You might be tempted to think of dog training as merely a necessary step between acquiring your dog and enjoying your pet’s company. This would be a mistake, though. If you take the time to educate yourself on the process, you can make dog training just as enjoyable and rewarding as the dog-owning years that follow it. Read on to pick up some helpful tips to improve your dog-training skills.

If you want to have a well behaved dog, make sure that you are filling their most basic needs. They need to have water, food, shelter and love. These are essential to a happy and healthy pet, and only then will they want to or have the energy to let you tell them what to do.

When giving commands to your dog, never come down to their level. Maintaining eye contact and a fully erect, dominant stance imparts control to the dog. Your dog will be receptive to commands given from this posture much easier than a crouching owner who is seen as an equal or playmate.

To help potty train puppies, consider using a crate. Crate training may sound unpleasant, but it’s actually one of the most natural ways to train puppies. A crate is considered their home or den, and puppies have an instinct not to soil in this space. Just be sure to limit the time spent in the crate, so your pup can spend time with you too.

Always keep fresh water available to your dog when he is being trained using a crate. One way to do this without making a mess is to furnish the crate with a rabbit water bottle. Just attach it to the outside of the crate with the tip sticking inside. Your dog will quickly learn to drink from it.

When training your dog to walk on a leash, remember that your dog should follow where you lead, not the other way around. Dogs are pack animals, and the leader of the pack always travels in front. You want your dog to see you as the leader, so they need to learn to walk behind you.

Avoid saying ‘no’ during dog training. If you are training a pet, find a positive way to reward them. Telling them “no” does not help them know how to react to you. Tailor dog training to suit the dog and the situation.

One tip to keep in mind when training your dog, is to be sure to never discipline your dog for bad behavior when he is ill. This will only confuse your dog and might cause him to not respond to discipline in the future. Examples of this would be, if your dog vomits or defecates in a manner that is not typical to his normal behavior.

These tips are just a few of the ways you can make dog training more enjoyable and fulfilling for you and your pooch. You should not consider the training process as a separate phase from your overall dog-owning experience; when you do it well, training can be just as rewarding as any other time spent with your dog.