What It Means When You See a Yellow Ribbon on a Dog’s Leash

The Yellow Ribbon campaign promotes a signal that says certain dogs need extra space.


When you’re out on a walk, does your dog sometimes need to stay away from other dogs? If you saw a yellow ribbon tied to the leash of a dog, would you proceed with caution and give the dog some space? This is the hope of a Yellow Ribbon campaign we discovered on the Pit Bulls: Lost/Found/Missing/Stolen group on Facebook.

Reasons a dog might need “space” are listed, and the goal is to let people know not to approach the dog. Perhaps your dog is in training, has health issues, or had a bad experience around other dogs with behavior problems. Whatever the case, the campaign is designed on the principle of respect. That is: My dog needs space, so kindly respect it.

Perhaps this is something that needs to catch on. The “Yellow Dog” campaign website points out this ribbon is useful for owners of male dogs not to bring their animals close to female dogs in heat. The campaign has an accompanying Facebook page.

We’re a little concerned that dissenters might see the ribbon as a “warning” notice that might fuel the “bully breeds are dangerous” mindset.

My belief leans more toward “all dogs should have space,” and please do ask before you pet my dog. I particularly appreciate it when small children ask me first before petting my dog. My dog looks like a walking stuffed animal, which can be a blessing as well as a curse. It takes an hour to get through the pet supply store (which can be a lot of fun) but only because we meet so many people. At times I wonder whether a yellow ribbon might be useful.

On the flip side, my dog is a Canine Good Citizen and one of the happiest little boys to walk the Earth, so I want him to be exposed to a lot of people and situations.

Apparently a red ribbon on the tail of a horse is a warning that it might kick, so people are advised to keep their distance. I discovered that while doing research for this piece. Did you know that?

Some dogs are timid in public, particularly if they have been abused, so the yellow ribbon might be a warning to stay back and let the owner work on the timidity at a measured pace.

What do you think? Have you seen a dog with a yellow ribbon? Perhaps you use one and would like to share your experience, good or bad?

Read more on leashes and training:

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