My little guy turned psycho!
Ok, so Dexter is 6 months old and there's nothing, but nothing, he loves more than his flirt pole that I made with a fishing rod and a piece of leather from a sofa that the 4 year old WGSD literally ate when he was a puppy. I can't take responsibility for the sofa because I wasn't around at the time.
Anyway, I love that Dex adores and gets worn out by the pole. And he's very good at sitting and waiting for the go-ahead, then he does drop and wait, but there's a bit of hesitation on the drop. He's getting better. But now the problem comes before and after our sessions. When he sees me go to the closet to get it out, he starts sounding like a demented chimp on crack. It's difficult getting him to sit and wait for me to start outside. We're working on that.
The bigger issue for me came today after we played. This is what I do. When we're done, I say "done, done" and either grab the leather off of the ground or, sometimes, I'll let him hold it as we walk to the house. Honestly, I'm sort of more comfortable letting him hold it because I have this image of him grabbing it from my hand and taking a finger. He's not mouthy at all, but this could be an accident waiting to happen.
Today I let him carry it as I hung onto the pole, but when it came time to go in, the little devil wouldn't release it. I tried everything, even the little trick that works on mortal dogs, you know, the one where you open their mouths by wrapping their upper lips around their teeth. He had a death grip on the thing. We were out there maybe 10 minutes or so. I was so frustrated and trying to keep cool, which wasn't a great success. I tried throwing a ball, but nothing. I even dragged him with his iron grip, and his dead weight at around 60-something pounds nearly wore me out. I kept thinking how silly this was, but I didn't know what to do. I think I wore him out because he finally let go.
In retrospect, I wonder if I had a treat to trade him, if that might have worked. I'll try that next time. Any other ideas? Oh, and he's really good at "drop." He'll drop a steak before he'll drop that flirt pole leather.