The Yellow Dog Project

The Yellow Dog Project is an initiative to keep your dog and the dogs and people around them safe. #yellowdogproject

Do you know what a yellow ribbon or bow tie on a dog means? Have you seen a dog in the park wearing a yellow ribbon or bow tie?

If you have, I am very pleased to hear this. It is a sign of a responsible dog owner and a good sign that The Yellow Dog Project is becoming more widespread.

What Is The Yellow Dog Project?

The Yellow Dog Project is an international campaign to create awareness around the world that “some dogs need space”. The hope is to make this a global movement, giving owners a simple but effective way to indicate that their dog should not be approached, or should be approached with caution. 

However, for this thoughtful and much needed symbol to work, worldwide recognition is required. The greater the reach, the greater the success it will have.

I urge both owners and non-owners alike to read and promote this message, enabling all dogs to be outside – stress free! By making the yellow ribbons, neckties, bowties, vests or leash sleeves recognised worldwide, dogs and their owners can enjoy going for a walk.

I passionately support the Yellow Dog Project. It is a fantastic campaign to educate the public and create a safer experience for all concerned.

Why Wear a Yellow Ribbon?

There are many reason that a dog may need some distance. It’s not always because they are unpredictable or aggressive. And, even when they are, it typically stems from fear or anxiety; often due to trauma or distressing past experiences.

They should be given time and space. They need to recover and trust the world again. Thankfully, there are owners that are willing to put in the effort it takes to help them adjust to a new life.

The Yellow Dog Project helps these owners take their dogs outside to build trust and relationships in a more controlled environment. 

Not Just For Fear-Reactive Dogs

Dogs that are recovering from injury, bitches that are in heat, older and frail dogs, and dogs in training all benefit from the Yellow Dog Project. They need people and other dogs to respect that they have their own stuff going on right now and a little extra space would be great. 

As well as a yellow ribbon that can be attached to a leash, there are heaps of yellow-coloured options for owners. Warning vests are also a great indicator of why a dog needs some space. Many services have the option to personalise the print on them.

I recently saw one that read “I CANNOT SEE”. The owner told me that bikes give her dog extra space, owners call their dogs out of his way, and she feels that he now has a relatively stress-free walk. 

As a trainer, I find the yellow dog indicators a huge aid. Whether I am simply retraining an adolescent going through a rebellious stage, have a leash puller that I want to walk nicely, or am working with a fear aggressive dog, the yellow neckties, bowties and vests help me greatly in public spaces. But only with those in the know! I am still finding that 50% of people are unaware that such a campaign exists. 

Promoting Responsible Dog Ownership

The Yellow Dog Project’s goal is to educate the public and promote responsible dog ownership. Whilst enabling owners to advise that their dog needs space, the project fully supports dog socialisation and play.

It is hugely important to a dog’s well-being to engage with others and, most importantly, other dogs. They are pack animals, after all.

However, there are some circumstances when distance is the best course of action for a particular dog. The project hopes to encourage owners to recall their dogs when they see another wearing a yellow warning emblem.

It also focuses on educating their children on why they should ask before approaching a dog. If there is an underlying behavioural problem, the Yellow Dog team recommend that owners work with qualified dog trainers or behaviourists.

Trainers and behaviourists can understand the reasons behind the unwanted behaviour. They will work out a long-term programme to relieve the distress the dogs are feeling when out on walks.

If a dog has been known to bite, they must wear a muzzle when in public. A muzzle protects the people and dogs around them. It also protects your dog if he were to react badly in a particularly distressing situation.

It is sensible, and not cruel, to wear muzzle to prevent a completely avoidable incident from happening. 

How Can You Help Support The Yellow Dog Project?

You are supporting it already! The first step is to read about it and understand it. Simply by taking the time to read this you are now more aware of what a yellow ribbon on a dog means. 

If you want to help further you can share this message with others. Digital media is a great platform for spreading the word.

Whether you choose to use social media as such Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, a personal website like mine, or just good old-fashioned word of mouth, the more you talk about it the wider the reach. 

You may have a dog that needs to wear a yellow emblem. If so, start adding a yellow ribbon to their walking gear.

Charity-based has a gorgeous yellow bowtie and plenty of vests to choose from. Based in Prague (delivery worldwide), Katka donates 30% of sales to local dog shelters and support of adoption.  

Spread The Word

If your dog is a friendly, well-mannered dog you may be thinking how can I help? Well it’s easy. When you see a dog with a yellow emblem and others are not respecting the desired space, help the owner by talking with the people around them.

Educate them about what the yellow emblem means and how the dog in question should be approached. Do you have children? You can tell them what a yellow emblem means and they can teach their friends.

Are you in group gatherings a lot and can discuss what the Yellow Dog project means? There are many ways to increase awareness of this much-needed campaign.

It will truly go a long way to allowing some dogs to overcome their problems and enjoy a better standard of life. 

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the Yellow Dog Project, please comment below or contact me. I will be happy to talk to you about this wonderful initiative. If you prefer to go and look up the organisation yourself, please see the link below:


And I think this poster sums it up completely:

So what do you think? Can you see any downsides? Are people taking it too far? Are we assuming the worst if a dog is wearing this ribbon on their leash? Or is this all a positive step in the direction of responsible dog ownership? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

2 thoughts on “The Yellow Dog Project”

  1. I use a yellow lead attachment on my dog after being bitten twice by other dogs she has become fear reactive. She wags her tail but the closer they come then the fight or flight takes over. Some owners spot the yellow and either call there dogs back instantly and put them on the lead and give us space or others just ignore it. But it does help as I say some recognise the yellow and react as a responsible owner should.

    • Hi Jayne,
      Thank you for sharing.
      It is wonderful that the Yellow Dog project is getting more awareness but it does not have worldwide recognition just yet. Do you ever talk to the unaware owners if you get close enough and explain what the yellow symbol means?
      What a shame that your dog has been attacked and now built up a fear of other dogs. If you need any help in trying to reduce that anxiety, please do not hesitate to contact me.
      Thank you


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