We took a bike ride over to the local park, where I successfully got him to chase the rope/bone! I even trusted him enough (there were no other dogs present, the park was practically deserted, and he was FOCUSED) to drop the leash, still attached to his harness, and really give him some good throws to chase. He ran after it as fast as his little legs could go, which is pretty darn fast! We worked on basic obedience using the tosses as a reward interspersed with treats: come, front, sit, down, settle, heel, with me L&R, spin L&R, high-five, shake both hands, boing, and roll over. He even switched happily from treats to toy!
I even got him to "bring it" at the end, by putting it on the ground, and slowly pulling him away. I would let him get his mouth around it, then gently pull; if he dropped it, he got to go back for it and try again. He did successfully figure out eventually that if he just put his mouth around the bone and carried the darn thing, everyone was happy! I was delighted. :)
There was a moment when someone a good distance away (maybe 50 feet?) was jogging by with their dog. I was able to redirect Dolce with the tug rope/bone! He didn't really do anything, but he was VERY focused on the intruding canine. He happily re-engaged with the me and the toy with no effort. I just presented it in froth of his face, and he turned right around for a good toss in the opposite direction. I am THRILLED. I would much rather use a toy to redirect his reactivity if I can, and I think I have found the ticket!
Now, if I could just get him to bring it back and not have to walk over to him every time... Alas, that's for another day. =P
Here's a pic of the park from the city's website: