The class was again pretty much a review. We worked on Touch cue discrimination: touch the target when I say touch, don't touch it when I don't ask you to. Then we worked on Leave It. This was our shining moment... or so I hoped.
You all know how crazy food driven Zenzi is. She works for kibble as though it's filet minon. They had a person holding a JAR of peanut butter. We were to walk up to the person, allow Zenzi to sniff the peanut butter and maybe even get a tiny taste, then walk down a row of 5 cones, spread about 3ft apart. When we got to the first cone and she looked down the row to the peanut butter jar, we were to cue Leave It. When she did so successfully (an immediate and sustained response), we would progress down the line until we got to the 5th cone, closest to the person holding the wide open jar of peanut temptation.
Now, prior to this exercise, Rick would say, as each dog/handler team went before us, "Good luck, Zenzi! You can do it." as though he had serious doubts she would work under such circumstances. I kept saying, "We got this!" I was absolutely 100% confident she would nail the cue every single time, despite the fact that I only had kibble on me, and this friendly trainer had peanut butter of the Gods of Goodness.
Who do you think won this bet?
Well, we walked up to the trainer with the jar, let Zenzi sniff, and she gave a good healthy pull, clearly enticed. We walked away down the line, and she came fairly willingly. We got to the 5th cone, and turned to face the Jar of Temptation (JT). Zenzi zeroed in on JT immediately, and I said, calmly and in a friendly, up-beat, quiet tone, "Leave it." Zenzi's head whipped around to me and she made eye contact. Click and treat (C/T). We did that again to prove it wasn't a fluke, and the other trainer instructed us to move onto the 4th cone. When we arrived, Zenzi was again fixated on JT. I repeated in my quiet, friendly way, "Leave it." Zenzi's response was unchanged and excellent, despite being 3ft closer. We again repeated the exercise, had exactly the same response, and moved to the 3rd cone. Zenzi was starting to catch on to the game, and wouldn't even bother to look. I waited 2.5 seconds and she looked at the JT. I captured that moment to cheerfully and quietly request again, "Leave it." Zenzi's response was again, flawless. We moved to the 2nd cone. Ah, the temptation was so close now, she could practically taste it. With the fixation came my happy cue, "Leave it." and Zenzi complied happily. We did this two more times, the trainers were staring in disbelief (aware of her insane food drive), before progressing to the 1st cone. Zenzi was inches away from the jar at the end of her leash, but not pulling. I gave the "Leave it" cue one last time, to which the response was STILL flawless. I showed off a little bit in this last one, I let her really give it a good long look and sniff from where she was before giving the cue.
Everyone in the class clapped, and I must say with just a touch of pride, no one else went down the line that quickly. ;)