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Special Needs Dog: What Does a Yellow Ribbon on a Dog's Collar Mean?

Image: Special Needs Dog: What Does a Yellow Ribbon on a Dog's Collar Mean?
Photo of theyellowdogproject.com web site.

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Jan 2015 11:44 AM

While dogs are often referred to as man's best friend, don't immediately assume a strange dog will be friendly. Some dogs have special needs — they've been rescued from owners who abused or neglected them and aren't outgoing or sociable.

Even well-loved dogs may have personality traits or medical conditions that make them less approachable.

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A yellow ribbon tied to a dog's collar is one way in which owners can alert the public that they have a special-needs dog.

The Yellow Dog Project (YDP) is an organization that advocates the use of a yellow ribbon on a dog's collar to identify dogs that need additional space and may be less than approachable.

These are "not necessarily aggressive dogs, but more often are dogs who have issues of fear; pain from recent surgery; are a rescue or shelter dog who has not yet had sufficient training or mastered obedience; are in training for work or service; are in service; or other reasons specific to the dog," the organization states on its website.

YDP is a nonprofit organization with a global perspective on dog awareness and education, and has adopted the acronym DINOS, which stand for Dogs in Need of Space.

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The project is active in 45 different countries and their educational materials have been translated into 12 different languages. YDP is also very active on social media and uses Facebook, for example, to remind people to ask before petting another person's dog.

YDP strives to make it clear what the yellow ribbon on a special-needs dog means — and what it does not mean.

Wearing the ribbon is not an admission of guilt or a confession because "dogs can have space issues for a variety of reasons," YDP states. The ribbon also is "not a waiver of responsibility" for owners who put the dog in stressful situations and assume the public will not approach just because of the yellow ribbon.

Finally, the yellow ribbon is "not an excuse to avoid proper training." In other words, the yellow ribbon is a tool to help protect the public from a dog that needs more space and protect the special-needs dog from undue stress. The assumption is that the dog will continue to receive rehabilitation training with the goal of increasing its approachability.

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While dogs are often referred to as man's best friend, don't immediately assume a strange dog will be friendly. Some dogs have special needs — they've been rescued from owners who abused or neglected them and aren't outgoing or sociable.
special needs dog, yellow, ribbon, collar, pets
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2015-44-07
Wednesday, 07 Jan 2015 11:44 AM
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