Seeing a normal-looking dog approaching you with a big yellow ribbon or bandanna attached could easily bring a smile to animal lovers’ faces.
In fact it is an important sign this is a dog who needs to be left alone.
The Yellow Dog Project was started to bring awareness to the general public about dogs who need space while training, recovering from surgery or being rehabilitated.
It is an international campaign, but the organiser of the Yellow Dog UK campaign is NarpsUK, a membership organisation for pet sitters and dog walkers. It decided to start the UK campaign because it understood just how stressful it can be for vulnerable dogs and their owners when another dog approaches.
A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “We believe that by making the yellow ribbon an accepted representation throughout the UK that a dog needs space it will benefit everyone and make dog walking a more enjoyable experience.”
The yellow ribbon or bandana can be used for short term periods, such as while a dog is in training or on heat, or for long term periods, for example if a dog is elderly and does not like young lively dogs around them.
While it is imperative to socialise dogs for their well being and development, there are times and circumstances when a dog needs space and this is a way of letting other dog owners know this.
Furness Animal Refuge secretary Anita Green said it was a great campaign and a stress free way of letting other dog owners know to keep their animal clear.
Mrs Green explained: “One of my own dogs doesn’t like being approached by others when he is on a lead, even if they are friendly, because he knows he can’t defend himself. The yellow ribbon is a great option. Another of my dogs, Homer, has just had an operation so it is good if other dogs and people just keep clear while he is recovering.
“It is also handy for people who may have just taken on a rescue dog and are still unsure of its reaction around others.
“There are owners who know they do have to muzzle their dogs when out walking, but for those who don’t, but need a bit of space for the moment or for owners who are going on the side of caution, the yellow ribbon is so much better.”
It is also hoped the campaign will encourage dog owners to recall their pets when they see a dog wearing a yellow ribbon, giving that dog and its owner time to move out of the way.
The reasons that dogs may need space:
- They may be ill, elderly, hurt, nervous or in training
- They may have had bad life experiences
- She may be in season
- The dog’s walker may be nervous of other dogs
- They may have a new family who are unsure as to their behaviour with other dogs.