The other day a handsome but anxious German Shepherd named River (pictured below) came to see me sporting a rather interesting lead.
Not only was it bright yellow but on it was the word ‘NERVOUS’. Whatever size or breed of dog, clear information like this is extremely valuable not just to protect anyone from possible dog bites, but to also keep stress levels down for the dog too.
This excellent and pretty simple idea reminded me of the clever Yellow Dog UK project which promotes any dog sporting a yellow ribbon, bandanna or similar on its lead, is saying “This dog needs space so please do not come close to this dog with your dog.”
But how close is too close you may ask?
Well, only the dog and its owner know, so please try to maintain healthy distance allowing both time to move sufficiently and explain any situation.
Dogs may need space for many reasons. Perhaps they’re injured or suffer health issues, or it’s a rescue dog being rehabilitated – the world can often be a very scary place for these dogs – they may have a new family who are unsure as to their behaviour with other dogs.
Sometimes bad experiences with other dogs, bitches in season, even very old and suffering from arthritis, can all make dogs behave differently and unpredictably.
Yellow ribbons or bandannas may be used for shorter term periods too such as when being trained/instructed or longer term as well.
For example if a dog is elderly, and does not like young lively dogs around him.
Of course dog socialisation is essential for every dog’s wellbeing and development so this clever campaign will hopefully encourage dog owners to recall their dogs when they spot a dog wearing a yellow ribbon, giving that dog and its owner time to move out of your way and to get him used to people and animals.
If your dog has behaviour problems please always contact a qualified dog trainer/dog behaviourist after a full clinical examination by your vet.