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Warning: If You See a Red-Collared Dog… You Might Want to Stay Away!

Do you know what to do if you come across a red-collared dog?

When you see an adorable canine walking towards you, it’s hard not to get a little bit giddy. They’re so cute with their doggy swagger, floppy ears, and hanging tongues! They’ll surely want some belly rubs and ear scratches, right? Well, let’s talk about it first.

Even though petting a new dog you see may seem like a fantastic way of meeting your daily ration for endorphins, doing so isn’t always the brightest idea, especially if you see a red-collared dog or one with a red bandana.

We asked some pet experts about what different dog collars mean and what it can mean when a dog is sporting one of these flashy red accessories. Continue reading to learn about their insights.

Red-Collared Dog
Photo by 5 second Studio at Shutterstock

What’s the big deal about seeing a red-collared dog?

We all know that red is the universal sign for “stop.” After all, we see it on stoplights and stop signs worldwide. It’s a prominent color for fire trucks and police sirens. We even use it when discussing “red flags.”

Red gives us a reason to halt and be cautious, and it’s why some canines wear red bandanas or dog collars or use red leashes.

According to a veterinarian and medical director of the virtual vet care company Dutch, red signals that this animal is aggressive and needs space from other animals and people. These are pets known to attack other dogs, bite or snap at passersby, or lunge at people.

They may be well-behaved at home with their owners but will become overly protective of them when out. Sometimes, working or service dogs that shouldn’t be pets can also wear red dog collars.

Typically, though, they’ll have on a vest that says “emotional support” or “service dog,” which is usually accompanied by a phrase like “Do not pet.” Not all dog owners know how to use this color-coded language. We see it more in professional settings in the US.

For instance, the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) commonly uses red dog collars. They use red bandanas to warn others to give the dog some distance yet allow the person and dog to interact in relative safety.

As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to use caution when approaching a new dog and ask permission before extending your hand out to pet a canine.

If the owner says they would prefer you refrained from petting their dog, don’t be offended. This will likely protect you, the pup, and its owner.

… And since we’re on this topic, continue reading to learn about what other colors on a collar may indicate:

More dog collar colors to know

Other than red, the canine world utilizes a rainbow of dog colors to communicate various behavioral cues. Though color-coded leashes are just now starting to be more mainstream in the United States, some dog owners know about and have been using the system for years.

Color-coded accessories are also more popular overseas. So it’s good to be aware of them if you plan on traveling abroad anytime soon. Regardless, getting the owner’s permission remains vital before engaging with any type of dog, regardless of the color they wear.

… Next up? What does it mean if you see a dog with a yellow color?


Yellow is generally reserved for furry companions who are nervous and can be unpredictable. Even though it doesn’t indicate a full-blown “stop,” it’s a “slow down,” just like with a yellow traffic light!

Vets say that pets with yellow collars may have anxieties or underlying fears that haven’t been completely addressed yet and aren’t comfortable in certain scenarios.


Service dogs, working dogs, and dogs in training typically use blue vests, bandanas, and collars. Many times, these accessories may even say, “Do not pet.” These dogs perform essential tasks and, much like professionals at work, shouldn’t be disturbed.

This color is a gentle reminder for the public to permit these dedicated hounds to proceed with their duties without interference.

You should avoid making exchanges with them as cute as they are and let the dog stick to its business. Nobody likes to be bothered when they’re hard at work, right?

Red-Collared Dog
Photo by Dolores M. Harvey at Shutterstock


Green collars on dogs signal that a pet is approachable to other dogs as well as people. However, as we’ve mentioned before, you should never approach, speak to, pet, or interact with an unknown dog before getting permission from their owner.

This remains the safest and most practical way to keep people… and the dogs we love, safe.


Dog trainers say that orange dog collars usually means that the canine doesn’t interact well with other dogs. So, if you’re out on a walk with your pup, try to cross the street, curb your own pooch, or pause to let the other dog pass by calmly.

Dangerous dog collars you should avoid buying for your pup

There are many current marketing attempts to make specific collars more attractive to the public, including pretty, colorful cloth covers for prong collars, rubber tips for the prongs, and euphemisms for shock that range from “tickle” to “e-touch.”

Shock-collar sales reps are pretty well-trained at convincing consumers that applying electrical stimulation doesn’t hurt your pup. Likewise, old-fashioned trainers are equally adept at convincing these same shoppers that using force is required to train a dog properly.

Don’t be fooled by this, though. Shocking your pup will hurt. Recent studies unanimously support the idea that while old-fashioned, force-based training methods can be effective, they also come with a significant risk of causing injury to animals.

Choke chains are known to damage canine tracheas and create behavioral problems, especially aggression and fear. These tools and the old methods typically used frequently result in shutting dogs down, which isn’t something we want to see in our canines.

In contrast, we should value confident dogs willing to offer demeanor, which many dogs trained with behavior-suppressing methods don’t usually do. The bottom line with all these collars is that they work because they intimidate or hurt your dog.

That’s not exactly a good training philosophy, is it? We recommend you never use collars that are developed to work through the application of discomfort, pain, or aversive sensations, including:

-Prong collars
-Choke chains
-Citronella spray collars
-Shock collars (training or no-bark)
-Any other dog collar designed to force compliance

So what type of dog collar SHOULD you get? Our friends at Amazon can help you decide! Here’s one of our favorites, though.

Red-Collared Dog
Photo by Tatyana Vyc at Shutterstock

In Conclusion

Understanding and respecting the color-coded communication system within the dog community is important for not just current but also prospective dog owners.

It fosters safety and harmony in interactions between humans and dogs, highlighting the significance of recognizing and respecting our canine companions’ signals to express their boundaries and needs.

By educating ourselves with these visual cues, we can ensure positive experiences for everyone involved, strengthening the friendship between dogs and their human companions.

We hope this post on dog collars has been an insightful read. Be sure to share your own experiences with us in the comments section below.

And if you liked this article, The Geeky Gecko recommends you also read: 8 Most Common Dog Training Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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