What does a yellow ribbon on a dog’s lead mean?

What does a yellow ribbon on a dog’s lead mean?

We’ve noticed dogs being walked with yellow ribbons, or other yellow markers, on their leads. When we asked what it meant, we were directed to The Yellow Dog Project.

It’s an attempt to create a standardised sign to other dog walkers that a dog with the yellow ribbon needs some space. There are many reasons for this. For example, the dog may:

  • have health issues
  • be in training
  • be in rehabilitation
  • be scared of or reactive towards other dogs

So if you see a dog with a yellow ribbon on its lead, don’t approach it yourself or with your dog. And give the dog and its owner time to move out of your way.

If your dog has an issue that means it’s best for other dogs to keep their distance, consider tying a yellow ribbon to its lead. The more yellow ribbons there are out there, the quicker it will become a recognised sign — and the happier every dog and its owner will be.

Darcy sporting a yellow ribbon

By | 2016-10-17T10:57:17+00:00 Wednesday, October 17, 2012|latest news, things we have seen, things we like|21 Comments


  1. easyweimaraner October 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    That’s a good idea, so they could avoid all worse on a good way and no one gets hurt or will be angry. (think some humans should wear a yellow ribbon as well ;o))

    • Animalcouriers October 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      It is a great idea and we most certainly hope it takes off.

      Main problem with the human version is that they would act like magnets for the like minded 😉

  2. fostrickson October 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    What an absolutely great idea! I wonder if there have been any seen in Canada? I agree with Easy though, some humans could make good use of them too!

    • Animalcouriers October 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      We think Canada is mentioned on the site – everywhere should get on board. Easy sure knows how to tell it straight 😀

      • fostrickson October 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm - Reply

        Yeah, I think it’s something that would be beneficial for Toady. He isn’t into strangers coming up and trying to pet him. It would be nice to not have to tell everyone to leave him be! I think we’ll give it a try!

        • Animalcouriers October 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm - Reply

          Hey – that is great news! Please let us know how it goes. The worst it will do is inform people who don’t know and the best will give Toady the space he needs.

          • fostrickson October 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

            I will! You’re right, the least it will do is spread the word!

  3. Mustang.Koji October 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Is this for Europe or is it in play in “the Colonies”? 🙂

  4. Doggy's Style October 17, 2012 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    I saw a similar idea but with the leash, the leash had written a “warning”.
    Great idea indeed.

    • Animalcouriers October 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      The written warning is a good idea but perhaps the splash of colour is more visible from a distance?

  5. Gunta October 18, 2012 at 7:46 am - Reply

    I think it’s a fantastic idea, too! Hope it becomes universal. My Sissy is a bit shy with strangers (especially men usually). I can’t help but wonder what her life was like until I got her at nearly 5 months old. I’m not sure I’d want to put the yellow ribbon on her because, gradually she’s gotten a lot better. There are even times when she voluntarily approaches women these days.

    • Animalcouriers October 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      It’s a great idea but doesn’t sound like Sissy needs it. If she’s propositioning strangers, that’s great news 😀

  6. maggiemoosetracks October 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Here in the States a yellow ribbon means “waiting for someone to return” such as military men & women. The ribbon is a great concept if something like this was internationally understood. Woof Woof 🙂

    • Animalcouriers October 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      It is a problem when a ribbon already has a meaning in your country. This is really aimed at all dog owners and hopefully they’ll get over the fact that a yellow ribbon on a dog lead has a different meaning to one on a car/building/tree.

  7. crazytraintotinkytown October 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    I love this idea; we heard about it from a rescue centre we visited in the UK when we rehomed a rescue pup

  8. Savannah's Paw Tracks October 19, 2012 at 3:41 am - Reply

    we don’t have dogs here anymore, and we learned this not too long ago…great idea

  9. becomingcliche October 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    That’s such a great idea! My Phoebe brings out the worst in other dogs. Even mild-mannered ones find they’d like to eat her. We don’t like when other owners let their dogs rush up to her on our walkies.

    • Animalcouriers October 23, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Do try it and see what happens. It would be great if everyone knew what the yellow ribbon means.

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