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Is your relationship with your dog like ‘a Ship without a Sail or a Rudder’?

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

What on earth am I taking about? a lack of leadership that’s what, a word in the dog training world that at one end of the spectrum is at worst a dirty word and at best not terribly fashionable at the moment and at the other end completely misunderstood and misapplied. Think about it, a rudder provides direction, and the sail ensures progress, sound leadership provides both.

Does your relationship with your dog feel all at sea, has your relationship lost its course and failed to make headway despite

  • Diligently undertaking training at home or through classes on or off-line

  • Scouring the internet for the answers to your dog training issues

  • Reviewing numerous books on training methods

Do you want: -

  • A well-trained dog you can be proud of?

  • A strong, loving and trusting relationship?

  • A happy dog?


I have thought long and hard during my career about the importance of leadership and both its meaning, potential abuse and abandonment in some schools of thought. I have also thought about the often-elusive meaning of this concept and how people may view it differently.

My own interpretation or understanding of what leadership is ‘The ability to guide motivate and empower others.’

An important part of the path to leadership is to create trust in your ability to lead (you cannot guide unless there is willingness to follow, without trust there will be no desire or motivation to follow). I also believe a leader has a huge obligation not to breach the trust that has been placed in them.

We live in, an increasingly complex world, full of rules and regulations, so many in fact that without careful leadership and guidance when young, that gets provided to us by our parents and our teachers (whose job is to help us navigate the world as competent (hopefully caring) and responsible adults) without these rules many of us would undoubtedly struggle to fit in, or even worse end up on the wrong side of the law at some point.

As we mature into adulthood, we may become leaders ourselves but even leaders are ultimately almost all followers to a higher order…

Why do we need to be our dog’s leaders?

Our dogs do not have the complex reasoning skills that we have and (arguably (a conversation for another blog) a different kind of intelligence) instead they have rather a more simplistic approach to life which does not lend itself to always behaving in a way that is deemed either desirable or necessary, without guidance from us, in the regulated world we live in. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure that we do those things necessary to enable them to have the best quality of life possible within the constraints within which they are forced to live. There many things we can do to achieve this but leadership is a fundamental component. However, although we are fully accepting of leadership and indeed a good deal of regulation and control in our day to day lives, it is common of late to not apply the same well tested principles for harmonious living to our canine companions.


Perhaps people often see leadership as an excess of control or some sort of power trip. A lot of canine related articles now are all about allowing choice, giving freedoms, treating our canine friends far more like members of the family than the pets or working companions they were say 50 years or so ago. However, we undoubtedly retain an immense amount of control over our dogs, they get very little choice about where they go and when they go, what and when they eat, even when they can go to the toilet. In the 1970’s many dogs were still wandering the streets leaving that crumbly white poo’s on the pavement we all tried to avoid treading in! In the 2020’s they have lost all such freedom, which is probably why ‘canine enrichment’ is such a buzz phrase at the moment, as we endeavour to make up in some small way for the freedoms we have removed.

In my view one of the most important aspects of our relationship with our dogs is to employ much needed leadership, implemented with kindness, care and consideration. We owe it to our dogs in the ever increasingly regulated society that we live in to ensure that they have the best chance to enjoy sharing our lives with us as members of our family and in order to do so we (amongst other things) need to show them in a variety of situations, how to behave appropriately in order that they can benefit from being involved in more family activities.

Learning to be a Leader

So, you say, I get all this leadership stuff, I am not a leader of men, never have been never will be, how can I therefore be my dogs’ leader. Well come and work with me and I will show you how, in the kindest and gentlest way. In a way where we have two-way communication with our canine friends truly based on Mutual Understand and Trust, using my exclusive M.U.T.T (mutual understanding and trust training method).

In order to provide kind and effective leadership, that will enrich rather than deplete the quality of our dogs’ lives there is much we ourselves must learn and understand about our canine friends, for without such understanding these things will not be possible…


There are not many things that please me more than watching a canine human relationship become enriched, deepen and evolve.

If you would like to learn more about the Pamela Hindes Method of training and behaviour modification and how my unique relationship enhancing methods might help you and your dog either call or complete the bookings form for a no obligation chat.


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