Teddy lessens his barking for certain people. His best human friend, Melissa. My daughter’s, best friends, Katie and Chelsea, are a few examples.
But the visitors who will get him to quiet down faster than any friends or family are the package delivery drivers.
Many of these drivers, men and women, offer the pooch a treat. A few have delivered enough packages to our home that they know Teddy’s name.
One such driver is Diane “Peanut” Burns, a 20-year-plus UPS employee. On average, she sees 10 to 15 dogs a day. To make sure all her furry greeters have what they need, Peanut purchases a 10-pound bag of treats monthly.
After Peanut hands me a package she turns to Teddy and says, “Would you like a treat?”
Teddy stops barking and gently takes the treat. He loves Peanut. He’ll even offer his tummy for a few quick rubs before she’s off to her next stop.
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This clever lab knows the difference between a school bus, car or delivery van. As soon as he sees one coming up our street he starts barking.
Teddy goes from the dinning room window to the study window watching the large, usually brown, van intently.
If it doesn’t stop at his home, the lab barks more. “Hey! What about me! You forgot me!”
He doesn’t stop barking until the van is out of his sight.
It’s worse if it’s a driver who stops but doesn’t offer treats. Teddy is clearly shocked. It’s all over his face.
The rescued Lab continues to bark. “Hey, buddy you forgot something. A treat for your favorite Lab, Teddy.”
“Come on, Teddy, let’s go get you a treat,” I offer after closing the front door.
Teddy follows me into the kitchen, still barking. The barking only stops when he starts munching.
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In my home, this ritual isn’t all that unusual.
Lucy, our beloved rescue before Teddy, exhibited similar behaviors.
Barking when the doorbell rang. Barking at visitors until she was comfortable they fit her definition of “OK.” Barking at delivery drivers when treats weren’t offered.
But good old Lucy took it one step further.
She would walk out of the house barking after the driver, down the steps of our front porch and only stopping when she reached the end of the sidewalk. Lucy barked the entire time. “Hey! Didn’t you forget something!”
When the delivery truck drove away Lucy calmly turned and walked back to our house and straight into the kitchen, plopping down by the counter where her treats were stored.
A human family member was than obliged to give her a treat to right the wrong she cruelly suffered.
At my home, these drivers are unsung heros. They not only deliver packages but give dog treats.
A simple reminder for a rescue dog that most humans are pretty decent.
Online: To see more photos of dogs and UPS drivers check out UPS Dogs on Facebook. You'll find lots of pics from drivers as well as dog owners. To post your own pics, send a photo with caption to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Teddy’s Facebook Page
Online: Teddy now has his own fan page on Facebook. You'll find past columns, Teddy coloring pages and photos. Post your favorite pet photos. To find it on Facebook search "Teddy the lab."