When it comes to creating a healthy, happy, and truly fulfilling relationship between you and your dog, two essential ingredients are required: trust and respect. Those are the two building blocks of great leadership. If you do not share both
these two qualities with your dog ? you toward her, and she toward you ? then your relationship with that dog needs some work.
Of course, you can accomplish trust with your dog and not have respect; and you can have respect from your dog but not have earned her trust. For example, John and Jenny Grogan, of Marley and Me fame, had plenty of trust from their dog Marley. Marley was devoted, loving, and loyal ? all the things we expect in a family dog, but Marley was out of control and didn't obey commands. When your dog leaves you and your family sitting at an outdoor café to go chase another dog, that is pretty clear proof that your dog does not respect you. I recently handled a case where a very fearful dog respected and obeyed his handlers, but did not trust them to protect him from traumatic events like thunder and lightning. In both of those cases, the human owners were frustrated, and the dogs' behavior unpredictable.
We often neglect to remember that trust and respect go both ways. If we don't trust our dogs, how can they trust us? If we don't respect our dogs, and honor their animal natures, how can we expect them to respect us in return? Nothing in a human-dog relationship is a one-way street.
You cannot be an effective leader if you do not achieve mutual trust and respect from your followers, no matter what species they inhabit. But trust and respect aren't only the ingredients of good leadership. They are also the essential qualities of any loving relationship. For most humans, it's very important for us to feel that our dogs love us. We must remember that trust and respect are the backbone of love.