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What To Do If You See A Yellow Ribbon on a Dog’s Leash

What To Do If You See A Yellow Ribbon on a Dog’s Leash

Editor’s note:†This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally posted on October 9, 2012. Enjoy!

Anyone who has ever had an infirmed, unsocial or elderly dog is going to love†The†Yellow Dog Project,†a global movement for parents of dogs that need space. The concept behind it is quite simple.† If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon or other items tied to its leash, that signifies a dog who needs space and you should not attempt to pet the dog or bring your own dog over for a greeting.† Now here’s an idea that’s long overdue.

The Yellow Dog Project has now made its mark in 45 countries and educational materials have been translated into 12 languages. Fans are calling it, “Brilliant” and “The best thing to happen since the invention of the leash!”

Recently, I was walking my two dogs on some trails behind the local elementary school.† I go there because of the open fields and because few people come through the area in the evening.† My dogs need space. I have an elderly†Labrador with laryngeal paralysis (a condition which inhibits a dog’s ability to breath when he is warm or excited).† It’s very important to keep him calm, and with my†mid-sized terrier mix boinging alongside him, I already have my hands full in keeping the walks safe for both of them.† But then along comes a man with absolutely no boundaries.†As he made a bee-line for us I hollered out, “Please don’t bring your dog over.” His response was, “Don’t worry he’s friendly.”† And with that he let go of his dog’s leash and says, “Go get em!”

Now here I am holding the hand of a small child and balancing two leashes in my hand, trying not to let the dogs tangle or to allow my elderly dog to get any sort of additional stimulation, and this dog comes at us like a bowling ball.† As expected, it was a mess.† My two dogs got tangled around one another.† My older dog felt threatened and the oncomer snapped at him.† My daughter was frightened and this guy just casually saunters over with no regard for the fall out. I had to ask him†two more times to please move away with his dog before he finally understood.† By that time, my elderly dog was gasping for air and I had to kneel on the ground with him for a full 15 minutes before he could recover.

These days we have a yellow bandana tied around both leashes and look forward to the day when this concept is widely embraced by the pet loving community. You can visit The Yellow Dog Project.

This news has been brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase tournament of heroes.


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6:59AM PST on Feb 18, 2014

I wish this could have been started sooner. This not only helps awareness for dog safely but prevents child dog bites. I will be teaching my children about this alert system and hopefully they will now know what it means.

3:32AM PST on Nov 14, 2013

Let's respect

1:59PM PDT on Sep 12, 2013

I love this project!!! I myself own a dog in need of space!!

6:54PM PDT on Sep 8, 2013


4:53AM PDT on Sep 6, 2013

Never knew this before. Thanks for the info!! This is a great idea, not only for the dogs and their owners, but for those of us who have kids and grandkids around a lot of the time. It sure does make sense!!

9:57AM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

Great idea, I am going to use this. TY

4:46AM PDT on Sep 3, 2013


10:56PM PDT on Sep 2, 2013

Great idea and can prevent bad situations :)

7:03PM PDT on Aug 30, 2013

who knew! Thank U! I will remember this!

7:25AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

it is common courtesy to ASK before you EVER walk up to a strange dog. EVER. One should never just walk over to a dog they don't know and pet it. Ask the owner if it's friendly, or if it bites, or if it's okay to pet their dog. The ribbons are a good idea but it's sad that they are necessary. What idiot pets a dog without first knowing it is friendly?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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