doorbell. I always hold him by the collar when I open the front door to stop him attacking anyone or running out into the road, but it’s awkward and embarrassing. I would really like to stop this behaviour before it escalates further.
Sue Gilmore advises...
This behaviour is more than embarrassing; it could potentially land you in trouble with the law. Royal Mail and other delivery companies can – and do – refuse to deliver to certain addresses where there is a dog that threatens or endangers their staff. Some are prepared to prosecute owners of dogs that attack, and sadly, this is happening more and more often.
The first step would be to secure Timmy in an area or room where he physically can’t reach callers to the house, and ideally where he can’t do any damage to your home either. Seeing the problem from the delivery person’s viewpoint also helps to put the scenario into perspective; ask yourself if you would feel frightened to be confronted by an aggressive, barking, snarling dog when simply making a delivery.
I would suggest that Timmy be contained in a crate, or sent to his bed, whenever you are expecting a delivery or visitor. Teach him that the sound of the doorbell or the arrival of a delivery van is not the signal for him to go crazy, but the trigger for him to receive a Kong toy or similar, stuffed with tasty food – it needn’t be much food, but it has to be something he really loves. You can prepare two or three of these toys, and store them in the fridge or freezer. Each time the doorbell rings, immediately reward him with the stuffed toy in his crate or on his bed. For the safety of all concerned, make sure the crate/bed is situated well away from the front door.
By simply training Timmy to go to the designated area whenever a visitor or delivery arrives, you are taking the potential danger away, as well as avoiding legal action.