For many animal lovers, the first impulse when they see a dog is to walk up and pet it—sometimes without the consent of the owner. The problem with that is not every dog is receptive to attention from a stranger, or even from other dogs.
There can be many reasons for this. Sometimes a dog has aggression issues; sometimes they are shy or have an anxiety disorder; or they may have a medical condition that requires limited physical contact. Other cases include service dogs, dogs that have not been properly socialized, or dogs that have not yet completed obedience training.
Whatever the case, this is why dog trainer Tara Palardy founded The Yellow Dog Project: to raise awareness and help the public recognize Dogs In Need of Space (a.k.a. DINOS). This nonprofit organization began in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and has since gone global.
Palardy first saw the need for this project when she met clients who complained of overeager strangers petting their high-strung dogs and allowing children to get too close to them. Now owners in 45 countries are attaching yellow ribbons to their dogs’ collars and leashes to let others know not to approach them.
As a trainer and a dog daycare manager, Palardy advocates positive reinforcement training to solve behavioral problems in “yellow dogs.” The organization’s website provides links to useful resources, such as training instruction books and profiles of animal trainers and behaviorists.
TYDP’s online stores sell ribbons, labeled dog vests, collars, and bandannas—and that’s just for the dogs. For themselves, dog owners can buy pins, T-shirts, clutch purses, backpacks, and iPhone cases. All money that’s raised and donated goes toward awareness campaigns and ribbon production.
– Särah Nour