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home : columns : columns April 29, 2016

1/14/2014 12:45:00 PM
Does your dog need a yellow ribbon?
Katie is not aggressive, but sensitive to people she doesn’t know. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee
+ click to enlarge
Katie is not aggressive, but sensitive to people she doesn’t know. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee

By Jodi Schneider McNamee

The sun is shining and you're out walking Fido. You know that as he's grown older he is more temperamental toward energized kids. A group of teenagers walking by notice how beautiful your pooch is and run over to pet him. Before you can stop them he growls and tries to bite. Luckily nobody gets hurt.

We may love man's best friend, but not all dogs are "people" dogs.

There's a new way to warn people if your four-legged family member is feeling grumpy or aggressive. It's called "The Yellow Dog Project." Yellow dogs are dogs that need space, but it is important to know that not all dogs wearing a yellow ribbon are aggressive. Dogs need space for a variety of reasons including recovering from surgery, when they're undergoing training, being rehabilitated, or just because they are nervous around people they don't know. Thanks to The Yellow Dog Project, these dogs now have a way to communicate this.

The idea is simple: If your dog doesn't like to be approached, tie a yellow ribbon around his collar or leash to signal that your pet needs some space. A yellow ribbon around a dog's collar or leash can also help children identify that they need to proceed with caution. The dog may not be child-friendly, may have fear or anxiety issues, or may be overly excited. Either way, it means caution should be applied when approaching.

The Yellow Dog Project is a nonprofit organization that is a global effort to help raise awareness and education around dogs that require a little extra distance.

Tara Palardy, from Alberta, Canada founded The Yellow Dog Project in 2012 to alert the public that not all dogs are social. She is a dog trainer and manager of a doggie daycare. Palardy got the idea for The Yellow Dog Project from a Swedish website, but she wanted to take her yellow ribbons worldwide. She created a logo, launched a website and started a Facebook page that attracted more than 20,000 followers. The Yellow Dog Project has already reached 45 countries and is regularly adding more followers through its Facebook campaign.

The Yellow Dog Project is very promising as it will not only protect animals, but their humans as well. If folks are aware of The Yellow Dog Project, it could save someone from being bitten or hurt.

Whoever is interested in learning more, and in spreading the word in their neighborhood right here in Sisters, you can go to www.the On The Yellow Dog Project's Facebook page you can find a large community of people passionate on this project, sharing stories of their dogs, and helping to take part in making The Yellow Dog Project go big. In addition, you can download flyers in various sizes at the website's home page.

Although a yellow ribbon is a great way to give your dog space and let others know not to approach, dog aggression can be difficult to deal with. Overcoming aggression, no matter what the reason, can be achieved with patience and training. Enroll your yellow-ribbon dog in obedience classes. It is important to expose your pooch to other dogs in a controlled setting. An obedience class is an ideal environment to work on dog aggression. Fido will learn to socialize in a positive way with other dogs.

Judy Niedzwiecke, volunteer caregiver and secretary for Wildside Rehabilitation in Sisters, recently sent an email to Sisters naturalist Jim Anderson about spreading the word about The Yellow Dog Project and he forwarded it on. It's a good idea.

Let's help spread the word in Sisters Country!

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