Lead or Follow?

When House Sitting with Dogs, You’ve Got to Choose: Lead or Follow?

Sometimes our house sits come with one or more dogs and sometimes the dogs are a little…challenging. When house sitting with dogs, do you:

  • Accept how the dog behaves because “it’s not my dog”.
  • Correct some behavior, the stuff that bothers you.
  • My pack, my rules. Lead the dog.

Accept the Dog’s Behavior:

Some house sitters accept the way the dog is, a “live and let live attitude.” 

It’s the easiest method but you get out of a relationship what you put into it. While you’ll hang out with the dog, you’re adapting to the dog.  The dog leads.

Dogs who lead are less likely to choose to work with you.  They’ll generally do their own thing, and often, it’s not what you need or want.

Correct Some Behavior:

Some house sitters try to correct the “bad” behavior that’s the most annoying or dangerous.

You’ll hang out, put some effort into the issue and may or may not be successful.

When you provide leadership on a part-time basis, dogs don’t buy into the program.

That means they’re leading, and you’ll have little control of the dog when you need to.


Some house sitters nurture a calm mind, set rules and provide lots of exercise.

A dog with a calm mind, following rules and getting lots of exercise is happier, easier to handle, safer and more fun to be with.

You become a team working together and the dog does listen when you need it to.

Leading Dogs: Build Trust, Have More Fun, Make a Great Friend.

If you’re house sitting with dogs, do you spend time getting to know them? Most house sitters spend very little time building a relationship with the dog yet expect the dog to follow their instructions.  Why should the dog trust you?

As in all relationships, trust is important; this applies especially to dogs.  They trust leaders.

When dogs trust your leadership, they choose to follow.  That means, fewer behavioral issues, and a better house sitting experience because you have more fun.

When we’re house sitting with dogs, we work with purpose to build a relationship with the dog by setting our rules and expectations.

Dog Leadership for House Sitters:

We have created a new course designed by full time house sitters, professional and advanced dog handlers.

We know the challenges when house sitting with dogs and know that new or unknown dogs present issues.

We teach you how to be a leader to stranger dogs. Because dogs want to follow, when you lead, your house sitting experience is more fun.

You Learn:

  • A blueprint for working with new or unknown dogs.
  • How to establish leadership with simple techniques.
  • How to build a foundation of trust with a dog in less than 2 hours.
  • Know what dogs expect from a leader and how to provide it to them.

Can you pet a dog when it’s calm or ask it to sit still before you give it food?  Can you ignore a dog for 5 minutes when you come home?

These simple actions tell a dog a lot about you and your expectations for their behavior. More importantly, you’re acting like a leader in a way that dogs understand.

When you’ve completed our course, you’ll be more confident handling stranger dogs and you’ll understand how to develop a relationship of trust when house sitting with dogs.

Learn more about Dog Leadership for House Sitters here.

About Us:

Ashley Harrison is a professional dog trainer and handler.  She owns Doggie Pile Dog Training, has worked with some of North America’s top “celebrity” trainers and she’s certified in several training methods.

Louise Read and her husband Tim are full-time house sitters with a combined 60+ years handling, training and raising dogs.  We blend a variety of training and handling methods to quickly teach our new furry friends how we want them to behave.