Special Photo: U.S. Canine Jack, one of Angie Woods' pack dogs, sports a yellow bandana and has a yellow ribbon tied to his leash. Woods, well-known as the Atlanta dog whisperer, is encouraging awareness for a global movement to give dogs with the yellow ribbon more space in public places.
It's not that you're going to get bitten.
It's just that some dogs need a little space.
The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement meant to encourage awareness about the issue and it's gained a local supporter in Angie Woods.
Well-known as the Atlanta dog whisperer and the owner of U.S. Canine rehabilitation center in Buford, Woods sees all kinds of reasons to promote this project in which owners tie a yellow ribbon to their dog's leash as an indicator.
"I would say 90 percent of the dogs that come through here (at U.S. Canine) are yellow dogs," Woods said.
Yes, some dogs have aggression issues with people or other dogs. But it's just as much for shy or fearful dogs. It can also just be because a dog is healing from a physical injury.
Whatever the reason, the answer is the same.
"Don't look, talk or pet," Woods said. "Don't allow your dog to approach without permission. Just ask -- which is what the ribbon is for. It's an unusual thing to see a ribbon on a leash."
Woods just recently heard about the Yellow Dog Project and is working to get the word out.
"It's so relevant and helpful," Woods said. "I truly believe we have a shy-dog syndrome in America. My big thing is to bring some awareness so when people see it, they do know what it means, so that as a community we can really help the dogs.
"They don't need to be touched by humans. What they do need is to be in the space of a person and see that nothing bad happens, to make a positive association."
Owners of dogs that need some space also appreciate what the project could mean if it catches on. An owner who is worried or even afraid of what their dog will do in social settings is easily transmitted to the dog. A lot of what Woods does is also about helping people understand how to communicate in a way dogs understand.
"Even a lot of eye-contact creates a lot of negative pressure on some dogs," Woods said. "We just need to brings the awareness and the education so the dog can be in public. Otherwise, they're at home and isolated.
"It's all about bringing balance to the dog."