Now that we finally have a dumbbell with us (give me a break here - I was packing a lot of stuff!), Queezle and I are back to working on take/hold. She has the general idea of the retrieve, and will take the dumbbell in her mouth for a split second. Right now I'm trying to expand on that.
Today I realized an easy way for us to practice the retrieve during our daily routine. When I'm trying to read/study, Queezle will inevitably bring out her rubber peppermint toy and drop it on my book. Sooner or later when I throw it for her she knocks it under the couch. It's usually only a few inches under - she could easily reach it but instead of using her paws productively she flails around making a huge din and accomplishing nothing. Then of course she expects me to get the peppermint out for her. So now the deal is - you want the peppermint? Bring me the dumbbell. When she makes her peevish two-year-old noise, I slide the dumbbell a little way across the room, and then she's expected to bring it to me. She figured it out right off, and while she gives me a long-suffering look, she retrieves it! Then I fish out the peppermint and we go back to that game.