As a general rule, if a dog is on a lead you need to have your dog under close control. However, there is another way owners can tell others on their walks that their dog needs space. That is through putting a yellow ribbon on their dog’s lead.
Dogs need space for a number of reasons: health issues, rescue dogs that are being rehabilitated, dogs that have recently had a bad experience with another dog and are building up their confidence again, bitches in heat, training in progress, old and/or arthritic dogs or nervous dogs.
Owners of such dogs can use the colour yellow to identify that their dog needs space. As mentioned this could be through a yellow ribbon attached to their lead, a bandanna, or a harness. This is a clear message that you need to keep your dog away from them.
According to the website http://www.yellowdoguk.co.uk the Yellow Dog project is a registered charity created to bring awareness to dogs who need space while training, revering from surgery or being rehabilitated.
How much space do they need? Well unfortunately only the owner and their dog knows that, and it can vary day to day based on how that day or walk is going for that dog. So the distance you had to give them yesterday might not be the distance you need to give them today.
Although there is an argument to say that dogs who need space should be kept away from other dogs to prevent them being scared, putting them in a position that they cannot cope with or even being a risk to other dogs. However, we have a duty of care to all dogs, including those who struggle. They need to be exercised, to have time away from their home, and to have a bigger world. In no way should these dogs be taken into environments that they cannot cope with, but they do need to be walked, if they are in an area for that dog to walk, the chances are other dogs are walking there too.
So remember, just because you are the lucky owner of a friendly dog, not everyone is in your position and we need to help these dogs to feel safe and secure when out on their walks.
About Kimberley ...
Kimberley Grundy is a canine behaviourist and trainer, based in Yorkshire, who has practiced for more than ten years, has two masters degrees - one in animal behaviour and welfare, another in psychology. Contact 07919 150223,