There can be any number of reasons why a dog may need space when out and about. These include health issues, rehabilitation, fear, or aggression towards other dogs.
The good news is that there is now a project dedicated specifically to these dogs and their needs. The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement designed to raise awareness of dogs who need space through social media and educational courses. The project hopes to educate people about how to recognize when a dog needs space through the dog's body language, and stresses issues such as the importance of always asking before approaching and petting a strange dog.
Founded in September, 2012 by Tara, a dog trainer in Alberta, Canada, The Yellow Dog Project has quickly spread across borders to become a worldwide movement. The project has already reached 45 countries and is regularly adding more followers through its Facebook campaign.
The movement's message is simple. Tara and her fellow project members want people to know that if they see a dog wearing a yellow ribbon or with something yellow on its leash, that dog needs to be given space. Conversely, owners with dogs who need space are asked to attach a ribbon or something yellow to their dog to help spread the word.
According to Tara, the project started as a way to identify the reactive dogs in her dog training class. She also taught a class on how to read a dog's body language, and noticed that the reactive dogs definitely managed better if they were given space and training.
From there, The Yellow Dog Project was born. It has now grown to more than 14,000 "likes" on its Facebook page, which is the primary communication tool of the campaign.
Tara states that the response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, and participants have contacted her to let her know that while walking their dogs with ribbons other dog owners have noticed and given the dogs the space they need. As Tara puts it, "that's the kind of exposure we like."
As the project continues to expand, Tara states that the campaign is rolling out a representative program for volunteers, with the goal of getting more kennels, vets, and other dog-related businesses to participate. The campaign is also hoping to find corporate representation to help get big stores and chains involved in the movement.
If you'd like to volunteer or help spread the word about The Yellow Dog Project, visit the Facebook page and add to the project's ever-growing number of "likes" to stay informed on the latest happenings. In addition, you can download flyers in various sizes at the Yellow Dog home page. While there, you'll also find a yellow ribbon to download and share on your own website.
And if you're out walking and see a dog wearing a yellow ribbon, always remember to give that dog space.