Do you know what a yellow ribbon or bow tie on a dog means? If not, this story is for you.

The Yellow Dog Project is an international campaign to develop awareness that some dogs need space. According to the Four Long Legs website, “The hope of TYDP is to make a global movement, giving owners a simple but effective way to indicate that their dog should not be approached, or should be approached with caution.”

However, for this thoughtful and much-needed symbol to work, recognition is required. The more people who know about it, the more effective it will be. TYDP helps dog owners take their dogs outside, strengthening trust and relationships in a more controlled situation.

There are several reasons that a dog may require some space. The Four Long Legs website states “It’s not always because they are unpredictable or aggressive. And, even when they are, it typically stems from fear or anxiety; often due to trauma or distressing past experiences.”

Jess Mcteer of Quebec, Canada, is the proud owner of a dog named Moose. Jess and Moose have been together since he was five weeks old. Unfortunately, he went through some trauma as a puppy and was abused by a person in their lives at the time.

“Moose can be very scared around males and very protective of females and children,” Mcteer said. “Moose does not like to be touched by strangers. When he gets scared he goes into his protective mode and will not let anyone near him. Moose was also attacked by a dog this past summer and has become scared when dogs run towards him. Moose wears his yellow ribbon so that people give him space and let him comfortably come to them.”

Dogs that are recovering from injury, older and frail dogs, dogs in training and more benefit from TYDP. Making it obvious that your dog needs space is easy. You can use a yellow ribbon, bow-tie, vest, leash, collar, harness or bandana.

Here is how you can support TYDP. First, you have to read about it and understand it. The Four Long Legs website specifies “Simply by taking the time to read this you are now more aware of what a yellow ribbon on a dog means.” Another way you can help is to share this story or your own TYDP story with others. A good way to do this is through social media.

If your dog is well trained, behaved or generally non-reactive there are ways for you to help as well. The Four Longs Legs website says, “When you see a dog with a yellow emblem and others are not respecting the desired space, help the owner by talking with the people around them.”

Help make TYDP worldwide. The Four Long Legs website states, “I am still finding that 50% of people are unaware that such a campaign exists.” Educating the people around you about TYDP is the only way for this movement to be successful, so all dogs can enjoy a stress-free walk.

So, if you want to help the cause, spread the word.

Skylar Knox is a seventh grader at Fremont Middle School and a contributing reporter and photographer for The News-Review. Her work can be found on skylarknox.com.

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