Perhaps you’ve seen the graphic on Facebook. It shows a dog with a yellow ribbon tied to its leash. The words under the picture say, “I just like my space.”

Some dogs love attention. Others would rather not be petted by strangers—especially children. What if there was a way to know that a dog does not want attention?

The yellow ribbon is part of an international campaign called The Yellow Dog Project. Tara Palardy, a Canadian dog trainer and owner of a dog day care, created the Yellow Dog Project. It’s supposed to provide a way for children to recognize dogs that should not be approached or that should be approached with care. According to Palardy, a yellow ribbon does not mean that the dog is dangerous or that it will bite, but is a warning sign that the dog may not be child-friendly, may have fear or anxiety issues, is sick, is being trained, or may get overly excited.

While the yellow ribbon seems like a good idea, there are problems. The main one is that very few people know what a yellow ribbon means. Have you ever seen a dog wearing a yellow ribbon? Did you know what the ribbon meant prior to reading this article?

Also, the yellow ribbon is supposed to warn children that a dog should not be approached. Will a toddler who is focused on the “Doggie!!!” notice a yellow ribbon? Will he think to look? Will he remember what it means? Will he think that it is automatically okay to approach a dog that does not have a yellow ribbon?

A yellow ribbon is a nice idea, but it is not a substitute for owner responsibility. If your dog is nervous, in pain, or fearful of strangers, it is your job as a dog owner to keep your pet out of situations that might cause stress and lead to a dog bite injury. Dog owners should remember:

  • A yellow ribbon is NOT an excuse to avoid proper training.
  • A yellow ribbon is NOT a waiver of responsibility for your dog’s behavior.
  • A yellow ribbon is for your convenience; it may not have a meaning to others.

If you have been bitten by a dog in Iowa, the dog owner is usually liable for your injuries. Find out more in our article, Three Reasons You Need to Begin Your Iowa Dog Bite Claim Immediately. If you have questions, please contact Hupy and Abraham at 888-807-2752.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.