What are the reasons why a dog might need a little extra personal space? The concept behind it is quite simple, the Yellowdog Australia Project suggests a wide range of reasons behind why a dog might be wearing a yellow ribbon, vest, bandanna or any yellow item attached to a leash, collar or harness. It is to communicate that this dog needs some space and please do not approach this dog with your dog. Also it signals to maintain a distance or allow time for this dog with his/her person to move out of the way
Training in the Community. As an example a puppy or young dog that is in training. It can be difficult to teach a dog not to jump up at people when a stranger walks by and “coos” at the puppy. Socialization is very important, but so is training and learning manners, thus outside interference and distractions can make it much more difficult to concentrate. We know as dog trainers it is best to never interrupt a dog training session of any kind without a good reason so in this scenario - the yellow ribbon, bandana or vest may only need to be used for short periods of time.
For the Dog Trainer. And then there are trainers who are very serious about working with their dogs on their fears. These people are generally going to be Counter Conditioning a dog to its fears (be it people, dogs garbage cans, etc.) and doing BAT (Behaviour ,Adjustment Training). These dogs are going to need to be taken out into public at some point or else they will not be able to progress past a certain point. These dogs are going to need to be exposed to their triggers many times. There is no way to avoid going out in public if the problem is truly going to be addressed!
Consider dogs with behavioural or temperament issues that require a significant amount of time to be spent on their assessment and training before they are able to be taken out off the lead or trusted to play nicely with other dogs or people. This is often the case with dogs that have been re-homed after an uncertain past. Give them the time and space they need to learn about the right ways to behave, and let them have some room to see the things that they haven't seen or heard before.
Dog training Clubs. The number of dog training clubs incorporating the Yellow Sign into their class structure is steadily increasing helping those who need assistance with their dog. Ground rules depend on class structure. Wearing the yellow indicator does not mean these dogs are “bad”, rather that they do better with space for a whole variety of reasons that may NOT be related to their temperament or approachability in itself.
Fearful Dogs in the Environment.. There are many dogs who have been so traumatized they may never be 100% after what has happened to them so need a “back off” sign. They should still be allowed to go on walks but perhaps not so much in a public setting because there is a real issue in the fact that too many people have no idea what it means to be polite or kind.
Not to mention to know how to approach a dog in a way that is proper providing a good opportunity for a positive social interaction in the first place. Whatever the reason, it is always good to give an oncoming dog and their family space. There are many “friendly”, “people loving", ”dog loving”, yet ill-behaved off leash dogs out in public, owners who have allowed their dogs to drag them to another dog saying “Don’t worry, my dog’s friendly”. If reactive dogs “shouldn’t be out in public” then perhaps the same should apply to these dogs also??