Welcome to Dawson’s Corner

Observations from the Dog Side

Dawson Huntley, CEO of the Abolish the Crate FederationPeople say they wonder what their dogs are up to while they’re away and I’m no different. Granted, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it but just the other day I came across some information that surprised me.

Many of you know I train my dogs to compete in agility. Grady has been competing for a few years now and Dawson is continuing to learn stuff so he can eventually compete. Both of them love training and have a good work ethic. And both of them hate to miss out on any fun that the other one might be having. Dawson, in particular, really hates to miss anything.

How do I know this? Because there was a long, long, long period of time when Dawson would bark in his crate while I trained Grady (or some other dog). And not just your average, run-of-the-mill barking. Oh no. What good would that do? Dawson’s bark is L-O-U-D loud with a pitch that is as irritating as nails on a chalkboard. Insistent and impossible to ignore, Dawson’s bark could make a grown man cry. For the longest time nothing could silence him although I am pleased to report that lately he has been very good in his crate. Perhaps Dawson has accepted his fate, I thought.

I was wrong.

Apparently, Dawson has started a movement. It’s called Abolish the Crate Federation and it is very popular among our canine companions.

I knew Dawson wasn’t thrilled about being crated during agility training but I really had no idea how strongly he felt about it. I found organizational documents, personal correspondence, fund raising ideas, minutes from board meetings, and so forth. Since Dawson has such strong opinions, I’ve decided to give him his own blog to express himself.

Welcome to, “Dawson’s Corner, observations from the dog-side.”

Dawson’s Corner

Reflections From The Birthday Boy

 

April 22, 2018

Dear Friends, Family, Fans and Abolish the Crate Federation Members,

Today I turn 4 years old and I thought I would share my thoughts about my past year.  Grady says it is good to take time to reflect upon one’s past so you can set goals for the upcoming year.  I had never really thought about it but it seems like a reasonable idea so here it goes.  Plus, I’ve never known Grady to give bad advice.

read more…

Treat Philosophy by Grady Buford Huntley

Dear Abolish the Crate Federation Members,

Grady has a message that he would like to share with all of you.  I believe his Treat Philosophy would be helpful so please read carefully.  I am currently working on “focus games” with my Mom which is surprisingly taking up a considerable amount of time but I hope to be blogging again soon.  In the meantime, remember to keep the faith and no barking in the crate.  That only serves to weaken our cause.

Sincerely,
Dawson Earnest Huntley,
President & CEO
Abolish the Crate Federation

Treat Philosophy by Grady Buford Huntley

As many of you know, I am a lover of all things food, particularly treats. You might even call me a K-9 treat foodie, but I wish you wouldn’t.  Here’s why. The dictionary defines a foodie as, “a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.”  While I undoubtably fall into that category, my “interest” in food is so much more than the average foodie (which is why I was the first to earn a PhD in Treat Management!). And, “treat foodie” sounds weird so I’d just as soon not have the term associated with my good name, thank you very much.

read more…

Grady and Dawson’s Holiday Stress Busters

Grady and Dawson’s Holiday Stress Busters

Dear Abolish the Crate Federation Members, friends and family,

Santa is coming and for some of our humans, that seems to be a particularly stressful event.  I’m not sure why.  From what I’ve heard about Santa, he seems to be a decent, generous guy who enjoys a cookie or two.  And, I have a difficult time understanding why anyone who has thumbs complains of feeling stressed out.  You can do anything if you have thumbs! What I would do if I had thumbs, even for a day.  I get very excited just thinking about it!
read more…

A Holiday Feast for Dogs

Dear Abolish the Crate Federation Members,

Good news!  Grady has agreed to write the blog for this entry so long as he could address an issue which has recently caught his attention.  I will tell you we have had many conversations about it.  While initially I was unimpressed with Grady’s viewpoint, over time I have come to agree with his position. I caution you that his ideas, if accepted, would dramatically change the status quo.

Please keep an open mind as you read his blog.

Sincerely,

Dawson Earnest Huntley
President & CEO
Abolish the Crate Federation

A Holiday Feast for Dogs

An opinion piece by Grady Buford Huntley

Dear Readers,

Just the other day I overheard my Mom talking with family members about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  From her conversation I surmised that there was a feast involved which involved delicious food and some turkey (On a side note. It was the word turkey that caught my attention.  Honestly, while on the phone Mom could talk forever about much of nothing so I was surprised she said something of interest).  Apparently, this feast only happens once a year and is very much anticipated by all those involved in celebrating Thanksgiving.  It got me thinking, why don’t dogs get holiday food too?  Who among us wouldn’t love a feast? read more…

A Whirlwind Year!

 

April 22, 2017

Dear family, friends, fans, and Abolish the Crate Federation members,

Thank-you very much for all of your birthday wishes! I celebrated with a delicious peanut butter flavored cake, lots of playing with Grady, some Nose Work, cuddling with Mom and several naps (it rained all day so I was stuck inside).  Overall, it was a great day!

read more…

Making the Case for Freestyle Agility

February 23, 2017

Subject: A Case for Freestyle Agility

Dear Abolish the Crate Federation Members,

Today I am deviating from my “Trust Me Series” to present something that is very important to me and which I believe can change the agility world.  Your attention to this is most appreciated.

read more…

Trust Me Series: The Importance of a Fast Recall

 

 

February 8, 2017

Dear Abolish the Crate Federation Members,

Today’s topic is considered by many humans to be the gold standard in good dog behavior.  It is, “coming when called” (hereafter referred to as the recall).  Now you may be wondering what the point of a good recall is and I will tell you.  Remember our goal of abolishing the crate?  Getting your human to trust you in as many circumstances as possible is vital toward obtaining our objective.  For reasons I cannot fathom, humans love a fast recall from their dogs.  I believe it is something we should capitalize on especially since it requires virtually no training on our part.

read more…

Squirrel vs. Tennis Ball

 

 

January 20, 2017

Dear Abolish the Crate Federation Members,

Today I have a special treat for you! Not that kind of treat (sorry, poor choice of words).  Grady requested to be a guest blogger and he has chosen a topic that is thought provoking if not controversial.  I’m completely swamped with training this week so Grady’s offer came at a good time.

I hope you enjoy his writing.

Until next week,

Dawson Ernest Huntley
President & CEO
Abolish the Crate Federation

read more…

Trust Me Series: The Art of Tugging

 
Tugging is one of those opportunities to show our person we can be trusted, no matter how excited we get. Almost everyone I know loves to tug but very few humans seem to understand what makes a good tugger.  Today, I’ll cover the basics of tugging and hopefully the word will spread.  Remember, my canine friends, humans do what gets reinforced so be consistent in your response to their behavior.  It is truly the only way change takes place.  Research shows the more positive experiences our person has with us, the less likely they will make us spend time in a crate!

read more…

AtCF Open Letter to Members

January 4, 2017

Dear Abolish the Crate Federation Members,

It has come to my attention that many members are having a difficult time convincing their persons that there is no need to be crated.  As you well know, crates have existed for many, many years and have served to help humans “manage” their dogs. That’s a difficult mind-set to change. Consequently, the burden is on canines everywhere to persuade our persons that crating is unnecessary.

How does one accomplish this?  By instilling in your person the utmost trust in your behavior. Your good behavior has to be consistent so that if your person is a gambler, they’d bet on you. The relationship becomes one of quid pro quo. That’s the secret, pure and simple.

There are numerous ways to do this and I will be writing regular blogs discussing each way (the Trust Me Series).  I will be covering topics that are of great importance to our persons and if you follow my advice, crate freedom will be minutes away.

Like all good trainers know, lessons are best learned when they are brief so these blogs will be short and sweet.  Furthermore, there will no longer be any confusion about what behaviors are appreciated and valued by your person.  I also believe if you play your cards right, you might also end up getting a treat!

There you have it.  Chapter and verse.

Sincerely,
Dawson Earnest Huntley
President & CEO
Abolish the Crate Federation

Dawson gets a blog

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