Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99


Unleashed A blog for animals and the people who love them
Lifestyle Pets Unleashed

Some dogs need their space

Is your dog a DINOS? The acronym hasn’t quite caught on yet, but it stands for Dog in Need of Space. Coined by Maine dogwalker Jessica Dolce, the term is used to describe dogs who don’t like being approached by other dogs or strange people -- they need space to be comfortable.

If you haven’t heard of DINOS, perhaps you’ve heard of The Yellow Dog Project, which is making its way around Facebook in the form of a screenshot of a poster asking people with less-than-social dogs to tie yellow ribbons to their collars and leashes, as a sign that they shouldn’t be approached. To date, the movement has almost 16,000 “likes” on the site.

There are lots of reasons dog owners don’t want strangers coming up to their pets. Mocha, the sweet chocolate lab I had for 10 amazing years, loved people to no end, but really did not like other dogs. This forced me to yell, “She’s not friendly!” when other dog owners would let their pets approach, and stifle saying “moron” when they ignored me and brought their dogs over anyway (which happened more often than I care to remember). The Labragator loves dogs, but she’s more enthusiastic than many other dogs, she’s big and powerful, and she does not understand the concept of tangled leashes. So while I’m happy to let her romp with her furry friends in a fenced-in yard or dog park, doing it on a walk is less than fun for everyone involved.

The concept behind The Yellow Dog Project is simple: a dog wearing yellow doesn’t want to be approached. While some pet experts say they’re not sure it’s going to catch on, advocates have snapped up yellow ribbons from craft stores and specialty websites, and some have gone so far as to have yellow vests printed for their dogs and wear their own yellow shirts that explain what the color means. The project has also received a bit of press coverage in the last few weeks, helping spread the word about yellow ribbons and dogs.

I want to hear from you: If you have a stranger-wary or dog-wary pooch, how do you handle it when you’re out and about? What do you think of the yellow ribbon campaign? Please comment below and let’s chat.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Collared - Baltimore Sun readers' pets
    Collared - Baltimore Sun readers' pets

    Read about local pets, or share your own story. We're interested in cats and dogs, but also hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, horses, chickens -- the whole pet gamut. For more information, email pets@baltsun.com and be sure to put "Collared" in the subject line.

  • The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures
    The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures

    Historic fixtures from the Owl Bar, including bar stools and six wooden banquettes that the restaurant's operators say date back to 1903, will be put up for auction on May 31.  A portion of the proceeds from the auction of the fixtures and other donated items will benefit the Baltimore Animal Rescue...

  • March for the Animals is postponed
    March for the Animals is postponed

    Update: The Maryland SPCA says, "To assure the comfort and safety of everyone planning to attend today's March for the Animals, we have decided to postpone the March. We want to be sure that all attendees are able to participate without concern. We are disappointed, surely, but know we will all...

  • ALIVE Rescue unleashes dogs saved from St. Anne puppy mill
    ALIVE Rescue unleashes dogs saved from St. Anne puppy mill

    Look out, world. ALIVE Rescue has unleashed six of the approximately 80 dogs that were confiscated in a raid on a puppy mill last week in St. Anne, Ill.

  • Taking your pet on vacation? Which U.S. cities have the most dog parks
    Taking your pet on vacation? Which U.S. cities have the most dog parks

    More proof it's good to be a dog: The number of off-leash dog parks is growing faster than any other type of park in American cities, a recent Trust for Public Land report says.

  • Baltimore Humane Society hosts 'kitten shower' this weekend
    Baltimore Humane Society hosts 'kitten shower' this weekend

    Spring marks the beginning of kitten season, according to the Baltimore Humane Society. And the Reisterstown "no-kill" shelter is preparing for the annual surge of newborns by asking for volunteer foster parents, who can help by bottle-feeding the kittens.