Today, I want to bring some attention to The Yellow Dog Project. It was created to bring awareness to the general public about dogs who need space for a variety of reasons, whether it be training, recovery from surgery, rehabilitation, or in my case, maybe a dog that is reactive around other dogs.
The idea is simple: if you see a pet with a yellow ribbon on its leash or collar, be kind, give them some extra room. It’s only effective if people begin to associate the yellow ribbon with that meaning, so it’s super important that we help spread the word!
This is something important to me because of my little guy, Myles. As you might have already read, I adopted Myles from a rescue foundation about 4 years ago now. I know next to nothing about his previous situation, but know that before coming to me he was shuffled around a decent amount. He is incredibly insecure and gives real meaning to the term “Velcro Aussie.” He follows me and my husband everywhere. When he hears a funny noise, he is up running “hot laps.” And he always has a Nylabone hanging out of his mouth like a cigar so he has it at a moment’s notice to nervously gnaw and chew. (It’s seriously like an addiction, so weird). Nervous Nelly, Mr. Myles is.
He is also incredibly protective. I’m confident that Craig and I have given him unconditional love that he didn’t know before joining our family. He feels it and I think because of that he gets a little edgy when other people are around or animals. We can’t pass another dog on a leash without Myles lunging at it and barking ferociously. We can’t pass another individual (especially men in baseball caps!) without some sort of reaction from him. Obviously, it’s really stressful for us. Myles is not a mean dog and once he gets to know you, he is incredibly loving and friendly. He isn’t generally aggressive; as he gets along with his brother, Rudy, famously and once he settles down to visitors in our house he will quickly approach them, pleading them to hold his bone while he chews it.
Myles has also been incredibly successful in doggie daycare. He is very dominant and I’ve seen him get “hosed” more than once, but I’ve never ever been told that he can’t return because of aggression. (By the way, being “hosed” means that he gets sprayed with a water hose if he gets a little bit too dominant with another pet.) He also tends to be better with other pets when Craig and I aren’t around, which further leads me to believe it’s more of a protection instinct than an aggression one.
Mr. Myles has been around other dogs that he outright fought with, including my parents’ dogs and my grandmother’s dog. But, those were dogs that knew me before I had Myles and I’m sure when they approached me with familiarity, Myles felt threatened. He has also been around other dogs like my best friend Allie’s Bischon, Sammie; my aunt’s Golden Doodle, Frisco; and our friends’ huge 90-pound mutt, Zoey with no problem at all. I just don’t get it.
But, that’s the thing. Animals CAN be unpredictable. And that is why I love The Yellow Dog Project. I now know that a yellow ribbon means to proceed with caution and to give the pet some extra space. It doesn’t mean that it’s aggressive or mean…it just means that he might be fighting some insecurities, recovering from an ailment of sorts, or is just generally more reactive on a leash.
Check them out at TheYellowDogProject.com and help spread the word. Mr. Myles (and the rest of his family!) thanks you very much!