Oops Playing the yoyo game

Some handlers have unintentionally taught their dogs, or vice versa, what we call the yo-yo game. The scenario goes something like this:

1. Buddy is on a Sit-Stay with his handler standing 30 feet away.

2. Buddy lies down, and the handler approaches to reinforce the Stay.

3. Buddy sits up by himself, and the handler retreats.

This scenario can, and often does, deteriorate into the yo-yo game. Buddy lies down, the handler approaches, Buddy sits up, and the handler retreats, with Buddy not having learned a blessed thing — except perhaps how many times he can play the game.

Moral of the story? When you make a move — any move — to reinforce a command — any command — you must follow through, even if Buddy corrects himself before you've had a chance to reinforce the command. But always do it with a smile.

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