A dog may be a man’s best friend. However, sometimes, it may need space. How many times have you experienced this scenario where a seemingly friendly dog has come too close to another dog resulting in a very negative altercation? Anyone with a dog with telling you that this is very common. Dogs may need space for a variety of reasons. They may be old or grumpy, under rehabilitation or just simply timid.
The problem is that not many people understand that these reasonably social creatures may sometimes be extremely sensitive to their environments and what dog etiquettes they should follow.
Thanks to the Yellow Dog Project, which is a global movement for owners of dogs that need space. The concept is pretty simple: If your dog dislikes being approached, tie a yellow ribbon on its collar or leash. This will be a signal for other dog owners to maintain their distance and ask before coming close.
The Yellow Dog awareness campaign will surely reduce dog attacks and minimise the risks of injury to humans and dogs. It will also eliminate the embarrassment of having to stop someone from touching your dog, as they will know that yellow ribbons mean that this dog needs space. Also, the parents will be able to keep their overexcited children away from a yellow dog.
How Yellow Dog Project Started
It all started with an awareness website in Sweden in June 2012. Taking the idea from this website, Canadian dog trainer Tara Palardy decided to take this awareness campaign on a global scale. This project has been active in around 27 countries, including Canada, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and many more.
Yellow Dog UK Campaign
In the UK, the Yellow Dog campaign is organised by NarpsUK, which is a membership organisation for pet sitters and dog walkers. The founder of the organisation says, “This is a fantastic campaign and will help and educate dog owners and the public to understand and recognise a dog that ‘needs space’”. The Yellow Dog Campaign in the UK will benefit everybody, including dog owners, dog walkers and especially dogs themselves.
Reasons Why Dogs May Need Space
Every sensible dog owner and dog walker understands that walking too close to a strange dog or touching it is not a good idea. The dog may get frightened; it may suffer from a medical condition or simply has had a bad day. Here are some of the reasons why a dog may need its personal space:
A Dog May Be Training
It is very difficult to train a dog to behave in a certain way when some other pet owner with his dog is approaching closer. They may be well-intentioned, but your dog may feel very uncomfortable. One bad incident can waste months of training.
A Dog May Be Having Health Issues
There may not be any physical signs of injury, but a dog may be recovering from a serious illness or health condition. This dog will be more fragile and sensitive than normal. It will be prudent of you to tie a yellow ribbon so that other pet owners understand that they have to keep their distance.
A Dog May Be Fearful or Anxious
A stranger approaching can be a very threatening experience for a dog who is already fearful and anxious. A yellow ribbon will notify the approaching stranger that it is not safe to come close. This will surely save your nervous dog from a lot of unnecessary discomfort.
A Dog May Be Undergoing Rehabilitation
A dog may have had a bad experience in the past and maybe undergoing rehabilitation. It means that it will need time to adjust and become normal. Any unanticipated incident at this stage can prove to be damaging for the dog’s future well-being. Having a yellow ribbon on the leash will ensure that your dog stays protected.
What Yellow Dog Project Is Not
Yellow Dog Project has great promise for dogs and their owners. However, to fully take advantage of this great campaign, we must also understand what it is not. Let’s clarify some points:
It Is Not a Replacement of Training
Wearing a yellow ribbon will signal other pet owners to stay away from your dog as it needs space. It may have a temporary issue, such as recovering from an illness, or a permanent issue, like abuse in the past. Whatever the problem, a yellow ribbon cannot be used as a replacement for training. If your dog has aggression issues, you must take professional training help or seek advice from a doctor.
It Is Not Something to Be Embarrassed About
Some people know that their dogs have certain space issues but do not want to admit it to the world. They take the yellow ribbon as some sign of guilt that their dog is not normal. Admitting that your dog needs space is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, it shows that you care about it and are ready to take precautionary measures. Dogs may need space for a variety of reasons, and you, obviously, are not the only pet owner whose dog needs personal space.
It Is Not a Waiver of Responsibility
The Yellow Dog Project is new in the UK, and many dog owners and dog walkers are probably still not aware of what the yellow ribbons mean. Having your dog wear a yellow ribbon does not, in any way, ward off responsibility. You must not take your dog to a crowded place after tying the yellow ribbon. You still have to keep it safe from other dogs and dog owners invading its private space. Having your dog wear a yellow ribbon and then putting it in a stressful situation will surely not help it.
The Yellow Dog awareness campaign in the UK strives to let yellow dog owners take responsibility for their dogs. It is an amazing initiative that has produced good results and promises to continue to do so in the future.