For some time now there has been a website that has been championing the use of highly visible Yellow materials (Yellow Dog UK) for dogs that are nervous, ill or difficult with other dogs. There is definitely a burning need for some sort of universally recognised symbol so that other dog owners, children and adults know whether it is safe and/or acceptable to approach another dog. I feel so strongly about this cause that I recently sponsored the site for a year together with plenty of other like-minded businesses and dog organisations.
I received my Yellow Dog sponsor welcome pack which included some yellow ribbons for tying onto the dog's collar. This is extremely timely as I have just started to walk a highly reactive German Shepherd. I immediately tied one of the ribbons onto his collar and off we set for out daily walk - trying to steer clear of the stimulus that set him off - mainly other dogs.
The walk began very promisingly; he was quieter than usual and his body language was as relaxed as I could remember. For as long as we stay away from other dogs he is happy to potter along and actually enjoy his walk. 10 minutes into the walk and as we turned a corner into a lane we both saw (pretty much at the same time) a lady approaching with a while Pyrannean. What happened next beggared belief. The GSD is by now pulling and barking like crazy - at this point it is pretty useless talking to him because he is in such a state that he cannot hear me. I am doing my best to hold him back - not an easy feat. The lady and dog keep approaching as if nothing was up. He is now almost dragging me across the lane towards the other dog and I am finding it really difficult to contain his extreme behaviour. Still the dog comes... Now I don't know whether it is just me but when presented with a scenario of dog is high state of stress and handler clearly struggling to retain control I might have thought twice about walking towards and passed them. The lady obviously had not such qualms!
To add insult to injury as the white dog passed us - it lay down. By now my GSD was beside himself and although I did manage to stop him jumping on the prone dog - it was a close call. I will remind you now that my dog is wearing Yellow - in an attempt to highlight the fact that he has issues - well as far as the dog owner was concerned it might just as well been a fashion accessory. Having survived the encounter she then turned to me a berated me for not controlling my dog effectively - I was apoplectic - Have you never heard of Yellow Dog? Did you not think there was an issue? She replied - "you don't own this lane". I was upset not so much by her ignorance but because of her thoughtlessness my dog took an age to calm down and was thereafter constantly scanning to ensure another dog was not about to appear.
A plea - if you see an owner with a dog wearing yellow please give them a wide berth and if possible go the opposite way - that person could be me!!