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Why some dogs wear a yellow ribbon on their leash

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National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 18-24) may be drawing to a close, however, it’s not too late to learn how to avoid dog bites -- and ways to keep your dog from doing the biting.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are an estimated 70 million dogs living in U.S. households. And every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites. At least half of them are children. Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.

But the majority of these bites are preventable. The AVMA advises to never to pet a dog over or through a fence, even one you know, and do not disturb a dog while it is eating. Children should be educated when and how they can approach a dog, and obviously, pets should be trained and socialized.

Sometimes, for other various reasons, it is best not to approach a dog. Dogs wearing a yellow ribbon on their collar, leash or harness are advising people of just that. From a distance, the yellow ribbon serves as a signal to others that the dog needs some space.

The Yellow Dog Project (TYDP) was started by dog trainer Tara Palardy of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada for owners of dogs that need space. By using the yellow ribbon, the Yellow Dog Project hopes to educate the public and dog owners to identify dogs needing space, promote appropriate contact of dogs and assist dog parents to identify their dog as needing space.

TYDP notes that Yellow Dogs (aka DINOS or Dogs In Need Of Space) are not necessarily aggressive dogs, but may have issues arising from fear, pain from recent surgery, are a rescue or shelter dog not yet trained or are currently in training, are in service, or have other reasons specific to that dog.

And while a yellow ribbon may identify your dog as having space issues, TYDP advises that it should not be viewed as a waiver of responsibility. People may still approach your dog. Problems may still arise if you take your pet to a dog park. According to TYDP, a yellow ribbon should not be used to avoid proper training, or viewed as an admittance of guilt or an embarrassment that a dog has space issues.

Palardy said, “I started to teach owners how to deal with their yellow dogs and that’s where this whole thing started - locally.” The Yellow Dog Project, with it's yellow ribbon alert system, is now recognized globally.

For more information, follow The Yellow Dog Project on Facebook.

The Mansfield Animal Advocacy Examiner also has a Facebook page.

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