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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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7:14AM PST on Jan 20, 2015

Cool. Thanks

6:11PM PST on Jan 19, 2015

Great idea!!! Never had a dog that needed a yellow ribbon but I have known a few that did.....

5:09PM PST on Jan 19, 2015

I've never heard of this or seen a dog with a yellow ribbon but it seems like a really good idea

4:35PM PST on Jan 18, 2015


4:31PM PST on Jan 17, 2015

I've never seen a dog with a yellow ribbon
and I hope that it catches on. Kudos to The Yellow Dog Project!

6:38AM PST on Jan 17, 2015


6:38AM PST on Jan 17, 2015


8:10AM PST on Jan 16, 2015

"Kathy P.", I think you hit the nail right on the head..."Kevin D." OBVIOUSLY didn't read the article; he just assumed it was for dogs who have behavior issues like biting, growling, attacking etc. Further, I am TOTALLY OPPOSED to ANY dog being walked WITHOUT constraint of some a leash! A RESPONSIBLE pet owner wouldn't even entertain the idea of dog walking without one! That is NOT to say dogs are mean or ill-tempered-->it's just a good practice to have your pet in control at all times when out in the public. That having been said, I am going to check on some of the laws in different states and see if these no-leash dog parks can be made into LEASHED ones. It's the right thing to do!!

Anyway, back to the article, these "Yellow Dog Project" is aimed at any and all dogs who have issues, be they temperament OR, as the article explains", KEVIN D., dogs with health issues, dogs being rehabilitated, dogs who are in training; also for dogs who are fearful of other dogs....issues like those!! THESE are the MAIN reasons for the know what is said of those who "assume"! I suggest you try reading the entire article next time for a better understanding of its true and total meaning before criticizing the author. Just a good "rule of thumb" to follow, I'd say!

12:18PM PST on Jan 15, 2015

Well said Kathy, your green stars are en route!

12:11PM PST on Jan 15, 2015

Kevin D, again if you read the article it is not all about vicious dogs. It could be a blind dog, a dog recovering from surgery. Are you saying that only perfect dogs should be walked. Also is that park you go to an Off Lead park. Then it isn't wise for a person to take a leashed dog there. You put the leashed dog at a disadvantage. And I've done a study at dog parks and what you and many people think is a friendly dog is in fact an obnoxious dog that does not know how to greet other dogs. I personally would not take my dog to a dog park because many people are there just to socialize with their friends and think it's fun to watch or not watch their dogs chase and hump and annoy other dogs and even people. There is no good reason to let your dog or anybody's dog approach or run up to another person's dog without asking or proper introduction. I'd like to see what you would do if some strange person you had never seen before run up to you and bear-hug you and kiss you. I'm not sure you, Kevin would say how nice that was. Just as people don't like everybody we should not expect our dogs to like everybody. And if an obnoxious or leash reactive dog is on a lead and is under control they have every right to be out for a walk. It is up to YOU to keep your dog under control. I might also say that calling your dog five or ten times is not under control.

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