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Follow the Leader – Part Four

A guide to force free leadership with your dog


In any healthy human-dog relationship, the human needs to be the one in charge – just like a human parent and child. The human is the one who makes all the important decisions in the dog’s life and pays the vet bills! Lack of clear leadership in the household can lead to obedience problems, aggression, or anxiety and fear issues.

The following positive home management system will guide you how to teach your dog through non-confrontational methods that you are the leader. This can be done without frightening, hurting or threatening your dog. This program will establish a good trusting, respectful balanced relationship between human and dog without you having to prove your dominance over him. Most dogs are less stressed when the decision making responsibility is left to their human.

There are 10 principles in total; I will be introducing one or two each week. Add them into your daily life and see if your dog’s behaviour improves for the better! Here is part four of Follow the Leader.

View Part 1Part 2 & Part 3.


  1. Your Dog Needs His Own Room, TooDogs need a safe space they can call their own. A crate or setting up a special are for your dog will help you manage your dog safely. This gives your dog a place that he can trust if he goes there when he needs space, he will be given it.


    1. Trade to Prevent Object GuardingTrying to pry a valuable object from your dog’s mouth is the quickest way to teach him to become possessive of his valuables! Instead I recommend teaching your dog to be happy abou exchanging things with you. Imagine this: You have a $20 dollar bill in your hand walk. I walk up, say “Give me that!” and take it away. Maybe I’ll give it back, maybe I won’t. The next time you have $20 and you see me coming, you’ll probably either hide it, tell me to go away before I get there (a dog would growl to say this), or hold it even firmer to try to prevent me from grabbing it. Now, if I walked up with a $50 bill and traded you for your $20, you would probably be quite happy to see me walk up next time you were hanging on to a $20 bill! The next time your dog has something you need or they shouldn’t have, instead of fighting them for it, trade them for another toy or some yummy treats. You can practice the same thing with the food bowl: when your dog is eating, first walk by and drop something yummier than kibble into his bowl but don’t take the bowl away. This way your dog will develop good associations with people walking up while he’s eating. If he has no issues with this, take his bowl away while he is eating, drop in some yummies, and give it back to him. Soon your dog will be happy to have you taking his food away!

      Stay tuned for #9 and #10 which will be posted next week!