Fur Kids Foundation vice president Mary wants you to know that the dog you’re approaching may be experiencing a little anxiety. And with his size, she really needs you to keep your distance until she knows he’s OK.
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.
It’s a simple concept: If your dog doesn't want to be approached, or you need an easy way to tell people to approach your dog appropriately, tie a yellow ribbon on his leash or collar. The ribbon works as a signal to others to ask before coming near a dog. It's part of a growing movement to urge people to use caution when approaching dogs.
“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.
Want help socializing your pup?
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.
Created in November 2011, the Fur Kids Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education and aid to promote the well-being of animals in Campbell County.
Your donation saves lives. It goes to work helping animals in Campbell County receive adequate veterinary care during a time when their family may not be able to afford it. Please contact the Foundation to learn more or donate now using PayPal.
The Fur Kids Foundation blog is written by board member and Founder Felicia. If you have ideas that you would like to see published in the blog such as concerns about pet-focused topics in the community or a funny story, please contact the Foundation. Enjoy!