Rotorua posties have had to deal with dog bites, intimidation and injury 12 times since 2009.

And it's often small dogs postal workers need to look out for, a local dog trainer says.

The number of incidents involving posties in Rotorua spiked last year with seven, but there haven't been any this year to date.

A breakdown of the incidents reveal one postie required first aid, four received injuries bad enough to keep them from working their next shift, while seven escaped a "near miss".


Rotorua dog trainer Pablo Ramirez said the onus lay on dog owners to keep posties safe.

"As an owner, if you are at home at the time the postie arrives, restrain your dog if you know it is aggressive towards other people.

"Second, you can work on desensitising your dog and giving him a treat so the dog makes a positive association with the postie."

Mr Ramirez thought dogs should be banned from areas where postal workers needed access, but until that happened, posties needed to err on the side of caution.

" ... If the dog is unrestrained and showing signs of aggression ... simply do not deliver. Report that address, keep yourself safe.

"If the dog is small enough and you are willing to take the risk, you can carry treats with you and offer them to the dog. Always keep calm, breathe deeply and walk confidently."

People often held misconceptions about which types of dogs were likely to attack, meaning they took unnecessary risks, he said.

"Any kind of dog can become aggressive if the dog doesn't have good training and socialisation. In my own experience, as [a] vet nurse and trainer for 18 years, I have met many more small aggressive dogs than larger ones."


New Zealand Post national safety and well-being manager Marty Buckley said the safety of posties was "taken seriously".

"Posties are frequently briefed about dogs and what to do if confronted.

"We have prepared information for dog owners too, and from [this month] our posties will have a dog safety card that can be delivered to households."

The dog cards will be delivered to addresses where there were safety concerns.

"The aim of the card is to educate people about the risks to posties, and to provide information on how they can reduce the likelihood of injury and intimidation."

"The majority of dog owners are responsible and we appreciate those who keep their dogs properly controlled, and those who respond responsibly after an attack."


According to NZ Post, there were 1044 incidences involving postal staff and dogs nationwide between 2009 and 2013.

Dog incidents involving Rotorua posties

2009 - 2
2010 - 1
2011 - 1
2012 - 1
2013 - 7
2014 (to date) - 0