Lately, I've been wanting him to carry things in his mouth. I'm not sure what got me started on this kick, but it just popped into my head. Since he already knows "take it" I figured I'd see what he'd do if I had him take it and then just start walking. Would he carry it? Would he put it down then follow? Would he just stand there like "uh, what do I do with this?"
Much to my pleasure, he kept it in his mouth and followed, trotting beside me like it was nothing...for a while. He would then drop it and then keep walking like that was right. Whenever he did that, I would have him go get it (he knows that as well) and then carry it again. I would take it from him (cue him to "give") and then let him do his bathroom business, give it back to him and have him carry again.
When we get to the park where we play, I'd cue the give again and then we'd have fun with the toy. Once the play time was over, I'd give him the toy again and he had to carry it until we get back home, and most times, I take a more roundabout route (not just go back where we came). Again, if he gave me his signal that he needs/wants to go potty (he looks at me if we're walking) I'd have him give me the toy, then he can do his business.
If he dropped the toy, he has to get it, even if he needs to go. The toy is his "ticket" to the "bathroom" as well as continuing the walk and any play time.
Doesn't stop there. Once we get near home, I'll ask him to "go porch" and the charges towards the front porch, sits and puts his toy down and waits for me. I'll rub him on the head and open the door. He has to get his toy and hold it before I let him in.
Basically, the toy in his mouth is the ticket for everything else, even going down to get his dinner. I call it a fun job because he's enjoying it. His tail is all up and he's prancing along happily. He's excited and it really seems like something he wants to do. He's getting better as well.
Sometimes I wonder if some of the dropping is his mouth getting tired. Can a dog's mouth get tired and does it happen from just holding something? Seems strange at first, but it could be, especially for his heavier toy. May have to work up to it just like I'd have to work up to carry heavy boxes.
Will be interesting if he gets more into picking up his toys when he wants something after doing this over time. He has taken things he's learned before and run with it in other ways, putting his twists on it. Wonder what, if anything, he'll do with this.