Social Interaction

One of the most difficult things to judge with a disabled dog is how much social interaction do they need? Are they getting enough? Too much? One thing I've noticed is that because dogs don't realize they are disabled, they will try and do everything they once did - even if they can't which may lead to frustration.

The obvious solution is to find a way that your disabled dog can socialize with other dogs (if he feels comfortable doing that). If you have other dogs in your household, don't isolate him. He will enjoy their company. On the other hand you may need to protect him from "the pack". A pack senses the disabled dog is not 100% and may decide to finish him off. It's important you watch for clues and are aware because the disabled dog cannot defend himself should the pack attack. Only you will know the fine balance of your pack and what will work best.  

Do you know what the Yellow Dog Project is?

The Yellow Dog Project is a nonprofit organization that is a global effort to help raise awareness and education around dogs that require a little extra distance upon approaching.  Does this mean that the dog is aggressive or mean?  No, there are numerous reasons why a dog may have a yellow ribbon tied on it's leash. It may mean the dog is new with the handler, is under medical care, or in foster care for instance.

The purpose of this project is to assist with the proper techniques to approach a dog. Children have a lot of energy and often to run up and pet a dog. Not all dogs understand this and can become fearful.  With proper education, all parties are put in a less stressful environment, which in turn reduces opportunities for an unforeseen accident.

While many dogs are friendly, there are others that need space either all the time or at least as they are warming up to new people or dogs. The yellow ribbon can signify many things. This project has been expanded to include other reasons for wearing a yellow ribbon, and other color leashes/ribbons.

  • A dog is in training and doesn’t want to be disturbed.
  • A dog has health issues.
  • A dog is frightened outdoors.
  • A dog may not like other dogs or unfamiliar people.
  • PINK - Do not feed
  • GREEN - Friendly
  • RED - Caution
  • ORANGE - Not dog friendly
  • BRIGHT YELLOW - Awaiting Adoption
  • LIGHT YELLOW - Nervous
  • BLUE - In training or working
  • WHITE - Deaf or Blind

This project has been great for dogs that are iffy around people or other dogs.  It gives them space when out and about.  Yet, most disabled dogs would love the company of others and particularly their owners. Ideally you want his "space" to be near the busiest areas of the house (unless he is recouperating from surgery or some other temporary disability that requires quiet and rest). A disabled dog will enjoy watching the comings and goings, love the attention, and will do much better than a dog isolated in a spare bedroom with no interaction. Even dogs that can't get around in wheelchairs enjoy toys and your loving attention. These guys are having ablast so of course disabled dogs can have friends and enjoy interaction!