A lot of you know, Nero is my service dog. Recently, we have been working a lot more on picking up dropped items and directed retrieves. We have recently had an "issue" come up, though I'm not sure if it's a problem or not.
Nero is very fond of picking up his leash. Of course he is, because this generally means we get to keep moving (or start moving). Now, when two items are on the floor, for example the keys and my phone, "phone" means phone and "keys" means keys. Not a problem. When, let's say the leash is off his collar and just on the floor, "phone" still means phone, "keys" still means keys, and "leash means leash. If the leash is attached to his collar and it is in my hand, "keys" means keys and "phone" means phone. However, when the leash is attached to his collar but it is dropped, "leash" means leash and "keys" means leash, turn around and immediately get the keys. I'm not saying anything when he gives me the leash first, and I am not giving him another direction to take the keys. It's just, on the first command, if his leash is dropped and I tell him to get something other than the leash, he still gets it on the first command, but only after he gives me his leash.
I don't mind him doing this, as it's ONLY with the leash, however I posted this same question elsewhere, and have been getting mixed reviews. Some people have commented that this is a good thing because then I have his leash for safety purposes. Some people say that I should correct this because in an emergency I may need him to bring me my phone quickly. Mind you, he's still getting my phone quite quickly, just after the leash. There's only about a 2 second delay.
Also, keep in mind that if I need him to retrieve anything that is a long distance away from me, it will likely be in a secure area like my home and he won't be on leash, so distance isn't really a factor here.