Having a dog is a lot of responsibility, not only does that animal depend on you completely to care for them and keep them safe. But, also animals can do unexpected things and It is your responsibility to ensure the safety of people around your dog as well.

So many times I have seen complete strangers walk up to a dog and start petting them with no idea if it's safe or not, or an annoyance to the dog or the owner for that matter. Some dogs will let you know not to come near them with a sneer or growl but others might not give any indication and jump or bite with out warning.

This is where the Yellow Dog Project comes in. They are a non profit that aims to teach people how to get along with dogs to help avoid situations that could cause anxiety and aggression in them. So yellow ribbons or collars are used to alert people to give this dog some space from humans and even other dogs.

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Dogs that might need a yellow ribbon, could have just had surgery, recovering from an injury. Or maybe it is a dog who has not been socialized around other dogs and needs some serious space to adjust. Here are some simple tips to help you when you meet an unfamiliar dog:

  1. Eye Contact: Do not look directly at a dog, that can be interpreted as a sign of aggression. Your best bet is to bend your neck and put your head down slightly. If you do look at the dog keep your glances very brief.
  2. Voice And Noise: Speak slowly and quietly, most dogs have excellent hearing, so any kind of loud noise or yelling could come off as aggressive towards the dog..
  3.  Body Position: Move slowly and if you can crouch down or sit, it will make you not seem so large to the dog.

When we adopted our chihuahua "Tinky" from the shelter when she was a couple months old we picked up right away that she did not like grown men. The hair would raise on her back and she would take a very defensive stance and bark and bark and sometimes give chase after them when they walked away. This would only happen in our house, but she is very protective of our home constantly barking when people or dogs walk by which is normal.

Thankfully in the last few years we have gotten her more accustom to strangers but she does bark and take a stance initially when anybody comes over but has gotten better about calming down once they are in the house and sit down.  Make sure to spread the word about this to other dog owners, so we can keep our four legged friends safe and calm.

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