Have you ever walked past a dog with a yellow ribbon tied around its collar and wondered what it meant?
The Yellow Dog Project is a movement to identify dogs that may be nervous about being approached. It’s a way to signal to other people that they should keep their kids, hands, and dogs away from the marked dog unless they ask the dog’s owner for permission to approach. From their website:
“Yellow Dogs are dogs who need space – they are not necessarily aggressive dogs but more often are dogs who have issues of fear; pain from recent surgery; are a rescue or shelter dog who has not yet had sufficient training or mastered obedience; they are in training for work or service; are in service; or other reasons specific to the dog.”
Why Is It Important?
Dogs who may have been recently rescued or who have fear issues need exercise, too, and they should be able to go on leashed walks without fear of being approached by unleashed dogs or overenthusiastic children. Dogs like this are one reason leash laws are so important. Just because your dog is friendly doesn’t mean that all dogs are, so it’s in everybody’s best interest to keep your dog on a leash unless you’re in a designated off-leash area.
More importantly, the Yellow Dog Project aims to give new owners, especially of rescue dogs, the confidence to train their dogs out in the real world without as much fear about what will happen if their dog is approached by a strange dog or person. Tying a yellow ribbon on your dog’s collar is not an excuse to avoid training your dog; rather it’s a tool to help give you better space for training your dog.
What To Do.
So what should you do if you spot a dog wearing a yellow ribbon? Give them a wide berth and make sure your kids and dogs do, also.
The only way something like this works is if plenty of people are educated about the project. If you think the Yellow Dog Project is a great idea, please help spread the word by talking about it across your favorite social media platform. Let’s give dogs the space they need to be happy, safe members of the community!