Sampson, an English mastiff who Mary and her significant other adopted from Big Dogs Hug Paws, has only been part of the family for a year. Mary also adopted Daisy, an English mastiff and from BDHP, a short time before they were chosen to take in handsome Sam.
“It’s not that Sam’s mean or aggressive, but he wasn't socialized properly as a puppy which makes him a little more hesitant when meeting people,” says Mary. In order for her to feel better about walking Sam in public, she has placed a simple yellow ribbon on his leash. This helps Mary tell others the correct way to approach Sam, so he can see that people are friendly and will not hurt him. Mary heard about the idea from the Yellow Dog Project out of Alberta, Canada.
“Think of it like this: not all people like each other, the same is true for dogs,” says Mary. “Some people do not like other people in their personal space. Sam just doesn’t want people in his bubble at all times.” She believes that it may take some dogs a bit of time to warm up to another dog/person.
Not all dogs who wear the yellow ribbon are anxious or aggressive. Some may need space because they are recovering from surgery, are old or don't like being approached too quickly. Some may be smaller dogs who become scared or react negatively around larger dogs. The dog may also be a service dog, and the person who the dog is helping needs that dog to keep on task. And, in Sam’s case, some are still in training.
“I found the Yellow Dog Project to be a great idea that can keep people and their dogs’ safe,” says Mary. “If people were more aware of the Project, it could save someone from being unnecessarily bitten or hurt.”
If your dog may need a little space when he’s around strangers and other dogs, or if you want others to keep some distance from you and your four-legged buddy, put a yellow ribbon on their leash or collar. Conversely, if you see a dog with a yellow ribbon or something yellow on his leash, know that this dog needs some space. Please do not approach this dog with your dog. Please maintain distance or give this dog and his/her person time to move out of your way.
And, every time you see a person walking his or her dog, always ask permission before you reach out to pet their fur kid. While most dogs are friendly and love people, there are some dogs who aren’t as friendly, and it’s just best that you don’t pet them without permission.
Feel free to share this post with friends, or download a flier about the Yellow Ribbon project and distribute.
Check out the Foundation's Yappy Hours, held the first and third Saturday of the month at 7 am and the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 6 pm from April-September 2013.