Some Dogs Need Space – ‘Yellow Dogs’
There are many dogs, for various reasons, that may require more personal space, at a distance away from other dogs or people.
This might include, service dogs, dogs in training, deaf or blind dogs, or those recovering from illness or surgery. Lastly, there are many dogs who struggle to socialise and may suffer from anxiety and stress. read on to find out more about why some dogs need space.
The ‘Yellow Dog’ Campaign in the U.K. was started as a way of creating awareness for dogs who need space. The idea is, these dogs wear a yellow ribbon – usually tied to the lead. This indicates when dogs should not be approached by other people, or dogs.
If you see a dog wearing a yellow ribbon it is best to keep your own dog on a lead and maintain a respectable distance. This gives the other person time to move out of the way.
Another campaign, started in the United States called Dogs in Need of Space (D.I.N.O.S) operates with a similar philosophy in mind. However, they are opposed to using signals such as ribbons. Instead, they focus on the need for more responsible attitudes from all dog walkers.
Reasons why some dogs might need space.
- Puppies in training – A boisterous, large, or aggressive dog bounding over to a young puppy in training might set the owner back days, or even weeks, by frightening a puppy unnecessarily. There are crucial periods in a puppy’s life where a startling event could impact on him in negative ways.
- Recovering from surgery.
- Old age – some older dogs can become a little grumpy in their twilight years. Many may not relish so much attention from people, or other dogs.
- Nervous – There are many dogs who fit into this category. Dogs may be fearful of other people, other dogs, novel situations or, – all of these things. The U.S. ‘Dino’s’ campaign focuses especially on these types of dogs who find it difficult to interact with other dogs.
Fundamentally, the issue comes down to responsibility – not only for those people who own dogs that need space, but for the lucky ones who own easy going sociable dogs.
Your dog may be friendly and confident. However, other people may be struggling with one that does not find mixing so easy. This is not the owner’s or the dog’s fault. There may be many reasons for the dogs behaviour; an example might be a lack of socialisation – typical in rescue dogs.
As D.I.N.O.S. says, it is every dog owner should take responsibility walking their dogs; not just people with ‘difficult’ dogs.
People with sociable and ‘easy’ dogs need to consider they can be part of the solution for owners and dogs who struggle, rather than be part of the problem.
Simply shouting across to other dog walkers, “Its o.k. – he just wants to play!” is both unfair and irresponsible.
If you see someone walking a dog on lead, consider this may be because the dog needs extra personal space. Be kind enough to provide this by putting your own dog on the lead.
Tips for owners of dogs that need space.
There is nothing wrong with taking walks at ‘off peak’. It may also help if your avoid parks and other areas frequented by dog walkers and, particularly, off-lead dogs. If your dog is particularly nervous, there is likewise no harm in skipping a daily walk, to allow your dog to calm down.
If you come across owners who allow their dogs to bound up to you – especially if your dog is on the lead – call across and ask them politely to call their dog back. Explain that your dog is in training. Stand up for your dog and help set your dog up for success.
If other dogs continue to pester, stand between your dog and the nuisance dog. A good dog trainer or behaviourist will be able to help you with counter-conditioning techniques.
Dogs are not robots and can’t be expected to happily tolerate everything they encounter. This is an especially unfair expectation of nervous dogs. If you have a nervous dog and wish to book one of our highly experienced carers, do let us know and we can match you to somebody with a quiet home and who will walk your dog in quieter areas.