We recently learned about The Yellow Dog Project thanks to our friend David Ziegler. (Thanks David!) This is an attempt to give an easy to recognize signal that a particular dog needs a bit of space.
The project asks that those of us who have a dog who needs a bit of space for whatever reason (health issues, training, rehab, behavior) put a yellow ribbon or marker on our leash. Then, those of us who see this signal can keep ourselves and our dogs away.
A second group with the same goal and some good resources on their website is DINOS or Dogs In Need Of Space.
Even dogs you know well may occasionally need a bit of space and can't play with your pup. They may have a GI upset that is going around the neighborhood and a considerate guardian who doesn't want to spread it to your dog. They may have an injury that means they can only have a quiet walk and have to avoid the movement and excitement of greeting pals. The may be out as a part of a training exercise and should not be distracted.
We used to walk with a dog that was perfectly happy strolling with her usual pack but would turn growly and fierce if a strange dog approached. You can imagine how we all reacted every time a dog, often off-leash, came bounding our way with a guardian trailing behind yelling, "He's friendly!" Yes, your dog may be friendly, but the one on a leash may not be. One more reason why no dog should be off-leash outside of dog recreation spaces.
Spread the word to your dog loving friends. Ask your veterinarian, groomer, pet supply shop, and dog group to sign on as a supporter of both sites and make this universal signal a reality!
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Artwork: Courtesy of The Yellow Dog Project & DINOS
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