Keep Your Paws to Yourself!

sugar 1
Sugar is sporting her best Yellow Dog bandanna!

We all do it. After all, it’s hard to see a dog being walked down the street and not want to stop for a quick pat or two! Most of us don’t even think twice about petting that cute canine companion; however, there are many things people fail to consider when meeting a pet out in public.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that every dog is different. Just like people have varying personalities, dogs do too! While some pooches might be thrilled to receive an ear scratch or chest rub, others might be skittish and see even the most innocent of actions as a threat or danger.

Secondly, it’s always proper etiquette to ask the owner’s permission to give their pet attention. Just because owner and dog are taking a walk in a public place, it doesn’t mean their walking buddy is public property, as well! The reality is the dog might be a recent rescue, might have just underwent surgery, or they might even be a service dog.

While many people with service dogs choose to fit their pup with a vest, Federal law does not require service animals to wear any indicating gear or require identification to be carried because some disabled individuals don’t want to be seen as “different” or labeled as “disabled.”

Of course, rescue pups aren’t all scared or aggressive either! Rescue dogs can be just as loving and adaptable as any other dog. Still, you never know if the pooch might be recovering from a recent surgery. At the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, we spay/neuter each pet before sending them off to their forever home. It’s never good to get an animal overly excited right after surgery, nor is it always easy to tell that the pet is still recovering.

So what’s the easiest way to know if a pet is alright to be petted? Ask!

There are even some groups and movements that have devised special ways to let potential petters know if approaching an animal is okay! One such movement is the “Yellow Dog Project.”

yellow dog banner

The Yellow Dog Project was founded in September, 2012 and already boasts a proud spread to over 45 countries. The movement was created “to bring awareness to the general public about dogs who need space while training, recovering from surgery, or being rehabilitated.”

How can you recognize a “Yellow Dog?” It’s as simple as taking a quick look! “DINOS” (or, “dogs in need of space”) are easily identifiable by the color of their walking gear! To participate in the Yellow Dog Project, a pooch simply needs to be wearing a bright yellow color somewhere that’s easily visible. A yellow leash, collar, or ribbon are all valid representations of a pup that shouldn’t be played with while out on the town!

Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites, and at least half of them are children. By observing the rules of the Yellow Dog Project, and educating your children to ask before petting, we can make the sidewalks a safer place for both people and pups at play!

yellow dog poster

Information for this post was compiled from the following sites:

The Yellow Dog Project Facebook Page

Anything Pawsable – How can I tell if a Service Dog is legitimate?

AVMA – Dog Bite Prevention

Written by Kelly Kucera, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

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