Frankly, I don’t care what you call it. Pack leader, employer, or simply parenting - no matter how you define the relationship to your dog, you will sooner or later be required to provide leadership.
We have brought dogs into our, at times strange and confusing, human world. Our rules are far from obvious to dogs, and behaviours that are normal to dogs are often deemed inappropriate by humans. The only way dogs can learn to live by our rules is if we teach them. It is your responsibility to be a source of safety and support, but also of clear and consistent information. You are the source of all the knowledge your dog needs to successfully navigate in the human world.
To me, leadership is the most valuable gift you can ever give your dog. If you have a nervous or anxious dog, you have the power to be your dog’s source of calmness, which gives your dog the power to be able to go through all the craziness in the world. By consistently providing protection and direction, your presence alone will bring a feeling of calm, comfort and safety. Respect your dog’s needs and limits, and trust that it will make good choices when the circumstances are right. Gain your dog’s trust through consistent, and unconditional support and security. Gain your dog’s respect by creating meaningful consequences for both good and bad behaviour. If your dog is feeling lost or stressed, be there for it, and show your dog how to work through the situation. When you step up and take on the role as your dog's travel guide through the journey of life, your dog will exhibit better behaviour, and will want nothing but to be with you.