Follow the Leader

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!


  1. Say Please! If your dog wants you to do something, like let him outside, play with him or give him attention, first ask him to perform a simple, familiar task like “Sit”. This is simply good manners and teaches your dog that good stuff comes through you and good, calm behaviour, not rudeness! Click or say “yes” when your dog complies with a sit and then give him what he wanted. If he ignores you, turn and walk away. Do not engage your dog in any way for 30 seconds. Don’t look at him, touch him, or talk to him and resist the urge to repeat sit over and over. Ask once and once only and walk away if he doesn’t listen.Example: Your dog wants to sit on the couch with you. Without asking with a sit, he jumps up and sits beside you. Since he didn’t ask if he could do this, stand up and guide him off the couch. Ignore him for a few minutes, then call him to you and ask him to sit. If he complies,click or say “yes” and invite him up onto the couch.


  1. Catch Fido Being Good – Dogs crave our attention be that negative or positive attention. Especially if the humans in the house are busy, your dog may find negative attention quite rewarding. Unfortunately we do tend to notice when our dogs are being bad instead of good. Aggression, stealing human possessions, and chewing inappropriate items very quickly get your dog noticed while lying calmly and playing with their toys gets them ignored. Whenever a behaviour receives a response, even if it is scolding, the behaviour may be reinforced. Instead, try to give your dog attention and treats when they are being good and ignore and redirect when they are being “bad”.


Proceed to Part Two!

Thanks and stay tuned for more! This is adapted from Emma Parson’s book “Click to Calm”.