The Yellow Dog Project Seeks to Help Dogs Who Need a Bit More Space While On Walks
The Yellow Dog Project was started by Tara Palardy relatively recently. The basic premise of the project is that some dogs need space and limited or no interaction with other dogs or humans on walks–and a way to signal this need for space is to tie a yellow ribbon on your dog’s collar or leash.
There are several reasons a dog may need a yellow ribbon. These can include:
- Fear of other dogs
- Recovery from surgery or injury
- Aggression towards dogs or people
In short, the yellow ribbon is meant to stop people and/or their dogs from just coming up to your dog without checking with you first. Folks shouldn’t really just come up to you and your dog while walking anyway, but at least the yellow ribbon should remind people to ask if it’s alright to say hello.
Skeptics of the yellow ribbon usually cite dog aggression as their concern. Stephanie St. Martin, a blogger for Boston.com, writes about her concerns regarding pet parents who utilize the yellow ribbon saying,
Well, for one, most yellow dogs aren’t aggressive, they’re anxious or fearful, and the assumption that all yellow ribbon dogs are aggressive is demonstrative of people misunderstanding the project. The best way to cure this is to read more about it and talk more about it; as this project gains momentum, more and more of the unfounded fears of dog owners will be quelled.
In further response to the aggression issue, the Yellow Dog Project website states that,
“if you have an outright aggressive dog, you must seek proper training from a qualified professional. This organization promotes the awareness of dogs who need space, but it is not an excuse for lack of training.”
The other major concern seems to be embarrassment on the part of the owner. If people see you walking a yellow ribbon dog, will it make you look bad? Probably not–it’ll make you look like you care about your dog’s well being. If you’re worried that people will find out you have a dog who needs space, take comfort in knowing that people will find out anyway, especially if your pup lunges at another dog, or tries to climb up your leg in terror when your neighbor’s lab trots over to say hi.
Pretty much, don’t worry. As word spreads of all the things a yellow ribbon on a leash can mean, people, especially other dog owners, will understand more, and will know you’re doing the best thing for your pet.
A yellow ribbon can also be temporary, only worn while your pup recovers from surgery, an injury, or while you work on behavior or anxiety, for example.
The hope of the Yellow Dog Project is to spread the word about what the yellow ribbon means so taking your yellow dog on a walk can be less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone.