News | 16 June 2022
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Council leads the way with new dog behaviour initiative

Wellington City Council’s animal services are like a dog with a bone when it comes to responsible dog ownership – and their latest campaign really leads the way.

Dogs Patsy and Opie show off their yellow ribbons
Patsy and Opie show off their yellow ribbons

The past couple of years have been challenging for humans and animals, and there has been an increase in dog attack incidents, so Council is promoting the international Yellow Ribbon campaign to address some dog behavioural issues.


The campaign encourages owners to tie a yellow ribbon around their dog’s collar or leash to indicate if they need a bit of space. This could be for many reasons, including they’re either old, injured, in training, a rescue dog, or anxious around other dogs and/or people.


Public Health Manager Helen Jones says the campaign has been successful overseas, and they’re hoping that will apply here too.


“Unfortunately, dog attacks have been on the rise over the past couple of years in Wellington, so any initiative we can introduce which could reduce these incidents occurring is a good thing.


“The Yellow Ribbon campaign is an easy way to show that your dog just needs some space, and for other dog owners and the general public to take that into consideration when in close proximity.”

An illustration of a woman holding a brown dog with a yellow ribbon tied on its collar.

It’s important to respect your dog's boundaries, and to communicate these boundaries to others says Animal Control Officer Damian Nunns from the Council’s dog squad. 


“Decreased interactions with others during the COVID-19 lockdowns meant that dogs were often separated from other dogs and people.


“This reduced interaction, mixed with an inconsistent routine, has contributed to some dogs feeling anxious and fearful of others, and we know when dogs are scared they can lash out.


“The yellow ribbon doesn’t mean the dog is classed as aggressive, those dogs are already required to wear a muzzle – it’s just giving them some room to breathe.”


Find a ribbon in Wellington Yellow, tie it to your dog’s leash/collar/bandana and lead the way.


If a dog is showing concerning signs of anxiety, seeking out training is a good way to help them feel more secure in stressful situations. Getting your dog trained is another way to ensure that your dog behaves well around their doggy friends and their owners.


For more information about the Yellow Ribbon campaign and for responsible dog owner info, visit or contact: