Some see red in yellow ribbon collar code

A local child safety organisation has criticised a global trend for owners to tie yellow ribbons on the leads of their dogs to warn they should not be approached.

The concept is gaining popularity, with Facebook site The Yellow Dog Project attracting 18,000 Likes since it started six months ago. The site’s founder Tara Palardy, a dog trainer in Alberta, Canada, said she had received messages of support from more than 40 countries.

Downloadable posters from her website, theyellowdogproject苏州美睫培训, say dogs that might benefit include those that are sick, being trained or that are scared or reactive. Sydney trainer Pat Robards promotes yellow coats, bandannas and owner caps through her own Facebook site, Yellowdog Australia.

But Kidsafe Victoria warns the practice could encourage a false sense of security that dogs without yellow ribbons were safe to be near.

”The onus is still on the owner to be responsible for what their dog does,” chief executive Melanie Courtney said. She feared the ribbon could ”take that away and put responsibility on other people to recognise that that’s a dog that needs space”.

”It’s important that the owners of dogs who need space still do the right thing and protect other dogs and children by ensuring their animal is still properly restrained. In terms of reducing dog attacks on children, I’m not sure it will have much of an effect as these are usually caused by dogs who are known to them.”

Ms Courtney said parents should talk to the owner and verify it was safe for their children to approach a dog, and then supervise play between them.

Ms Palardy said ribbons were not an excuse to avoid getting your dog trained and socialised. ”It’s not a Band-Aid to fix something; you do still need to do the training.”

Kerri Bennett, of Sunbury, uses a yellow ribbon to protect her shih-tzu poodle cross Buddy.

Four-year-old Buddy was attacked, and blinded by another dog as a puppy and abandoned by his first owners. He is still skittish and cowers if dogs or people approach him too eagerly.

Mrs Bennett said most other owners didn’t know what a yellow ribbon meant. ”If people approach me about it, I’m happy to educate them. I say it’s to alert other people not to rush up to my dog.

”They’ve mostly said that’s a good idea. I think it just needs to become more publicised.”

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