What to Do if You See a Yellow Ribbon on a Dog’s Leash

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on October 9, 2012. Enjoy!

Anyone who has ever had a sick, 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. 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 fallout. 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 here.

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

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Photo Credit: The Yellow Dog Project


Ingrid H
Ingrid H10 days ago

Great. Thanks.

Amy Ingalls
Amy Ingalls13 days ago

Awesome idea!

Tania N
Tania N14 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

bob P
bob P15 days ago

I had a dog that was very loyal to my wife and I and loved to walk. We avoided many houses where dogs would bark or try to chase after us. We avoided those areas. It would have been nice to have had this info. to pass on to those people, Thanks

K M15 days ago

Many thanks to Care2 for running this again. We need to be reminded from time to time of this great idea, and to get the word out. We can hope that maybe the jerks will learn eventually.

K M15 days ago

That is a great idea. We need to spread the word. But you'll still have to be on the lookout for inconsiderate jerks like that one in the article. Thanks.

Trish K
Trish K15 days ago

This is a wonderful concept and I hope it is widely advertised and spread by our local shelters and Vets on Social Media so we can protect our loved ones. Thanks

Rebecca Carroll-Lees

Thank god... my mum once had a dog from the rspca that needed its space, was sick of explaining this.

Danny Chan
Danny Chan15 days ago

Good to know. Thanks. :)

Janet B
Janet B15 days ago