Pillar Five: Leadership

Building leadership does not come from providing your dog with endless snuggles, total freedom, or infinite resources.

At some point throughout your life, you have more than likely experienced good leadership.


Leaders are responsible for having a vision and understanding what needs to happen to achieve that vision. Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination. Much like with people, having leadership is the most impactful factor when it comes to how well you will be able to train your dog. Contrary to popular belief, building leadership does not come from providing your dog with endless snuggles, total freedom, or infinite resources.

Instead, you can build leadership through:

  • Boundaries
  • Structure
  • Accountability
  • Advocacy
  • Discipline
  • Fulfillment

While these things aren't as fun or convenient as snuggles and table-scraps, they are the building blocks of developing leadership, and ultimately, a fantastic relationship with your dog. By not developing these building blocks, you risk regression in your dog's behavior or, worse, more undesirable habits.

Therefore, it's essential to ask yourself some of the following questions involved with being a good leader for your dog, such as:

  • How am I providing the best living environment for my dog?
  • How do I keep myself and my dog accountable?
  • How do I advocate for my dog?
  • How am I providing structure?
  • How do I give my dog fulfillment?

Through answering these questions, you'll be able to find the gaps and holes in your lifestyle with your dog that need attention.

It's not uncommon for dog owners to feel a sense of guilt over enforcing or creating new rules for your dog. Some of these rules include:

  • Crating
  • Not being on furniture
  • Less Affection
  • More Mental Exercise
  • Adequate Physical Exercise
  • Dedicated Training Times

However, it is crucial to separate your human emotions from what is necessary to provide good leadership for your dog. Ultimately, through developing these systems and habits, you will establish yourself as a trustworthy and fair leader for your dog. One that they will happily follow and be obedient too. Through developing all five pillars, you will have all of the necessary fundamentals to train your dog and have the best possible relationship.

Remember, time with your dog is limited; the quality of your life with them shouldn't be.

Save the graphic below and try your hand at our Pillar 5 Challenge!