Have you heard of the Yellow Dog Project? Does your child know how to greet a dog?
The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for parents of dogs that need space (YellowDogProject.com). The goal of this movement is to raise awareness about dogs who may be overly excitable when children, people, and other dogs are around. The use of a yellow ribbon on the dog’s leash or collar is to identify yellow dogs who are are in need of extra space.
The color yellow is used as a symbol of caution to others (especially children) who may approach your dog while you are engaged in an outdoor activity.
As dog parents of an excitable herding dog, we are thrilled to hear of this global movement. There have been occasions where children have run toward us to pet Gracie. While it’s important to train your dog, it is also important to teach children how to greet a dog. To avoid miscommunication during greetings it is critical for parents to teach children safe methods of approaching and greeting dogs, and to avoid them at certain times.
We encourage teaching your children three simple rules:
- Children should always ask the owner first if it is okay to pet their dog;
- The dog should be pet on the back from collar to tail, never on the head;
- Leave dogs that are sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies alone.
Additional basic child safety tips around dogs:
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run from a dog and scream.
- Remain motionless (“be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (“be still like a log”).
- Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Do not disturb a dog when it is eating, on its bed, in a car, behind a fence, or tied up.
We recently had first hand experience with an adult, not a child, tapping on our car window with Gracie in the car barking. This man continued to antagonize her while I had my hands full standing next to my car door waiting to get in. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I had ever been through as a dog owner. What many people may not understand is that training your dog takes a great deal of time, patience and consistency. One experience like this can not only set your training back quite a bit, but also put your dog through unnecessary stress and anxiety.
When we heard of the Yellow Dog Project, we immediately thought it was a great movement toward safe dog encounters and pet education. Next time you see a “yellow dog”, we hope you will take a moment to recognize that the dog may need some extra space. We encourage you to spread the word and educate others, especially children, on what the yellow ribbon symbolizes.