Local Advocates Yellow Dog Project


Lori Erhardt with her dog Kylie. Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 19, 2014

A dog owner is advocating for Yellow Dog project after an attack on her dog shattered the dog’s jaw and left the woman with a $1000 vet’s bill.

The idea behind the Yellow Dog Project is simple: Tie a yellow ribbon or around the collar of your dog to show your dog needs space.

Tara Palardy, a dog trainer from Alberta, is behind the idea that has now spread to over 50 countries.

The intention of yellow dog project isn’t to single out aggressive dogs.

A Yellow ribbon can also indicate a dog is recovering, is in season, is insecure, and is being trained or simply wants to be left alone.

They could also be dogs who have issues of fear or pain from recent surgery. The yellow dog project seeks to educate on how to approach or how to make contact with a dog.

Lori Erhardt wishes her dog would have been left alone.

On Feb. 17, Erhard took her dog to the Squamish Golf Course, a place where she often takes Kylie for a walk.

She saw a man with a big German Shephard walking toward her car. Erhardt said she asked the man if she should leash up Kylie.

Erhardt said the man claimed his dog was friendly and there is no need to leash the dog.

The German Shephard sniffed Kylie, and then viciously attacked her face, Erhadt says.

When she took the dog to the veteranian, she was told the dog’s jaw had been broken in two places.

“It was a very painful injury and Kylie needed surgery. Her jaw is now wired and it’s 6-8 weeks to recovery,” she said.

The animal control investigated the incident, but Erhardt says the bylaw control officers tend to focus more on whether the dog had a licence or if it was off-leash.

Bark Busters, a dog training company, works with dogs that have more challenging behavior issues and a Yellow Dog project can help many of those dogs,” said the owner, Jeff Cooke.

Cooke said the program can be a great tool to help educate other dog owners to put their dog on leash and control it.

“Even a medium sized dog can be difficult to handle when they are exhibiting aggression based on fear,” Cooke said.

Complaints about dogs are by far the most frequently reported bylaw violation (368 complaints) in the district for the year ending November 1, 2013.

Since 2012, the district has plans to create eight off-leash dog areas in town, but these are not a priority at the moment.

The district also plans to launch an information program this year to promote the use of the dog parks, as well as to discourage the use of undesignated areas.


  1. MichaelL65 says:

    I totally agree with the Yellow Dog Project! HOWEVER…. If you are walking your dog, unless it is a stated OFF LEASH park, PLEASE keep your dog leashed! I simply cannot understand why dog owners (Of which I am one) cannot get this through their heads! I am sorry for Kaylee’s injuries, but maybe Lori Erhardt has learned a valuable lesson in that she should always keep her dog on a leash!

    • George says:

      I agree with MichaelL65. A neighbour’s dog was loose on their property and chased and almost attacked my cat, who had been sitting on my yard minding her own business. A car was passing by around that time, and both pets could have been seriously injured if the dog had chased my cat across the road.
      Keep your dog leashed if it’s outside.

  2. MichaelL65 says:

    One follow up to my comment – sorry, but if a dog is off leash and approaches my on leash dog, I cannot be responsible for what happens – and yes, I will intervene. I have had this happen several times where off leash dogs have approached my leashed dog and it could have gotten ugly. Unless it is an off leash park, your dog needs to be on a leash.

    • jon says:

      Too bad there are no off lease dog parks in the Squamish area! It seems hard to believe that there are no such areas, given the supply of lands around Squamish and the amount of dogs in our area. Until there are designated areas we are going to have off leash dogs. Also I hope you put a yellow marker on your leashed dog so we can give your dog space and all pass by without any problems.

      • MichaelL65 says:

        There are off leash areas in Squamish. There is one down behind Save On Foods. The problem is not necessarily my leashed dog, but the off leash dogs that bound up to him with their owners yelling – “Oh he/she is friendly!” This has happened on Cleveland Avenue downtown. There are places I let my dog run off leash – and he is always fine, but it is on trails and streets where dogs SHOULD be leashed where a problem occurs.

  3. heather gee says:

    The yellow ribbon project makes a lot of sense. However, when you live in a community where many people regularly ignore clearly marked notices about keeping their dogs on leash, not locking their dogs in hot cars, etc. I can’t see this working. There are still too many dog walkers who litter plastic bags along trails or don’t pick up after their pets. The fact that that particular dog owner didn’t pay for that unfortunately injured dog, says it all.

  4. Jo says:

    I can’t see it working either, I had a very fearful dog, she was terrified of large dogs and I can’t even count the number of times we had off leash dogs running full tilt at us and the owners absolutely useless as their dogs didn’t listen to them. A couple times when their was a group of them it would get ugly as my dog was running in circles to get away from them they got aggressive towards her. I think in order for this to work bylaw needs to get tougher on enforcing leash bylaws in the community.

  5. Laura says:

    Dog owners please just leash up when you see other dogs & people. It is just being respectful & thoughtful. It really is a simple solution to keep animals /public safe. Don’t we all want that at the end of the day:) & pick up after your dog too that’s just plain ignorant! Can’t wait to hear about the off leash dog trails the district announced they are promoting this summer! It’s long overdue. Happy trails everyone !

  6. Dave says:

    All dogs when at large in our District should ON-LEASH if there is any chance of meeting people (other than their owners) or other dogs with whom they have not already socialized. If they are off leash in the bush and they are attacked by the wildlife there, there should be no whining!