The Yellow Dog Project
Does your dog need space? Perhaps they don’t appreciate other dogs coming too close too quickly, maybe they’ve had a few unpleasant experiences with larger (or smaller) dogs, or perhaps they have recently been rescued and you’re not sure how they’ll react in a new environment.
What is the Yellow Dog Project?
The Yellow Dog Project was born out of a desire to quickly and easily identify dogs that should not be approached – by either dogs or humans – without their owner’s explicit permission. Yellow dogs are not necessarily aggressive or frightened; although they could be. They are likely to be a dog with some degree of fear or uncertainty, but they could just as well be dogs in training for work or service or be recovering from recent surgery.
Do you have a nervous dog, or a dog that needs space?
Owners and handlers of dogs that need a little more space are encouraged to use yellow to indicate this: a yellow ribbon tied to the dog’s lead or collar; a yellow lead or bandana; or yellow harness, lead or jacket printed with something like CAUTION, NERVOUS or DO NOT PET.
The Yellow ribbon - Good idea or not?
Could there be downsides to this idea? Could others automatically assume the dog is vicious or poorly trained? If a dog needs space should they be out where they might encounter other people and dogs at all? Is it possible that someone might think they can use a yellow ribbon instead of properly training and socialising their dog?
I have one super friendly dog who thinks every human and dog would love to meet him, and one who prefers to bark first and sniff later. She’s little but has a ferocious bark and only likes to be approached on her terms, and preferably after her big brother has already had a good sniff. She’s a rescue and we’re working hard on her reactivity but while most of our doggy encounters are positive, some don’t go as well as I would like. I think I’d rather see the positives of the idea rather than dismiss it because of the potential pitfalls. If Alice’s yellow ribbon was readily recognised – or if dogs that would prefer not to be happily greeted by Ziggy wore a yellow ribbon – we could easily and quickly communicate our dogs’ different needs.
If you think this is a great idea or you’re just curious, our friends at Friendly Dog Collars are offering Perfect Pets readers a 20% discount on their products. Just use the code PerfectPets20 at checkout.