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

Editorís 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


HEIKKI R2 months ago

thank you

Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago


Paula A
Paula A3 months ago

thank you

hELEN h3 months ago


Renata B
Renata B3 months ago

Still now in the UK this yellow ribbon is not used. I must ask our vet what he knows about it. We have never seen one. It's such a good idea.

Patty L
Patty L4 months ago

great to know. tyfs

Ann B
Ann B4 months ago

old article but good post

hELEN h4 months ago


Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Beryl L
Beryl L7 months ago

Thank you for reposting this article