YELLOW WARNING – Danielle Gettis and her dog Traxx participate in a training session. Traxx wears a yellow ribbon on his leash to alert people that he needs extra space.

Campaign raises awareness of dogs in training

Officials with The Yellow Dog Project aims to be recognized worldwide

  • Oct. 17, 2012 2:52 p.m.

A new campaign recently started in Red Deer aims to raise public awareness of dogs who need a little extra space due to a variety of different issues.

According to their web site The Yellow Dog Project was created to bring awareness to dogs who need space while training, recovering from surgery or being rehabilitated. To show this, dogs could have a yellow ribbon or yellow waste bag tied to their leash or wear a yellow bandana – just as long as it is highly visible to others.

“It’s a simple campaign so that people can notice the yellow from a distance and know that this dog needs space whether it’s a puppy in training and they’re going to jump all over someone, or if it’s a dog that has just had surgery and it’s something that you can’t see, or if they are reactive or a special needs dog. It’s really important that a dog is respected in all of these aspects. Yellow means caution,” said Tara Palardy, founder of The Yellow Dog Project.

“A big part of The Yellow Dog Project needs to be training people on how to say ‘hi’ to dogs. Some people think that the yellow ribbon is an admission of guilt, but it’s not, it’s saying that your dog is in training to get better from the fact that they react. This is not for people who have straight-out aggressive dogs. You need to talk to a dog trainer, behaviourist or whatever and get that dealt with. This is for those people who have already talked to their trainer or behaviourist and are now working on the issues.

“For instance, we have a dog Traxx who does not do well when people approach him. But if he can approach you, it’s no problem. It’s just because people getting in his space is hugely intimidating –just like if I came and sat in your lap – same thing, not very cool.”

Palardy had seen a poster on the Internet from Sweden with a similar idea to The Yellow Dog Project, and decided to take it and make it into something bigger. “I had mentioned the idea to a few of my clients and they thought it would be great – to get instant awareness. We started with just our clients using it. We’ve had so much interest in our facebook page that now we have over 45 countries involved. There are pockets of people all over the world doing something similar to this, but this is the first organized group and campaign of its kind.”

She added initially the awareness started with the “dog community” including owners, trainers, veterinarians etc. and now the challenge is to create awareness in the community as a whole.

“We want to get people who don’t even have pets to understand what yellow means.”

Palardy said she hopes the campaign will continue to grow.

“Through Yellow Dog I hope to be recognized worldwide through cities and countries and bylaws rather than just people – meaning cities adopting it and promoting it, government agencies promoting it,” she said. “I want it to be an educational tool and be able to go into schools and providing children with dog safety. Children are the next generation that are going to grow up and have another dog. And we hope to even have adult educational programs as well.

“I just want this campaign to get to the point where no one has to ask questions anymore, it’s just known.”

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