We often see dogs adorned with different color and patterns, but we can assume that it is the owner’s idea to add a little Flair to his dog’s appearance. It’s a fun way to brighten up your day and add a little touch or a zest for life to the world around you. Everything is very beautiful, but what about a puppy that wear yellow?

For people, wearing a yellow ribbon can mean awareness or support for a number of important causes, such as self-destruction prevention, military support, hunger, certain cancer, etc. but what if you see a dog wearing a yellow ribbon on its collar or leash? Should you assume that your paw parents just want to get you involved in the cause?

The answer is no. If you see a dog wearing one, it is much more likely that it means the desire of other not to approach the animal. But why? Well, this could be due to various things, such as the following:

  • He is a traumatized rescue dog who is still getting used to life with his new family and his new environment
  • Elderly dog whose senses are dulled and therefore more anxious
  • Deaf, blind or otherwise sensorially disabled dog
  • Doged by another dog and has PTSD
  • Dog with health problems that cause pain when touched
  • Shy nervous dog on a leash and around other animals or people
  • Service dog in training that requires a minimum of distractions

“When a parent puts a ribbon on their pet, they want to communicate with other and can work to make their dog feel more comfortable in public or social environments,” says Jodie Havens, PetSmart training expert, from Reader’s Digest.

According to them, the practice of attaching a yellow ribbon/bow to dog collar/leashes in North America began with the Yellow Dog Project to help nervous dogs and their owner. This is a non-profit organization that educates the public on how to greet a dog safely and reduce bad interactions.

The founder and dog trainer Tara Palardy was at the origin of the movement. As a trainer, she recognized the need for dog owner to have a way to communicate remotely that their dog is uncomfortable being approached. The yellow ribbon, or Bandana, is visible to people who might otherwise approach the animal to play with it or stroke it.

So if you see a dog with a yellow ribbon or a bandana, try to avoid it. “Respect the space you need,” Havens recommended. “Go about your business, but avoid eye contact with the dog, move your body slightly away from the dog and avoid talking to the handler. These small changes can make a big difference.”

If you are walking your dog and come across a puppy with yellow stripes, swing wide and let the animal with several feet between you, him and your dog. “Don’t approach the dog, don’t look at him, don’t try to interact with him or pet him,” Havens continued. “In addition, do not let your dog get close to you and do not try to start a conversation with the dog handler, as this could trigger.”

If you are approached by a dog with a yellow bow, ribbon, scarf, collar, etc., Havens said it’s important to stay calm. “Slowly turn to the side and walk away,” she explained. “If you have your dog with you, turn slowly and walk away calmly. Try to prevent your dog from looking by attracting him or using cues like a manual target to redirect eye contact.”All in all, make a big bow around her and go about your day.