Screw Yellow….. Get A Muzzle?

By now, you’ve all seen the “Yellow Dog Project“.

You know…. The yellow paraphernalia that indicates your dog needs space.


At first I thought this was a good idea. You know, very polite way of saying, “please don’t molest my dog”.

The problem that I find developing, is two fold:

1. Most “non-dog” people won’t know what the hell it is. And let’s face it….. the less “dog-people” they are, the more likely they are to to molest, this, now, “cutely adorned” pup. OK, that’s obvious. That’s the YDP’s mission right now. Spread the word. Fine.

2. Here’s the “Cobra Effect” for this particular conundrum: IF people DO learn about the YDP….. They will naturally assume that dogs without yellow are OK to molest! Think about it….. Your talking to someone. You’ve worked for MONTHS to get your troubled little mutt well behaved enough to be out in public. They are in a down stay, on a 3 ft leash. Out of nowhere, someone decides your cute dog “needs a kiss”. Goes into a pushup in your dogs grill…… And gets “bit” (don’t get me started on what constitutes a “bite” I’ll do that in another post). “WTF……! Why didn’t you have YELLOW on that dog? I would have never done that if I knew he was sketchy?!?!”.

And that right there is the problem. The YDP is inadvertently perpetuating the “Lassie Myth”. You know…. Every dog is Lassie. Awesome, and loving, and friendly. Every dog, just CAN’T WAIT to be hugged and caressed by every person they see. Well, every good dog. Except for the really F**ked up ones. And they should never go out of their house. Well, at least without yellow on so good people know to avoid them.

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Why do I have to put a symbol on my dog to alert you to the fact that I’d prefer you not invade their space without my knowledge or permission. How ’bout you don’t molest other beings without invitation as a general rule? Or, if you’re one of those “animals are property, and not autonomous beings” folks….. How ’bout you don’t touch MY shit without asking!?

Really….. Is that too much to ask?

Look, I’m not trying to blast YDP. Honestly, I applaud them for trying to help the “non Lassie” dogs of the world. I don’t have a better idea, or I’d be promoting THAT.

I’m wrestling with this issue myself RIGHT NOW.

One of our dogs, is a naturally HYPER dog. And he thinks the best way to show affection is to press his face into yours as hard as he can. Which, wouldn’t really be a problem if he did it slow. But….. Stupid, doesn’t do ANYTHING slow. And so some would call this more of a “muzzle punch” than a kiss. We know this is problematic. We are working with him with professionals. He is NOT allowed unsupervised around unapproved people. And anyone that is allowed inside his 3 ft leash radius is warned, and guarded. The problem is with that pesky word “allowed”. See, I can’t stop people from invading his space. I mean I “can” (remind me to tell the story about me pushing an old woman into a display of cat food at a PetCo), but I can’t catch everyone, ALL the time.

That example I gave earlier, was not made up. In fact….. What actually happened was even more ridiculous. I had to take our little hyper ball to the vet to have a bandage removed and staples replaced in his leg. And I KNOW he’s problematic. So, I ask for him to be sedated to get through this as easily as possible. They say no. After wrestlefucking the bandage off and seeing his level of stupidity, they agreed to sedate. Vet returns with a tech, and all the gear. We put on the local, and are waiting for it to work, when the vet just puts in a staple. All hell breaks loose. After wrestling my now CRAZY dog into submission. I ask what happened to the sedative. “Oops….. Forgot…… Most dogs don’t need that.” “Should we sedate him now?”. Screw it. Just staple him. He’s already pissed, lets just get it done. Three staples later….. My dog is WOUND. I mean, no exercise for a week, in pain, traumatic experience at the vet WOUND THE F**CK UP. When we get done. I IMMEDIATELY take my dog to the other side of the room and start running obedience to get his brain back on me. It works. About a minute or two, and he’s back. I go back over to the vet. Put him in a down And hold my 3 ft leash. As I’m discussing aftercare with the vet….. The tech decides my dog needed a kiss, after doing so well. Seriously. She really did. Of course he punches the holy shit out of her. I correct the hell out of him, and re-down him. He holds it. Of course he cut her. Muzzle punches do make teeth contact many times. Whatever. According to the vet, the tech, and unfortunately the law….. My dog just “attacked a person, and bit their face”.

This puts me in a prolonged discussion with my local Animal Control Officer. Who has to inform me that my dog now has a “bite history”. And as I describe the incident, he acknowledges that the circumstances suck. He tells me the only thing I could have done better was to have my dog in a muzzle. I explain that a muzzle wouldn’t have done anything. He still would’ve punched her. Probably still cut her. Hell if he’d have had a “basket/metal” muzzle on, it would’ve been WAAAAY worse. It was at that point he enlightened me. See, the muzzle isn’t for the protection of the people. It’s FOR THE DOG! 90% of the bites this guy sees are from dogs that are PHYSICALLY UNDER CONTROL, that someone WITHOUT PERMISSION tries to kiss/pet. The muzzle prevents that. No one wants to pet the dog with a muzzle. Hell, no one wants to be near a dog in a muzzle. This ACO, actually told me “you CANNOT stop people from touching your dog without permission. So if your dog even has a chance of reacting poorly to a kiss from a stranger….. Either, don’t take them out in public to avoid it. Or muzzle them so no one will approach”.

Screw the Yellow Dog Project….. Just muzzle them.

He’s right. I usually have to ask people not to approach my little problem dog, and it’s hard. Cause he’s so damn cute. Last time I took him in to the vet for his “bite quarantine” follow up. he was muzzled because they required it. And you know what….. No one wanted to pet him. Hell one guy literally stood up on the bench to avoid him. A kid started crying because she was scared. Awesome.

So much for elevating the opinion of the breed.

What are we teaching people?

I know this will never work, cause people suck…..

But couldn’t we try, just not screwing with beings or property without invitation?

Probably not.

I’ll just get all our dogs muzzles.

And one for me too. Since honestly it would be really convenient for people to just avoid me too.

Wow. I may have just created the perfect social tactic. Next time you’re in a bar, and don’t want to get hit on, or on the bus, and don’t want to socialize…..

Just break out your Hannible Lecter muzzle, and enjoy the privacy.


But just to be sure…. I’m gonna put a yellow ribbon on mine.

Can’t be too careful.

4 thoughts on “Screw Yellow….. Get A Muzzle?”

  1. I agree with your assessment of this well-intentioned idea that may have unfortunate consequences. I’ve never used a muzzle on Muttley and 99% of the time he is absolutely safe with kids and adults, but he has had some unfortunate incidents with dogs and he does not show any of the usual body language to indicate his intentions before reacting and causing damage. I don’t think he really needs a muzzle but it might prevent an unwanted and uncontrolled meeting. Maybe I can find a very comfortable muzzle that is more for appearance than bite prevention?

  2. Hysterical, as usual. But, also a serious subject for me and my “project.” I did muzzle Sierra for a LONG time – every time we went out in public – which was everyday, bc I live in an urban area. The total purpose was to keep people away…far away. Add a calming cap to that and she looked like some crazy dog being trained to be blind while muzzled. Many people said the Calming Cap would elicit comments from passerby but paired with the muzzle, it never did.

    That “bite history” thing sucks and what a horrible story. I hope you go to a new vet and you should Yelp the other office and warn people.

    Sierra has a red bar on her folder at the vet, meaning she is required to be muzzled. Just as well.

    Paul – btw, I have found an excellent muzzle that is light-weight but strong, a basket muzzle so it is secure and also has a large opening for treats. It actually might soften a muzzle punch.

    There is A LOT of education that needs to happen. I wish cities and towns would spend money on educating (kids especially) about dogs instead of enforcing stupid BSL mandates.

  3. Btw – just read this on the DINOS (Dogs In Need Of Space website)
    Did DINOS create the Yellow Dog Project? Do you promote yellow ribbons?

    Nope, DINOS is not the creator of the Yellow Dog Project. DINOS is not affiliated with any yellow ribbon campaign or project. We support the good intentions of the folks behind these projects and appreciate their work to educate the public about dogs who need their space, however DINOS has a slightly different message that we’re focused on promoting at this time.

    DINOS promotes responsible and respectful ownership towards and around ALL dogs. The public should have control of their dogs, obey leash laws, and ask permission first around ANY and ALL dogs. The ribbons are one of many handy communication tools, but no dog should have to wear a ribbon in order for others to be responsible, respectful, and obey leash laws. If you see a dog without a ribbon, please afford it the same respect as a “yellow dog”. In order to reduce dog bites and create public spaces that are safe for us all to enjoy, please remember that while some dogs have a stronger need for space than others, ALL dogs have a right to their personal space.

  4. OMG I HATE this “yellow dog project”! “it teaches people to ask before they approach a dog” AREN’T YOU SUPPOSED TO ASK BEFORE APPROACHING ANY DOG?! that was drilled into me as a child. And more times than not kids do politely ask me if they can pet my dog. But still plenty of kids AND adults don’t even know this. If they don’t know common sense to ask before petting a dog (or shoving your face in a dogs face) then are they really going to know what a stupid yellow bandanna means? Unless posted in EVERY SINGLE park, and EVERY SINGLE dog park, and EVERY SINGLE pet store and EVERY SINGLE veterinary office.

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