The Meaning Behind Those Yellow Ribbons On Dogs- Petting Dog App

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Walking reactive or anxious dogs in public is challenging, especially when strangers and dogs walk over to greet your dog. It’s best not to walk fearful dogs around triggers that scare them because it will only make it worse. Sometimes, avoiding scary triggers is impossible during potty walks though, especially for apartment dwellers and for those without backyards. Due to this issue, a smart individual started The Yellow Dog Project, which has gained popularity within the dog world.

What is the Yellow Dog Project?

The Yellow Dog Project is a movement to help dogs get the space they need during walks. When walking through a public area, it’s nearly impossible to identify a reactive or anxious dog unless you’re skilled in dog body language. If you have a reactive or anxious dog, the Yellow Dog Project recommends tying a yellow bow on your dog’s leash to signal to others that your dog needs space.

In general, the color yellow means caution and to slow down just like police caution tape and yellow traffic lights. When choosing a yellow bow, it’s best to use a larger brightly colored yellow bow, so it’s easily seen from a distance. Of course, if your dog is frightened by the bow, it’s best to introduce it slowly until your dog learns his or her yellow bow makes treats appear.

Does the Yellow Dog Project Work?

The Yellow Dog Project is a fantastic way to ensure strangers won’t approach your dog—that is if strangers understand what the presence of a yellow bow means when attached to a dog’s leash. This idea works best for apartment dwellers who must cross paths with other dogs and people daily due to limited space.

To ensure fellow apartment dwellers learn what a yellow bow means, hold a meeting within the apartment complex with all dog owners, families and children. Additionally, post The Yellow Dog Project flyers in common areas, such as community mailbox locations. If implemented, your neighbors will understand that yellow ribbons attached to a dog’s leash means to never approach the dog.

Try a Yellow Vest

You may find that attaching a yellow ribbon or bow to your dog’s leash may actually draw more attention, causing others to approach your dog since not everyone will know what it means. If you find this to be the case for you and your dog, purchase a yellow vest or harness that states “Do not touch,” “Do not pet” or “Do not approach.” This will make it clear to passersby.

A Word of Caution

When walking a reactive dog, always keep your distance and know when to head home. A yellow ribbon or vest won’t keep a dog safe; that’s the pet owner’s job. If a fearful dog’s behavior worsens during walks in public, then it’s best to stop walks and seek advice from a professional positive reinforcement dog trainer.

Why Does My Dog Respond That Way?- Petting Dog App

Have you attended a dog training class, maybe a Leash Lunger or Reactive Dog Class?  You see other dogs in class improving, but your dog continues to scan the environment instead of looking at you.

Some of these dogs still lunge at dogs, but they have met each other and no longer have a need to be persistent.

Where I Start…

When a client brings me a dog, I begin with identifying who the dog is prior to setting any expectations. Each dog is an individual, and will show you how they will respond if you know what to look for. I will share a recent consultation with you below.

Consultation : REACTIVE DOG (short version)

Dog: Stella, 2 year old spayed solid black German Shepherd in good health. Lives with her mom and a 4 year old child who she enjoys being with.

History:  Stella does well in daycare, and never shows aggression to any people or dogs. They describe her as tolerant of the young adolescent dogs and will play with any dog that engages her. Mom says she allowed Stella to greet other dogs on leash when she was a pup to socialize her, she has never acted aggressively with any dog she has met.

Owners Complaint:  Stella’s Mom complains that she cannot walk Stella on a leash, as she pulls extremely hard to get to any dog she sees in her environment. Even if she puts treats to her nose, Stella will not reorient to her, she physically has to pull Stella away.


When I observed Stella’s behavior it was immediately apparent that she was extremely visually aware of her environment, as she constantly turned her head to anything that moved. She is fairly high energy and trots, not walks, to whatever interests her. When she saw a bird over her head in the tree, she stood still staring at it for several minutes, not moving a muscle. When her mom called to her, she ignored the calling and remained focused on the birds as a second bird joined the first one. Finally, her mom said “Stella, want a treat?”, Stella twitched her ear and then looked at her mom, then returned to watching the birds for a several seconds before responding to her mom for the treat. Once she ate the treat, she trotted back to the tree and visually watched anything that moved.

Who is Stella?

Stella showed us that she is extremely visually aware of her environment and she is very persistent in this visual behavior when the stimuli is interesting to her. She also showed us that she is not willing to come to us, unless she knows the reward is worth it to her. She has her own interests and is persistent when something interests her. She also loves playing with all the neighborhood dogs.


Would Stella likely be a leash lunger?  Yes! Now you see how the combination of her temperament plays a significant role in her (response) behavior. 


What key change could Stella’s mom incorporate in her leash training? Increase the value of the reward to something that Stella finds very rewarding. We determined she liked dried liver extremely well.

Effective behavior modification programs work on many dogs but will not work completely if your dog loves dogs, is visually persistent by nature and is not very food motivated. When this is the case, patience and understanding is key!

I am having trouble getting this pups attention as she is extremely aware of her environment, loves dogs and is somewhat food motivated. Patience is needed here as we allow her to be who she is.

Now you know…

If you are wanting to change your dogs behavior, first try looking at your dog to see who they are, what is their nature, their temperament. Some traits to consider: sociability with people and dogs, patient, vocal, high energy, lazy, becomes extremely aroused when near people or dogs, biddable with or without food, visually or olfactory aware and persistent. Understanding who your dog is will help you understand WHY she responds the way she does

Could Spaying and Neutering Dogs Affect Aggression???- Petting Dog App

Could Spaying and Neutering Dogs Affect Aggression???

OK, many years ago we had a huge problem here in America with unwanted pets and irresponsible breeding of dogs… This led to over populations in our shelters and massive loss of life from having to put animals down due to overcrowding.

Fast forward…. We have done a remarkable job with the idea of spaying and neutering pet dogs and the problem of over crowding while still there is not near as large. Unfortunately we have, in this same time period, seen an increased frequency of snarky behavior with dogs!

Now look, I do not believe that these two are directly related (instead maybe there might be a correlation)  The topics are way to complicated to make that leap, but this article might shed light on the possibility that when we try to fix one problem we can (Maybe) create and unintended issue else where. So, please read this article and talk to your vet but I think it might be time to rethink our ideas (or at least do more research) on this topic, of how spaying and neutering pet dogs might relate to aggression!!!!

If there are any Vets reading this I would love to hear your thoughts!!!

PS thoughts are fine as long as you can stay civil (Name calling will get you deleted  🙂 )


KIBBLE VS NOMNOMNOW | The Pooch Coach- Petting Dog App

Here are some things to consider about the food you’re feeding your pup!

Click below to get 50% off your first order of NomNomNow!

healthy dog food and treats the farmers dog

For more information on how to choose healthy food and treat options for your dog, check out our recent article:

Healthy Dog Food and Treats

kibble vs nom nom now

Do you know what’s in your dog’s treats & food? Read the label…  You’ll probably be surprised (and maybe shocked!)

Q&A: Help, my dog doesn’t like his leash!- Petting Dog App

We have a labradoodle puppy who is 4 months old, we have had him for a month. He has been sweet, house trained well and has learned the basics of sit, get down and shake. In the last week however, he has become unbearable almost 🙁 He has began to show signs of aggression in that he barks at me in frustration and has begun to bite at me and the leash as I try to take him out to potty, even biting me with those razor sharp puppy teeth several times as he jumps to get the leash out of my hand. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I don’t want these behaviors to continue” -Melissa

Hi there Melissa.
The first thing to do if you haven’t already, is to get into a puppy class. It sounds like you have some training already and that will put you ahead of the game.

Next, The puppy needs to learn that the leash means good things. Positive Association. So to do that, use a “high value” treat when you put him on the leash. Every time. You should only use the high value treat when the leash gets put on. To use it at any other time lowers the “value” of the treat. Its not so special if they get it all the time.

Here’s the idea. We’ll use bacon as the high value treat, but it can be anything as long as the dog will go nutty for it,.

I love bacon + the leash = I get bacon when the leash is near = I love the leash.

That’s the principle.

Also, leave the leash on for a while after he comes inside for a while, and before he goes out. This way he gets used to relaxing when he is on the leash. This way he wont build any anxiety towards it.

Make an effort to make the entire experience as positive as possible. Lots of praise.

I would suggest putting the leash on him, using the high-value treat, and then just walking away (while inside, go do something else for a few minutes and then take him outside). Give him a few minutes to de-stress.

Do this several times for the first week.

Case study: French bulldog with noise phobia- Petting Dog App

Meet Mr. X. He is a 14-months-old French bulldog I’ve recently seen in behaviour therapy. He was referred to me by a veterinary clinic for his pervasive fears.

French bulldog

Upon closer questioning, it turns out he does not have a fear problem in the broad sense of the term. He is actually bombproof about everything. Everything except for, well, bombs.

He panics at sudden sounds: a mug falling on the floor, a passing car, a moped back-firing.

He doesn’t just startle, he really panics. We’re talking crawling or running to the nearest hiding place, cherry eyes, shrieking. If you try to restrain him in these moments, he’ll frantically try to escape, come what may.

The issue is that it is affecting his walks as he’ll need time to settle after a scare and there aren’t enough noise-free moments in the city for him to recover. This is what gives him the presentation of an agoraphobic or generalized anxiety patient.

His owners want to first give med-free behaviour therapy a try before considering a vet behaviourist route.

Dog behaviour problem: etiology (causal factors)

Many factors have contributed to the problem:

  1. Genetics: his mother suffers from the same condition
  2. The dog appears to be more prone, more sensitive, after being overstimulated (e.g. market day)
  3. A few months back, the problem dramatically worsened after someone threw fireworks at the dog!
  4. Chronic ear infections: the pain and discomfort alone can decrease a dog’s irritability and fear threshold and put the dog in a state of chronic stress, but it may be something mechanical is at play too. Some ear infections lead to an over-sensitivity to sound.

Dog behaviour advice

  1. Desensitisation and counterconditioning (D&C) protocol to sudden sounds, with specific instructions on how to make the later stages as realistic as possible (see Punk your dog).
  2. Take him in the car (he loves the car) to the woods, rather than walking there via busy streets.
  3. Cognitive feeding: because this calms every dog down (a bit) on every level, it is fun, and it costs nothing
  4. Avoid above-threshold noise exposures as much as possible, and compensate each unfortunate exposure with 10 D&C moments.

Dog behaviour prognosis

I demonstrated the exercises and left detailed handouts behind and asked them to try this for six weeks, then see me again for a re-evaluation. If the dog is not making suitable progress, then I will refer to the veterinary behaviourist.

Photo credits

Photo: Canis bonus

Introducing Service Puppy in-Training, Rogan- Petting Dog App

We’re back in the world of raising service puppies again! I promised our seniors (Nemo, Lily, and Tango — service dog dropouts themselves) that as they entered their “golden years,” they could retire from helping us raise service puppies. Levi was the last service dog we raised. We picked him up in January 2014 — four years ago since a service puppy in-training was in our house!

Day 1

Sadly, we lost all four of our dogs over about a year and we found ourselves with an empty house. We brought on sweet Walter, a pup I’m raising for a client. And then, given the news of our (almost) empty house, a service dog organization asked us if we could raise a pup for them again. Adventurous is how you might describe us, and we said “Of course!”

There were eight puppies in Rogan’s litter. I wasn’t sure whether our pup would be a yellow or a black. I was ambivalent — I just lost the love of my life yellow Labrador, Tango. I was torn between really wanting another yellow in the house and being terrified that a yellow would come live with us. Obviously, Rogan is a yellow. It took a few days for me to adjust to another yellow in the house. He’s very different (of course) than Tango was which makes his presence in our house a lot easier for me and my heart.

yellow Lab, yellow Labrador, service puppy in training, service dog in training

Nap time

Needless to say, Walter is thrilled to have a young playmate. And we love having two dogs in the house together. While I don’t love the idea of litter mates, Walter and Rogan are seven weeks apart which means less risk of co-dependence and the other problems that come along with litter mates. We are, of course, also working hard to ensure that these puppies learn how to be independent and enjoy frequent people-time, as well. They are great playmates and entertainment for one another. These two tire one another out in a way that we never could.

yellow Labrador, yellow Lab, service puppy in training, service dog in training

A little “me” time.

A little rest.

Rogan’s training

Rogan’s training has already begun. Puppies are capable of learning so much that we start right away at eight weeks. These pups actually started their learning prior to going to their puppy raiser homes. They all learned to sit for whatever they wanted from any human. How, you ask, do you teach a litter of eight puppies to sit?! Simple: wait for it to happen, then reinforce it when it happens. What does this look like in real life? When it’s feeding time (or visiting time), the puppies get a morsel of food as soon as their rump hits the floor. They learn fast: all that stands between them and a piece of food (or some human affection and attention) is to put their rump on the floor! And it’s a whole lot easier to sit than it is to jump!

yellow Labrador, yellow Lab, service puppy in training, service dog in training

Rogan and company

It’s important for any dog, but particularly a service dog, to learn that behavior has consequences. One of Rogan’s first training lessons was an “attention” session. I used part of his breakfast to teach Rogan that looking at me earned him a small part of his breakfast. I sat on the floor, clicker in hand, and simply waited for Rogan to look in my direction. The instant he did, I clicked and reached to give him a piece of his breakfast. The click tells him exactly what he’s doing to earn the goodie. I do a little bit of this everyday and it’s amazing how quickly Rogan voluntarily looks at me — not just in a training session, but whenever he’s not sure what to do.

There will be many lessons coming up for Rogan. Stay tuned, I’ll post updates and adventures here!

9 Innovative Dog Rescue Programs- Petting Dog App

In an ideal world, every dog would have a loving owner and a warm home. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world, and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year (this number doesn’t include stray dogs who don’t enter a shelter).

But there are thousands of shelters and dog rescue programs working to make our world a little more perfect, and they strive to help every dog find their forever homes. Below, we highlight some of the most innovative and unique dog rescue programs from around the United States. If you live near one, they’re all worthy of your volunteer hours, and if you don’t, they’re always in need of donations.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Puppies and younger dogs get snapped up at shelters, while the older ones often have a tough time getting adopted. Sherri Franklin started Muttville Senior Dog Rescue program in order to change this fact.

Founded in 2007, Muttville has been working for more than a decade to place senior and special needs rescue dogs in homes; the dog rescue program also offers end-of-life care for dogs that are not adoptable. Muttville rescued its 5,000th dog in September 2017, and the shelter now rescues an average of 1,000 dogs a year. While based in San Francisco, the shelter accepts dogs from all over California and places them in homes state-wide as well.

Austin Pets Alive!

As the name suggests, this Texas-based shelter is a leader in the no-kill movement. After looking at the data, staff realized that the average live rate at city shelters was only about 50%. To close this gap, Austin Pets Alive! created rescue programs that focus on animals that might otherwise be euthanized at a different shelter.

They created a Parvo Puppy ICU to treat puppies and dogs with parvovirus, as well as a Dog Behavior Program to support dogs that require additional behavioral attention. Such programs have helped the city of Austin save more than 90% of shelter animals since 2011.

Most recently, Austin Pets Live! partnered with Houston Pets Live! in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to rescue more than 3,000 animals thanks to funds from Bark for Good, an initiative by BarkShop that donates 5% of the proceeds from sales of their adorable dog toys and tasty dog treats to organizations that help keep dogs out of shelters.

New York Bully Crew

Pitbulls have been saddled with a reputation for being aggressive, making many potential owners loathe to adopt a dog from this breed. (As with any dog breed, aggression and non-aggression in pitbulls are greatly impacted by changeable factors such as training, environment, and treatment.)

New York Bully Crew is on a mission to change this reputation. The Long Island-based program specializes in rescuing and rehabilitating pitbulls from around the nation, though they focus a lot on the greater NYC area. While the program was founded to help save pitbulls, Bully Crew won’t turn away dogs of any breed that need help. The program also raises awareness about the cruelties of dog fighting, abuse, and neglect, and runs a text-and-email hotline for reporting these issues.

Greyhound Pets of America

Another breed-specific rescue program, Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) helps greyhounds find forever homes after their racing careers are over. While many think of greyhounds primarily as athletic dogs meant for racing, they are very friendly and non-confrontational, and adapt well to more laidback, post-racing lifestyles.

GPA has various chapters in 25 states, and together the chapters have helped 80,000 greyhounds get adopted nationwide since GPA was founded in 1987. The national chapter does accept donations, but most of the adoption work is run through the local chapters; check the listing to see if there’s one in your state.

Karma Rescue

While Karma Rescue often takes in pitbulls, they also accept other dogs (and the occasional cat) who are looking for their forever homes. The organization runs multiple programs, but it’s perhaps best known for its Paws for Life initiative, a prison-based dog training program available at multiple prisons throughout California.

Over 12 weeks, inmates help train the dogs to receive the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification, the gold-standard in canine obedience. There’s also a more intense 52-week program in which inmates train formerly homeless dogs to serve as specially-trained companions for military veterans with PTSD. Not only does the Paws for Life program increase a dog’s chances of getting adopted, it also helps the inmates gain life skills and develop empathy.

National Mill Dog Rescue

When it comes to puppy mills, many focus on the puppies (as the name “puppy mill” implies) and forget about the adult dogs that are forced to continuously breed litters. The adult dogs are often confined in cages for years, with little or no medical care.

National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) was founded to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome “retired” breeding dogs. To start off their new lives, every single dog is spayed or neutered, given additional medical care, and bathed and groomed. Based in Peyton, Co., the program is also open to out-of-state adoptions. If you live in the area, NMDR’s work 95% volunteer based, so they’re always looking for extra pairs of hands.

Angels Among Us Pet Rescue

This program is dedicated to saving dogs (and cats) from high-kill shelters across north Georgia. Each animal is placed in a foster home in the greater Atlanta area until they find their forever home; Angels Among Us does not operate its own facility, though the program does hold regular adoption events so potential adoptees can meet multiple foster dogs at once.

Once a dog is transferred from the shelter into Angels Among Us, the pooch isn’t returned to the shelter for any reason. Angels Among Us does consider out-of-state adoptions, and even offers remote volunteer opportunities for those who don’t live in the Atlanta area.

K9s For Warriors

Located in Florida, K9s For Warriors helps both dogs AND military veterans. The program provides service dogs to military veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma. The dogs trained in the program are either rescued from shelters or donated by the public, and they’re given both a new home and a new lease on life through the program.

It costs approximately $27,000 to train and place a service dog, but these expenses are covered entirely through donations, and veterans are never charged a cent. Even if dogs don’t meet the requirements to become a service animal, K9s For Warriors will keep working to help them find their forever homes.

Hope for Paws

Odds are that you’ve seen one of Hope for Paws’ many viral videos of dog rescues. The Los Angeles-based rescue organization has more than 2 million subscribers on its YouTube channel, and has amassed more than 540 million views (yes, you read that number correctly) since its inception.

The organization’s awareness efforts really took off in 2012, when a video documenting the rescue of a blind dog named Fiona went viral. In addition to finding her forever home, Fiona got a chance to meet Anderson Cooper and Kristin Chenoweth on national TV, helping to spread the word about Hope for Paws and animal rescue efforts everywhere.

What You Can Do

Regardless of where you live, there are plenty of ways to get involved and help dogs find their forever homes. Check to see if any of these rescue programs are located near where you live. If not, there are bound to be other shelters and rescue programs nearby; look for no- or low-kill shelters that euthanize as few dogs as possible and strive to place each and every one of them in a loving, comfortable home.

Rescue programs and shelters are always in need of donations as well as volunteer time, including specific items such as beds, blankets, food, treats, and dog toys. Of course, shelters and rescue programs also accept cash donations, and you can support any of the rescue programs listed here by contributing online, even if you live hundreds of miles away.

If you’re looking to get a dog, consider adopting from a shelter or rescue program — if just one out of every 10 Americans adopted a dog, we could almost clear out the shelters. And whether you’re hoping to adopt a dog or already own one (or several), be sure that they’re neutered or spayed. The first step to keeping dogs out of shelters is keeping down the birth rate, and neutering or spaying your pooch is one of the most effective steps in preventing overpopulation, and the abuse and neglect that comes with it.

There’s power in numbers, and if each of us gave just a little bit of our time or money, it would go a long way to helping every dog in the country get adopted. Donate or volunteer today, and start making a difference to the dogs.

Come Command Do’s and Don’t’s – Dog Training – Petting Dog App

‘Come’ is the one command that almost everyone struggle’s with at some point and, for some of you, that struggle is a daily occurrence. Let’s be honest, most of us (yes, even me) have had the experience of being left standing there calling our dog, empty leash in hand, to no avail, waiting until the dog was good and ready to come back in his or her own time.

While nothing replaces a proper training program to get your dog to consistently come when you call, here are some Do’s and Don’t’s to help you on your way.

Teaching a Dog That Touch is Good :-)- Petting Dog App

OK had a client this morning with a Jack Russel Adult that would get overstimulated when getting pets and then very quick get frustrated and growl (no biting but scary to the owners and I am sure for those doing the petting)… Many of you know I am the “Hand Feeding” freak and yes there are ways to work this kind of behavior with adults and even better with puppies (while in that critical developmental period) While the techniques are pretty much the same the reasoning can be very different!

  • Puppies (8 weeks to 15 weeks or so): for these guys just pair all touch with food and help wire the brain that touch is safe, fun and rewarding!!! Pretty much just do it. Make sure it is you and plenty of other folks (men, women, kids, folks wearing uniforms… You name it just do it and always pair with food!
  • Adults (older that 20-25 weeks): These dogs are already out of the socialization period and are on their way to the Juvenile/Adolescent stage  or are already adults. So they might already have some baggage 🙁 So go slow and do not push. This would fall into that Under Threshold (not growly bitey behavior) Short duration (5-10 minutes tops) High Frequency (3-5 times a day) training I always talk about!

If the dog has issues with over stimulation or  anxiety/fear with touch, especially with the hot spots (feet, face, teeth or tail) then move slow and reward the snot out of the contact… Obviously if you have a dog you are concerned will bite, this is not something I would recommend doing without professional help!!! Call us or call another positive reinforcement trainer to help you along with the process!