Canadian dog trainer Tara Balardi is on a mission to help protect DINOS (Dogs Need Extra Space).
I don’t know about you, but I’d very much like to have a celebration with every dog that crosses my path. But as a dog owner, I know this isn’t always the best thing to do.
My dog Matilda, a Lab mix with a Collie, is 8 months old now, so she’s not a bit pluralistic anymore. But when she was, we couldn’t walk down the street without everyone wanting to love her (which I totally understand – puppies are cute as heck!). The problem was, she hadn’t yet learned that jumping up on people wasn’t kosher, and not many people realize just how razor sharp puppy teeth are. One girl on the streetcar (who didn’t ask if it was better to fine her) ended up with a pretty hole mark on her leather jacket because little Matilda thought it would make a fun chew toy.
What is the Yellow Dog Project?
The Yellow Dog Project was born out of the idea that some dogs need a little extra space. They may have recently had surgery, are working through fear issues or are still in the process of learning obedience. He may be a service dog or in training to be one. Or maybe (like mine) they are a rambunctious puppy that needs more training.
Whatever the circumstances, I’ll bet you’ll want there to be an easy way to pass this on to other people! The Yellow Dog Project helps make that a reality.
All you have to do is attach something yellow to your dog’s leash, just like that, recognize your dog as a “yellow dog”. It could be a yellow ribbon, a poop bag, a bandana, you name it; The point is, it lets others know that they should ask your permission before approaching your dog.
What is the Yellow Dog program not?
While the yellow ribbon can be a great way to identify DINOS (Dogs That Need Space), Balardi is quick to explain what the project is all about:
- It is not an excuse to avoid training your dog properly. It is meant to signify that your dog is currently in training for their space issues, and not that they are a very aggressive dog.
- It is not an admission of guilt. Just because a dog is wearing a yellow stripe does not mean that he is evil or that he has assaulted someone. Don’t stereotype the yellow dog, and don’t be shy about identifying your pup as a yellow dog if he needs space.
- It is not a waiver of responsibility. If you know your dog has space issues, it’s up to you to keep him out of stressful situations that might activate his fear. Yellow tape also won’t stop people from approaching your dog without permission – they may not know what the tape means.
How can I be of assistance?
Balardi introduced the project to 250 of her clients and friends in September 2012. Today, she has nearly 100,000 Facebook fans and counting.
If you want to help spread the word, you can go to the foundation’s website to make a donation or become a sponsor if you’re a pet service professional. All proceeds go directly to the project. You can also print copies of the project poster and stick them around your area to help promote yellow ribbon awareness.
What do you think of the yellow dog project? Are you going to use it on your dog?