Follow the Leader – Part Two

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 two of Follow the Leader. View Part 1 here.

  1. Calm Gets The Goods!Attention seeking behaviour like barking and whining should be as unacceptable as obvious “bad” behaviours. If your dog rudely demands your attention, ignore him. Get up and walk away if you must. Pay attention to the dog only when he has abandoned his pushy, annoying behaviour. This also works well for an over-excited dog. You can ignore them until they calm down and thereby reinforce the good calm behaviour.
  1. Excuse Me!Teach your dog to voluntarily move out of your way when you ask. This is also a safety measure, as you can politely ask the dog to move out of the way rather than try to force or step over him, which can trigger a bite. It is also a good leadership exercise as it requires the dog to give up space he is in for you. Start by gently nudging your dog if he is laying in your way. When he gets up and moves for you, say “Excuse me!” Click or mark the dog moving for you and toss a treat, toy, or lots of praise. If you repeat this you will soon be able to say “Excuse me” and the dog will move for you, followed by a pleasant “Thank you!” as praise for the dog. If a gentle nudge does not get your dog to move, shuffle your feet along the floor slowly moving into the dog’s space. Keep a tall, confident body posture and do not use your hands to move the dog. Let your presence claim to space, and the dog will make the choice to move for you.


go on to Part 3! This is adapted from Emma Parson’s book “Click to Calm”.