German Shepherd's Reaction to Postman Splits Views: 'About To Explode'

Whether it's cats vs. mice or humans vs. printers, the animal kingdom is filled with natural enemies. Still, is there any greater rivalry than dog and postal worker?

From tense standoffs at the front gate to non-stop barking, canines and delivery people famously don't get along. However, a video shared on January 23 by TikToker Vanessa (@pulpvanex) has sparked debate online, with users unable to tell if the dog is having fun or is terrified by the mail carrier's presence.

In the 11-second security footage, a mailman can be seen holding his hand out towards a hyperactive German shepherd that is emitting a high-pitched bark.

German Shepherd Aggressively Barking at Camera
Left, a stock photo of a German shepherd looking anxiously at the camera. Right, the German shepherd barking aggressively. TiKTok users were split on whether another dog was friendly or aggressive. Nataliia Dubnytska/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The dog quickly rolls onto its back. As the mail carrier bends down to rub the excitable animal's tummy, the dog continues to release a high-pitched wail.

Once the postal worker stands up, the canine begins to circle him, jumping up and snapping at the man as he smiles and waves goodbye.

TikTok users were split on whether it was a playful exchange or the dog was frightened by the man, with the video receiving over 750,000 views.

How to Tell if a Dog Is Playful or Aggressive?

You might think it's obvious to determine if a dog is being aggressive or playful, but Leigh Siegfried—CEO and founder of Opportunity Barks—said it's not so simple, particularly if the pet is not your own.

There are signs to look out for that can help you avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

"When a strange dog is being playful you will generally see a softness or lowering of the body upon approach, a loose and wiggly spine, and an exaggerated wag," she told Newsweek.

"A snout-to-tail assessment will give you the full picture of how the dog feels and if they want to interact. Just a wagging tail is not the major indicator of a dog being pro-social."

If the dog is holding a lot of tension in its body as it approaches you, or avoids you altogether, it is likely apprehensive—so don't force yourself on it.

If the animal is coming towards you rapidly with a stiff, targeted approach, then you're at risk.

"Sure, dogs that are scared will tend to avoid interaction and remain at a distance or continue to alert bark, or vocalize toward whatever is of concern," Siegfried said.

"If a dog is aggressively approaching, remain calm or proactively move into their space to see if this also creates distance.

"Successful intervention at this point is about presence, using your body language, remaining calm depending on the proximity of the dog, or considering tossing an object towards the approaching animal to startle and create more space or encourage them to flee vs. fight."

'People Obviously Know Nothing'

TikTok users were divided on whether the video was sweet or sinister, with Kaitlyn Hobbs believing the dog was "unsure about" the postman.

"Her body language says it all," she commented.

Kelly DeLucia agreed, writing: "That is definitely an unsure pup, do NOT force yourself...they need to come to you."

"BRO THAT IS FEAR," said Faith.

"That's nervousness, uncertainty..." added Taralynn. "He shouldn't do that to her."

"Dog expert here," said Gage. "Dogs only do that when they're about to explode."

Many users believed the pair were just playing, with Crimsondeath007 calling the detractors "dog Karens."

"Y'all tripping this dog is overly excited that is all..." said LARoach.

"My lab does this when she's happy to see someone," wrote iamdemetriaa.

"She's obviously coming to him trying to play. Just got some nerves," commented Tristian.

"My husky sounds like this when she is pumped," said Tiffani.

While TrippieHippie commented: "People obviously know nothing about German Sheps."

Newsweek has reached out to @pulpvanex for comment.

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