Friday, October 26, 2007

Couper Goes To Kindergarten - The Homework

At the end of class last Saturday, we were assigned 20 minutes of homework a day to do with our dog. As far as we could understand, we were supposed to do the class activities (see Kindergarten - Week 1) at home with Couper. It was only twenty minutes a day because we were told that is a dog's entire attention span for one day. That was shocking. We had no idea it was that long.

I assume when Ms. Puppyteacher told us to do 20 minutes a day every day, she really meant 10 minutes a day every other day. That we actually did about 15 minutes a day most days should put us ahead of the game. Right? Maybe?? Probably not. At least that is what I am going with. We sure can't use the "dog ate our homework" excuse. The whole homework assignment involves him eating.

We were also told that we should not do the homework only in one spot, so that the dog understands that these rules apply anywhere, not just the "homework spot". So we moved the homework to different rooms of the house each time. I am guessing she really meant do homework one time inside the house, another in the yard, another at the park, another at Gramma Buddy's, and so on. That seemed like way too much work for us. It was all we could do to figure out what room to use next. And we really only have five viable rooms (the garage and laundry room are out, I don't care what rules we violate). I am now sensing we are going to be in real trouble.

So, we did homework as best as we could understand, as often as we could, in as many places as we could create. How did we do? Couper responded to Couper's Mommy as if he had been her trained show dog all his life. He responded to Big Buddy almost as if we never met. Couper's Mommy says, "Couper", Couper looks his mommy right in the eyes and gets a yummy. Big Buddy says, "Couper", and he might as well be wearing noise canceling headphones. Nothing. To be fair, my calling, "Little Buddy", my name for him, sometimes got me a glance, but we were told to use his proper Christian name when training him. (For the record, he has had 3 official names, one for each household he has lived, and numerous "pet" names. Sometimes he responds to "Stinky". Maybe I should go with that).

So, I am way behind the eight ball here. There is now no doubt that I am going to fail Kindergarten and be served a restraining order to keep away from my Little Buddy. So I tried the only thing I had left. At the end of class last Saturday we were told that we should absolutely never teach our dog to "shake" or "high five". Well, we weren't just told that. Ms. Puppyteacher went into a 5 minute diatribe about it, complete with pictures, charts, and foot-stomping. Why not shake? No idea. Wasn't listening. I got the overall point after the first sentence. So I tried the only thing I had left; the only noble thing to do. I tried to bribe Couper's Mommy to go down with the ship with me. I offered her $5 cold hard cash, if she tells Ms. Puppyteacher the following: "We did exactly as you told us. We worked with him every day. We used every technique you taught us. It was a gigantic struggle. And finally, on Friday night we had success; he finally was able to high five!!!". Couper's Mommy's response: "No Deal!". $7.50? "No Deal!!". $10? "No Deal!!!". I'm not made of money, so it ended there.

So, tomorrow we go in with what we've got. No stories, no lies. Just a stubborn dog who ate my homework.

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