11 September 2023
Adopting a rescue dog is a kind thing to do, but these dogs might have experienced rough times, which can lead to anxiety and behavior issues. This can make training harder and even regular activities like walks stressful for them. Sometimes, they might not be aggressive, but they get uncomfortable and scared when strangers approach them.
If you have an anxious dog, you know how challenging it is when people invade your dog’s space. While you should speak up for your dog, there’s a movement that suggests using yellow ribbons on dogs’ collars as a warning. This tells people that the dog doesn’t like to be approached. But is this a good idea or a problem if something goes wrong?
A yellow ribbon on a dog’s collar or leash signals that the dog needs space. This idea comes from the Yellow Dog Project, a movement to help anxious dogs and their owners. The yellow ribbon says, “Don’t come close, touch, or talk to the dog, especially if you have your dog or kids with you.”
Some people forget to ask if petting a dog they see on the street is okay. For dogs with anxiety or issues with strangers, this can lead to problems. The dog might run away, pull, or even attack. The same goes for people walking their dogs; sometimes, they let their dog approach other dogs without asking. Using a yellow ribbon aims to make others cautious and avoid coming too close.
Dogs that need a yellow ribbon come in various types. Some have had a rough past that makes them anxious or scared. They might struggle with new surroundings or have issues with other dogs or people approaching them. Even if you got them as puppies or from breeders, they might still have problems with other dogs. Some older dogs with fear issues, deaf or blind dogs, or dogs recovering from surgery use yellow ribbons, too. Even service dogs in training might wear them to stay focused.
A yellow ribbon doesn’t necessarily mean a dog is aggressive. It’s a sign that the dog is nervous and prefers not to interact with people or other dogs at that moment.
However, like any creature, if a dog feels threatened, it might react defensively. So, when you spot a dog with a yellow ribbon, please keep doing what you were doing, but avoid looking the dog in the eyes and don’t go near it. If you’re walking your dog, make sure to keep your dog away, too. If you have a playful dog that might pull or bother the other dog, be extra cautious and keep a distance.