What Does That Yellow Ribbon Mean?

The Yellow Dog Project seeks to raise awareness that not every dog wants to be approached.

Few people can resist petting a dog, but not all dogs want to be petted. Some canines might be shy, aggressive or easily frightened, or perhaps undergoing training or recovering from an ailment. So how can you tell which dogs welcome your attention, and which would prefer that you kept your distance?

Thanks to The Yellow Dog Project, dogs and their owners now have a way to communicate their needs in a gentle but clear way. The idea works this way: A ribbon tied around a dog’s leash or collar signals to people that the dog doesn’t want to be approached and needs some space.

Tara Palardy, a dog trainer in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, began The Yellow Dog Project in 2012 as a way to educate people about appropriate ways to approach or make contact with a dog — whether he’s a “yellow dog” or not.

“I ran into a number of clients who complained about people approaching their dogs, kids getting too close to their nervous dog, or even puppies who jump all over people,” Palardy said in a news release. “These people needed something to help identify their dogs as not being approachable, or needing a moment of training before being approached.”

Yellow Dog Project

Palardy seeks to make The Yellow Dog Project a global movement; The Yellow Dog Project Facebook page has close to 90,000 followers worldwide, and the project’s posters (which can be downloaded from the website) have been translated into different languages numerous times.

Although people are encouraged to make their own ribbons out of materials they have at home, yellow ribbons are available for sale from the not-for-profit project website at TheYellowDogProject.com.


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