Wednesday, October 24, 2012

tie a yellow ribbon

A few months after Sam came to live with us, a pilot off-leash dog park program started in our town.  We took Sam to the park for exercise and socialization.  He was still technically a puppy, about 10 months old.  The first time we went, he and I both were cornered by a large, poorly controlled German Shepherd.  The German Shepherd was beautiful but it's owners were drunk and thought this was funny.  Since that time, Sam is very cautious around big dogs when we are visiting a dog park.  Also, he really hates it when he is on his leash and an unleashed dog approaches him.

Recently, I heard about The Yellow Dog Project and I've been helping to spread the news about them when I can.  TYDP is trying to get the message out about anxious dogs, dogs who are in training, possibly recovering from an illness or surgery and who may need a little space while they are out in public.  To help others recognize one of these dogs, TYPD is encouraging folks to tie a yellow ribbon or piece of fabric/wool to a dog's leash to indicate that they may need a bit of space.  I think it's a terrific idea.  I get tired of having to put myself between Sam and a dog owner who is letting their pup run around, unleashed, in a public space.  I get all kinds of dirty looks if Sam snarls at their dog (he's fine if they keep their distance from him) when really, they should have control of their animal if they aren't in the off-leash area.  Sam requires slow introductions, on neutral territory, and he's fine.

I love simple solutions to problems.  Hopefully it'll catch on and will encourage folks to respect a nervous dog's personal space.  As Sam's guardian, it's my responsibility to keep him safe and that means limiting the changes of him getting into a tussle with another puppy.  If you have a nervous dog, or know someone who does, feel free to share this link and infographic with them. 

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