What Does a Yellow Ribbon on a Dog Mean?


Perhaps you've been out on walks and noticed a yellow ribbon on a dog's leash or collar. This is a universal symbol that this dog needs a bit of space. The Yellow Dog Project is an international campaign designed to help dogs who enjoy being out and about but might be nervous, injured or in service.

In short, it is like yellow caution tape for dogs saying "Do not cross." 

What a yellow ribbon does NOT mean

A Yellow ribbon on a dog isn't necessarily a sign to others that this is a dangerous dog. As many of the dogs on the above illustration show, a dog might be in training, sick, or need space from other dogs because she is in season.

The yellow ribbin also isn't an excuse not to train an animal. Nor does it give you any legal protection from people who may still approach your dog. Simply use it as a conversation starter. For example, when someone seems interested in your dog, you might say, "See his yellow caution ribbon? That ribbon is a message that my dog needs extra room. Thanks for understanding."

A yellow ribbon isn't something to be ashamed of, either. Wear your ribbon proudly to demonstrate how much progress your pup has made working on social skills,  getting over an abusive history or is recovering well from sickness.

Share the news

It's important to tell others about what a yellow ribbon on a dog means, particularly children. While you're at it, also share the proper way to approach a strange dog on a leash. This includes asking the owner for permission, not hugging or petting the dog's head, as this may feel threatening to a dog. Instead, let the dog sniff a hand extended low. A touch on the chest might be a good first touch.

For more information and tips, visit the Yellow Dog Project's website.

This entry was posted by Mary.
Brad on January 20 at 9:45 AM said:

Love this! Never heard of it before I'll have to get Jasper a yellow bandana
Anonymous on January 20 at 5:56 PM said:

Never knew this thanks for the info!!
katy on January 20 at 6:09 PM said:

2 pitts killed my brother's lab, they crushed his head, he was a trained hunting dog. A pitt injured my dog over cost 1K for repairs, saw him coming down the street covered in blood on his chest..another dead pet. Hope there is a yellow ribbon on every one of these dogs..also a rotwieller killed is own owner in her backyard here in town, while she was trying to feed it..her lawn guys found her body 2 days later..yellow ribbons? YES!!
kim on January 20 at 8:02 PM said:

very good idea glad to know this will keep this in mind
Jewelly on January 20 at 8:58 PM said:

Don't blame the dogs, blame the owners who don't think beyond being able to tell people that they own a 'mean-looking' dog...forgetting (or completely ignoring) the fact that a (any) dog needs training and interaction with people and other animals. Having a pet of any kind is not something that you ignore after the new wears off. I've introduced myself to more than one Pitbull that had as good of manners as anyone could have wanted. Each time, on the other end of the leash was a responsible pet owner. One owner was a six-year-old boy...with no parent hovering over both of them. Close by, yes. Ready to defend their kid from a four-legged killer, no. Another had his BFF with him...a young cat he'd carried around (in his mouth) since it was a just-weaned kitten, sleeping on top of the Pitt every night. No, the dog, whatever the breed is not blame. The owner is. A yellow ribbon is a good idea...like when a horse has a red ribbon on it's tail. Warning: this horse will kick if trailed too closely. Another sign of a good owner.
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