I was having a bad day, feeling very depressed and just overwhelmed by everything. I was getting ready to go to my afternoon puppy trainings, cutting up bait. I realized I was pretty early, so I set aside one stack of bait and decided to work with Kaline for ten minutes on opening the door.
It's actually a very easy door that I don't really ask Juno to open, because it doesn't give much resistance. We have other cabinets in the kitchen that you really have to yank to get them open (and I don't yank). Anyway, the ease of opening made it perfect for Kaline.
We started where we left off, with the door magnets already disengaged. Quickly, Kaline understood what he only dimly got the last time—he was being rewarded for getting the door to move using the tug. He did that readily several times in a row, so I let the door close all the way. And he opened it! I made much of him, had a little party for him. And he totally had a lightbulb moment. I'd been feeling crappy about myself as a trainer (I have an absolutely repulsive tendency to mentally compare Kaline's training progress to that of other dogs I know, and it drives me nuts), but now my faith in myself and Kaline is restored!
Here is video:
Even after I stopped the camera and stopped asking Kaline to open, he kept opening the door and then happily nudging it closed. He really likes to close things, which is why we're working on doing it gently. Sometimes he is, shall we say, overzealous.
I'm going to try something new. Each week, I will focus on a different task, and work on it a little every day. We do basic obedience every day, but I have been slacking on tasks other than deep pressure and blocking. Clearly, a quick session every day can accomplish a lot! Kaline got "open" between Saturday and today.
Repeat as mantra: This is not a race. This is not a race. This is not a race.
Slow is fast. Slow is fast. Slow is fast.