There’s a new product on the market called “Dog Flags” — designed, their maker says, to “simplify the relationship between dog owners and the public at large.”
They come in five colors, with five labels — “Please Don’t Approach,” “Friendly,” “I’m in Training,” “Special Needs,” and “I’m Shy.”
You attach them to your dog’s leash. They cost five bucks. They also come in bandana form.
“With over 80 million owned dogs as pets in the United States alone, being able to know at a glance which canines you can approach and which ones you should leave alone goes a long way to avoiding unwanted incidents,” the company behind them says.
The flags may not be an entirely stupid concept. But they do over simplify things. Flag or not, it’s still best to ask the owner. Dogs, like humans, can be friendly one day, shy the next. To put a “Special Needs” label on your dog would seem to raise more questions than it answers — not that there’s anything wrong with that. And as for “I’m in Training,” aren’t we all? Pretty much always?
As for those dogs who need a red flag, some of them shouldn’t be out in the park/streets/coffee shops in the first place — at least not in those cases where they are still under the guardianship of the human who most likely turned them into a red flag dog. Then again, those humans aren’t likely to purchase a flag for their dog, anyway.
The tiered color system is similar to that used at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, but that’s a special environment where dogs are being rehabilitated. To suggest that all dogs in society should bear temperament flags (though nobody is, yet) is a little too Big Brotherish for my taste.
While there may be situations in which they come in handy, Dog Flags seem a shortcut to a more desirable scenario, a public — and I’m talking about both dog owners and non-dog owners — that’s more educated about dogs and how to approach and treat them.
Planting flags on dogs — “I hereby proclaim you … Shy” — seems a tad paternalistic. As with shock collars, my opinion is, unless you’re willing to try one on yourself first, don’t subject your dog to it.
Then again, Human Flags could come in handy.
I would probably get a yellow one — not for Ace, but for myself — and perhaps a red one for times I want to be alone, and maybe a green one for when I’m feeling frisky.
If they ever come out with a purple one that says “Freak,” I would probably get it, too, for there are times — rare though they are — that I feel like letting my freak flag fly.
If I did get one for Ace, it would have to be the green one. Sometimes, people veer away and cross the street when they see him. People often assume because he’s big he must be mean, or at least don’t want to get close enough to find out. But I’d probably rather a select and interested few take the time to slowly approach and get to know him than slap a “friendly” label on him and have children start climbing aboard.
“With … dogs increasingly going to human destinations, such as coffee shops, and cafes, Dog Flags become an important tool in preventing unnecessary incidents,” the Dog Flags website says. “… When your dog is wearing Dog Flags, everyone will know what to expect.”
It’s not that quick and easy. One can never totally know what to expect, with dogs or humans. So we suggest approaching both with a little bit of caution — no matter what their flags say.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bandana, behavior, blue, colors, dog flags, dog products, dogs, flags, friendly, green, humans, i'm in training, labels, leash, orange, pets, please don't approach, products, public, red, relationship, shy, special needs, tags, temperament, warning, yellow
Animal control officers in Connecticut are asking for the public’s help in solving the mystery of a dead pit bull found in a trash bag hanging from a tree near a highway.
Authorities say bloody clothing, needles and syringes were also in the bag, found near a highway in the town of Orange on Saturday. It’s not clear how the dog, a 1- to 2-year-old female, died, according to the Register Citizen in Litchfield County.
The pit bull had puncture wounds on its shoulder and officials are looking into whether it was used in dogfighting rings. A necropsy is being conducted at the University of Connecticut.
The resident who found the bag called police about 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Officers took pictures of the bag in the tree and left it with the resident, who buried the dog with the bag and its other contents in his yard, Assistant Animal Control Officer Linda Schaff said.
After being called about the incident, Schaff went to pick up the dog Sunday, which is when the resident disinterred the animal and turned it over to her.
Anyone with information on the dog is asked to call the shelter at 203-389-5991.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, bag, bloody clothing, connecticut, dead, dogfighting, hanging, hung, linda schaff, necropsy, needles, news, ohmidog!, orange, pit bull, pitbull, puncture wounds, syringes, trash bag, tree
The techniques matchmaking services use to help humans meet their mates are increasingly being used by animal shelters, and for pretty much the same reason — in hopes of ensuring lasting bonds.
The ASPCA’s “Meet Your Match” program has been adopted by at least 200 shelters across the country since it was created in 2000, including at the The Minnesota Valley Humane Society.
“The reason we started doing it is because many people come in for a certain breed of dog, and the program helps to gear people to look more at personality rather than breed,” adoptions coordinator Michelle Bauer told the Pioneer-Press.
The color-coded system matches dogs to adopters, based on an evaluation of both. Dogs are evaluated in five areas, including friendliness, playfulness and energy level, and then assigned a color — green, orange or purple.
The dog adopter, after a survey that includes questions about his or her own lifestyle, living arrangements and energy level, gets assigned one of three colors. Those dogs of the same color are considered the best matches, but potential adopters aren’t restricted to that choice.
Last year, 848 dogs were adopted from the Minnesota Valley Humane Society; 37 of them were returned. Shelter officials hope the program will reduce the number that are returned.
Dogs are divided into three basic categories: the high energy ones (couch potato, constant companion, teachers pet), medium energy ones (wallflower, busy bee, goofball) and high energy ones (life of the party, go-getter and free spirit).
My dog, I think, is a goofball, midway — or a little more — through the transition to couch potato, much like his owner.
You can find it all further explained in a section of the ASPCA’s website.
The Maryland SPCA, not affiliated with the ASPCA, uses a similar system to categorize the personality and energy levels of its adoptable dogs. The dog above, for example,Davidson, a Labrador mix, is classified as a “swinging tap dancer … comfortable going on long walks or just lying around the house.” He’s currently available for adoption at the Maryland SPCA.
(Photo courtesy Maryland SPCA)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, adoption, aspca, attributes, behavior, bond, busy bee, coding, color, couch potato, dogs, free spirit, go-getter, goofball, green, match, matches, matchmaking, minnesota valley humane society, orange, personalities, purple, rescues, shelters, teachers pet
A Georgia prosecutor says he intends to aggressively prosecute a contractor who allegedly sprayed fluorescent orange paint on a barking black lab mix that was in a fenced backyard.
“To spray paint a dog in the eye makes no sense,” DeKalb County Solicitor Robert James told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution yesterday. “It was gratuitous. The animal was behind a fence. Its really something we take serious and were going to try to make this thing right. We’re going to take this very seriously.”
Dario Harris appeared in DeKalb County State Court Tuesday on two counts of animal cruelty, a charge that could mean as much as 12 months in jail.
Harris was dispatched in March to mark gas lines in preparation for scheduled digging along the residential street. A homeowner, Jeffrey Tompkins, heard his dog, Bear, barking and then saw a truck driving away. A few minutes later, he found his dog rubbing her eyes with her front paws.
Tompkins said there were “seven individual spray marks” low on the fence about the height of the dog’s eyes.
“It wasn’t like he just sprayed one time across [ the fence],” Tompkins said in an interview Wednesday. “He [Harris] went up to the fence. He had no reason to go in the backyard.”
Harris said he “reacted to the dog coming to the gate and scaring me. It wasn’t anything intentional. I wasn’t out to do any harm. I was just doing my job.”
A vet flushed Bear’s eyes and provided antibiotics, and Harris said he would repay Tompkins for those expenses.
“This is making me out to be a criminal,” Harris said. “I’m not.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, backyard, bear, charge, contractor, court, dario harris, dekalb county, dog, fence, fluorescent, gas lines, georgia, jeffrey tompkins, lab, marking, orange, painting, spray paint