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  🙂 )


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.