Monday, November 24, 2014

No, You Don't Need To See My Dog, and the Yellow Dog Project

Yes, I have a beautiful Dog, thank you. 
He's not a Border Collie.
He's a McNab Dog.
He is fearful.
He won't allow you to pet him.

That would be the really brief way of saying Step Off. 

Believe it or not I have actually had to get quite loud to tell some people that their presence is not needed and no they did not need to meet my dog.

Tourists.  Better to send them on their way than try to explain sometimes.

Dog people love to meet other dogs.  They love to tell stories about their dog that they love deeply that they left behind in "Ohio" when they came down for a visit.

Every time I hear one of those stories I think to myself if you really loved that dog, you would have found a way to have your vacation with the dog instead of dumping it in a glorified shelter for a week.

But the thing is that you never know what that dog is thinking.  The old saw "Walk A Mile In His Moccasins Before You Judge" is a perfect description.

That McNab of mine is best described as having PTSD.  If you drop a spoon in the kitchen, he runs and hides in a corner until I go after him and tell him that he can come out.

He's just a "teenager" at two years, he's got time to learn.  The PTSD is fading, but not gone.

When my departed dog Lettie got older, her normal mistrust of other dogs became critical.  She would walk slowly around town and other dogs wouldn't give her room due to their owner's insistence that they have their dogs meet her.  Being an alpha dog, she wasn't afraid of showing teeth.

That usually made the other dog back off.

The point is that there shouldn't be a reason for this sort of thing.  There is no reason why you need to introduce yourself or your dog or your child to any other dog.  My own dog is afraid of adults, but his fear of children is overwhelming.

Luckily I usually can use my own Command Presence and a strong "He Won't Allow It!" to the others and they back off, usually confused.

I shouldn't have to worry about this sort of thing but since everyone in this country seems to have accepted a culture of entitlement, people with dogs who might need a little space or gentler treatment do have a slowly growing sign.  A yellow ribbon.

No, it isn't a Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree.  It is a sign to "Give Space".

That dog that you are trying to force yourself, your child, or your dog on, may have issues.  It isn't for you to judge.  That dog may have been mistreated before and has memories of that.  It may be older or have health issues where the excitement of the meeting may cause other problems.  It may have mobility problems.  It may be that the dog is "in training" for being a Service Dog or to get over a situation that makes them uncomfortable.

It simply doesn't matter.  You don't know what happened or why, just give them space.

Instead of all of that, look for a yellow ribbon on the leash.  It used to be that shelters would use a purple leash or collar to signify that a dog might need a little space, but people simply don't pay too close attention to that.  I've seen that first hand, both of my dogs were purple leash dogs.

Red Collars and Leases used to mean danger.  What the danger was is again, irrelevant, just give space.

The Yellow Dog Project is slowly gathering steam.  The idea is that simple.  Tie a yellow ribbon on the leash and hope that the other person seeing that will give space.

Hopefully it will get more well known as time goes on.

But really, yellow ribbon or not, unless you know the dog, you don't need to pet them.  After all, would you want to be petted by someone on first meeting?

I didn't think so.

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