The dog and I have a system worked out.
During the last five minutes of our walks, he picks up a stick and carries it home. Once home, he trades it to me for a treat. I then take the stick away from him and put it on top of our fridge (eventually it goes back outside or gets thrown away). I have seen this dog assume that we were on the last five minutes and wind up carrying a stick for a good 20 minutes or so, totally determined to get it home; I’ve also seen him scramble as we got closer to home and quickly grab a ridiculously oversized stick because that was the only one he could get to.
Anyway, this is all pretty awesome. It started out as a once in a while thing, then slowly it became only at the end of our evening walks. Now he’s doing it at least twice a day; I wouldn’t be surprised if we were up to three or four times a day by next week. Perfectly ok by me. I like having a dog with a working understanding of capitalism.