Posties are using virtual reality headsets to learn how to avoid being attacked by dogs.
The gadgets provide a 360-degree street view scene and advice on how to deal with aggressive pets on their rounds.
Self-defence training shows a postie dropping to one knee to protect herself and using her postbag as a shield.
The move comes after a string of horrific attacks in which rogue pets have bitten off fingers, thumbs and even a nose.
The new “dog byte” computer program urges posties to look for signs that a pet is present and not to take at face value assurances that an animal is harmless.
It also asks users what advice they would give to a new postman. If they make the wrong choice the rookie is bitten.
Royal Mail has tried the system nearly 750 times since November. No attacks have occurred in more than half the areas where the units have been tested.
James Barton, Royal Mail’s online learning manager, said: “Over the years, we’ve tried to do lots of things about this.
“We’ve done big public awareness campaigns. We’ve done lots of videos, brochures, booklets, slogans, cards, posters – anything you can possibly think of. We’ve had a relatively steady reduction in attacks, but we still have around 2,275 a year and that’s an awful lot.”
That figure is down from 5,000 five years ago. Royal Mail has urged owners to secure pets at delivery times and fit letterbox cages or external postboxes.
Mr Barton was himself attacked in 2010 and left with permanent scarring. He says part of the problem with previous training was that workers believed an attack would never happen to them.
Speaking at a tech conference in London, he added: “When a dog is about to attack you, everything goes into slow motion, you have a slight ‘oh dear’ moment and then you get bitten, there isn’t the chance to do anything.”
Last year, Belfast posties suffered the highest number of dog attacks in Britain – 82. Brighton was second with 63 and Peterborough third with 56.
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