Brut ran around the yard with it a couple of times then I let him settle down. I threw a treat to the side. No go. That's when Brut must have noticed the fistful of treats I had and began to walk over to me, leaving the squirrel. I was in complete shock. Brut WILLINGLY abandoned his prize possession and let me cover his catch without trying to stop me. I was flabbergasted.
I grabbed him by the collar, not sure of my next move. The rest of the troops had witnessed what happened and were waiting at the door. I usually put Brut in the house at this point in order to take the little critter to the squirrel cemetery at the woods across the street, but I was also trying to avoid a fight with the rest of the Back Dogs right at the door. So I took a chance with Brut right there and quickly scoop his find into the bucket. I have been working on Brut's possessiveness by claiming his star items as "Mine" and thumping them against my chest. So I claimed the bucket as "Mine" and proceed with the rest of the funeral arrangements.
When I got back, Brut was sniffing the spot where the squirrel had been, I stood on the spot and claimed "Mine" then made him sit and lay down. Click and reward. By then another squirrel had caught his attention and I let the rest of the dogs out. I didn't let Brut guard The Spot, I took it. Then made him lay down again. I kept his interest, while keeping an eye on the other dogs. There were no fights, not even a hint of starting one. I couldn't believe my eyes.
Today's operation last maybe ten minutes with about a twenty minute follow up when the other dogs were brought in. Usually I'm a nervous wreck because I'm in fear of the dogs eating their prey. Brut usually runs with his catch at every step I take and I will have to start over trying to get close to him. This was simple and clean cut. If that's all it takes is a fistful of treats to make him leave the squirrel so easy, than so be it. I'll take it. It was such a great positive experience with Brut and all the dogs that I feel ready for the next time. Since the squirrels are busy packing for winter, there will be plenty of them next times.
I'm watching you!