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

Since my last blog about Jones’ working toward becoming, “a good boy,” I have had many inquires about his recent progress. It seems there are many dogs out there with youngsters to contend with. Please know that I understand what you are going through and that you have my heartfelt sympathy. It is exhausting.

Overall, I would say Jones is making great progress. He has moments of relapse, but don’t we all? Why, just last week, I got very frustrated waiting in the crate so I tore up the tape that was on the crate door – shredded the heck out of it. Mom was not happy with me at all. If I was being honest, once I started shredding the tape I just couldn’t stop. Sometimes it’s just too hard to reign in it.

a strawberry blonde golden retriever sits inside a black wire dog crate, looking sheepish over the fact that there is yellow tape that he has shredded all over the floor of the crate

Jones has shown improvement in waiting his turn to go outside, waiting his turn in the crate, sitting patiently while watching me eat my food and going in and out of his crate on cue (many thanks to Susan Garrett and her Crate Games!). Jones does need help not stealing Mom’s sneakers or throw pillows. And, there is one area that I fear he will never master and that is playing with me calmly.

In my opinion, Jones fails to understand the nuances of good play. There’s the ebb and flow, the give and take, and the ability to respond appropriately to the accepted invitation to play as well as the declined invitation to play. Like I’m constantly reminding Jones, good play is a joint effort. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Here you can see Jones’ attempt to invite me to play.

Many of you seasoned players will agree that there are several faux pas in Jones’ behaviors. I’ve taken the liberty of listing them and giving Jones a score based on 1 to 10. Oddly, Jones was really pleased with his scores. I’m not quite sure he understands the 1 to 10 scoring system.

The play bow – If Jones did one it was too quick to see. Everyone knows a solid play bow is fundamental to good play so not having one is concerning. I gave Jones a score of 1. (I don’t believe in giving zeros because it’s demotivating).

Body low to the ground – Jones couldn’t get any lower to the ground so I know he’s desperately trying. Low to the ground signals to the other dog that there’s no threat here and that the inviter is calm enough to play. The problem is that although Jones is low to the ground, his body is not relaxed for easy play. I gave him a 9 for trying and a 4 for body language for an average score of 6.5.

The spin – Completely inappropriate and a common mistake in adolescent dogs. But, the turn is tight and is rather impressive so I gave him a score of 3. (This is a gift. We all know spins should be displayed in other settings).

There you have it. Chapter and verse.

Dawson Earnest Huntley, LLGH
President & CEO
Abolish The Crate Federation


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