Shortly after I posted the review below, I received a (humbling) phone call from Dawson Precision. Turns out I was over-thinking/under-thinking the process.
With a full-length rail/dust cover, remove the slide first and then you can simply push the guide rod up and lock it to remove it. Took all of 5 seconds the first time around.
I only wish I could edit my review below. I should have called them for advice before being so quick to leave an unfavorable review.