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The Yellow Dog Project

Tara, a trainer/dog walker in Red Deer, Alberta has come up with a good idea about ways to alert others about a dog who might need a little “space” from another dog on a leash. She calls it the Yellow Dog Project and founded this movement only a couple of months ago. As you know, there are many reasons why a leashed dog might require a safe distance from another dog—health and behavioral reasons, primarily. Our dear Lenny, a little Terrier mix who died last year at 19, was that kind of dog, he was reactive towards most other dogs. There were many times when a friendly dog would approach us and I would have to call out something like “my dog isn’t friendly,” most of the time the response would be “but my dog is friendly.” How much easier it would be if we all understood that a dog with a yellow ribbon or something in yellow on their leash, said it for us instead. So hooray to Tara—help her spread the word.

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and editor in chief. thebark.com
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Submitted by RufousTFirefly | November 21 2012 |

What a great idea! Reminds me of the red ribbon that trail riders put in the tails of horses who may kick if followed too closely. They also use a yellow ribbon on stallions and green ribbon for the inexperienced rider/horse...

Now to find that yellow ribbon...

Submitted by Anonymous | November 24 2012 |

sick of gadgets that harm dogs and the humans arms.
verbal commands and verbal training are all you need.....train your dog. train train train

Submitted by Anonymous | November 26 2012 |

Wow, what a douchey comment.

Submitted by Anonymous | February 16 2013 |

As an experienced dog trainer, I absolutely agree that training is of the utmost importance in any dogs life. However, there are a number of circumstances that can at best be managed, and not "fixed". For example, if you have a dog-aggresive dog (I have one...a rescue), with A LOT of work and repetition you can indeed usually help minimize their reaction - but it's a lifelong management issue. You will likely not "fix" that problem - especially if you don't know what caused it. Not to mention, the risk it poses to the other dog is too great. The other reasons for a yellow ribbon (i.e., post-surgery) is simply to help provide some added space to a dog that isn't necessarily able to greet normally.
I think this is another tool for a responsible dog owner. Dog people talk. Perhaps eventually word will spread about yellow ribbons and at least help some owners and their dogs further manage their special issues.

Submitted by Pam | November 27 2012 |

For someone who is unfamiliar with the meanings of ribbons, or for children, it would be unhelpful. I like the guide dog jacket that tells everyone in plain language not to pet the dog. A crossed-out hand symbol might work.

Submitted by k9mythbuster | November 28 2012 |

While it's a good idea, given the difficulty in just teaching the average dog owner proper pet etiquette, I don't see how it is realistic to think we can educate them about the meaning of a ribbon.

Submitted by Lieber | February 18 2013 |

This is a great idea. I have this kind of dog. I am working on the behavior issue with my dog. It would be nice for others to be aware that my dog isn't approachable. Not until he has better manners. It would help for other to just keep walking by. Today I called out to a man and his dog that my dog isn't friendly. He said that his dog is friendly. I asked him to keep walking as I hold my dog at sit. The gentleman didn't listen and allowed his dog to come up to my dog. Then when my dog jumped at his dog and snarled, the man got ticked off, shot me a dirty look and grab is dog and left. I told the man to keep walking. My dog was sitting NICELY UNTIL his yappy dog approached. I sure hope this yellow ribbon idea takes off.

Submitted by Dave | March 31 2013 |

To be fair, from a distance, it is really difficult to hear if someone is shouting their dog is aggressive or not. I make the same mistake many time until I am about 10 or 15 meters away from the owner, then I realize my misunderstanding of the individual's intention.

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