My dog wears yellow and this is what it means

For those of you who don’t know, this is Ted. He’s my 11 month terrier mutt. I adopted Ted when he was 14 weeks old after he was rescued from a puppy farm. Because he didn’t have the best start in life, Ted has always been quite a nervous little soul, but being a Terrier the way he reacts to fear is definitely more fight than flight.

Why Ted wears yellow

Ted has always struggled to feel comfortable on lead, it took me 2 weeks of getting him used to it so that he could go for his first walk. From day 1 he would bark at every dog he saw when on lead and get very overstimulated in the process. We worked hard on this and until about a month ago he was doing brilliantly. Up until this point people had generally been quite good at keeping their dogs away from him (even when it got the the point that he would walk past silently). Recently it’s been a different story, he has been approached by off lead dogs more times that I can count over the past month, and 4 of those had quite aggressive snaps at him… keep in mind that they approached him and not the other way around. Ted gets very overaroused when dogs approach him on lead and to some owners this can look like he’s excited to see their dog – he’ll wag his tail and get up onto their face to lick them. Most dogs decide that they don’t like this behaviour which is why they have a go at him… but they shouldn’t have come near him in the first place. I personally can’t think of any situation where I’d think it was ok for my off lead (or on lead) dog to be running at or approaching a dog on lead without checking with the owner first.

What to do if you see a dog wearing yellow

After having such trouble with Ted, I’ve started using some yellow lead slips that instruct people to give him space. But it’s hard for people to do this if they don’t know what the colour yellow means for a dog. Dogs can be wearing yellow for various reasons – like Ted they might be nervous/ reactive, they may have had a recent injury so don’t want other dogs jumping all over them or could even be working as or training to become an assistance dog. Whatever the reason is, a yellow lead (or lead slip), coat, harness or bandana means that they need space. If you’re with a dog, keep them away. If you’re not with a dog make sure you also keep your distance. You’ll be helping a dog far more than you realise by simply staying away from it!

For those who would like to know, Ted’s lead slips are from The Huggable Dog etsy shop, his training lead is just a basic one from Pets at Home and his harness is the Ruffwear Webmaster. He also has a Ruffwear Front Range harness that we sometimes use when training.

I hope this has been useful to some people reading.

Love Ellie, Amber and Ted

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