It’s Dog Bite Prevention Week in the USA. What a better time to consider the role of The Yellow Dog Project?
The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for owners of dogs that need personal space. It aims to educate the public and dog owners so they can identify dogs needing their space and so they understand how to appropriately interact or approach these dogs.
The Project promotes the use of a yellow ribbon, tied to the dog’s leash or collar, to show others that the dog is special and needs space. Variations of the yellow ribbon include yellow bandanas or yellow leashes.
I personally like the use of leashes which not only are yellow, but have words to indicate the dog’s status:
Dogs wearing a yellow ribbon are not necessarily aggressive. Many have fear issues which could be caused by pain from injuries, advancing arthritis, or surgery. Others may be a rescue dog who has behavioral problems associated with a traumatic history. Some dogs will be undergoing training for their behaviors, but haven’t passed their tests yet.
In my practice, I am working with some dogs who are reactive in public and would benefit from space. I’m very happy to recommend to their owners that they tie a yellow ribbon to their dog’s leash to help indicate that their dog is special.
The Yellow Dog Project website contains links to country-specific websites that provide resources such as contact details for trainers who use positive reinforcement techniques. The Yellow Dog Project is also on Facebook.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand