Train your dog while multitasking

Dog trainers are often asked how owners can find time in their busy days to train their dog.  The second question that comes up is how often and how long to train their dog.  That was addressed in an earlier article, “Auto train your dog.” The purpose of this article will be to discuss the first question.

Multitasking on subway

But first, while riding the subway in Singapore recently, I was amazed by the number of people accessing their smart phones, iPads and other tablets to pass the commute time away.  All were engrossed by their portable devices, whether it was to read/respond to email, interact with Facebook, watch movies or play various games such as Solitaire. Many of them were switching back and forth on their devices amongst programs and carrying on conversations with companions. And, it’s a similar sight in other large cities, as I have noticed the same behavior on the New York subway as well as the “People Mover” mono-rail in Detroit, Michigan.

They are multitasking to not only accomplish tasks but also as a pleasurable way to pass the time during the routine commute. There are many business articles about the pros and cons of multitasking in today’s world as well as suggestions how to multitask more efficiently. Multitasking isn’t just for the business traveler.  It can also work in the dog world.

The original question presents the belief that there is a limited amount of time in a day to train the family pet. I say “belief” because we all make decisions about what gets our attention throughout the day. Despite this, there are real-time struggles of working at one or more jobs, raising a family, taking care of extended family members, and managing other commitments.  Thus, the time element is a real problem that needs to be better managed. One has the option of either eliminating one or more commitments to fit in some daily dog training or one can use multitasking to train the family dog.

Once the dog has learned basic commands such as sit, come, heel, place and sit/stay and or down/stay, multitask training can begin. Look for opportunities to train your dog while completing other responsibilities.  Some of these may include your dog:

  • maintaining a down stay while you brush your teeth
  • remaining on “place” while you attend to your human baby
  • walking beside you in a heel position while you retrieve mail from the mailbox
  • coming to you in the back yard for a quick game of fetch while you weed the garden
  • practicing a sit stay inside the family car while you load items into or out of the vehicle

With practice, you will soon be able to train your dog through multitasking as easily as the subway commuters are able to multitask with ease.  What other ways have you come up with to train your dog via multitasking?

If you need help teaching your dog basic dog obedience commands so you can begin multitasking and auto training your dog, contact the Michigan Dog Trainer.

About Michael Burkey

Michael Burkey is a professional dog trainer, behaviorist and owner of, a highly successful dog training company whose aim is to promote peaceful relationships between pets and families. Additionally, he is an expert trial witness, certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC), former Police K9 Handler, Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 Training Director and SAR K9 Handler, obedience and rally competitor and social worker. Dog training is a complex science and art requiring knowledge of behavioral science and learning. You can rely on Michael's experience, teaching methods, and integrity. He can be contacted at or 734-634-4152.
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