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Shut Your Mouth Please (24 Days…)

I can clearly remember complaining about his desire to announce his presence to other dogs and people when we arrive someplace new, or occasionally when we are out walking. Just a couple short barks to let them know Rugby is present. I tried having him hold something when I could see him thinking about it, BUT he can still bark with stuff in his mouth (go figure). I then started using his leave it command and with every bark turning in the other direction and walking away untill he was quiet and then going back. It was only slightly successful (and I looked pretty stupid walking in circles lol).
The last two weeks or so I have started making him hold the handle end of the leash when a distraction presented itself (so I am left holding the leash somewhere in the middle and both ends are connected to Rugby) and doing a series of sits, drops, about turns all while holding the leash. The first time we did this he was sure he had to spit the leash out to lay down, but I helped him to be open minded about the idea. The first session ended with him just staring at me and forgetting all about what it was he was so wrapped up it before. I took this as a success and repeated this process a couple of times since then.
TODAY I saw this fat chihuahua across the street before Rugby did so I gave him the handle end of the leash and we kept walking. When he saw the dog, he looked and gawked but all he did was grumble a bit, and then keep going. NO BARKING! It was amazing.
We also met a very cute Maltese puppy on our walk. Her name was Sugar and she wanted to come home with us.
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