Friday, November 9, 2007

Couper Goes To Kindergarten - Homework Week 3

With all of Couper’s new commands from Kindergarten, we decided to try to figure out all the words he knows. If you consult dog books, they will tell you that dogs do not understand English (please do not actually consult dog books to verify or debunk this). I agree to a certain extent. If you put an infinite number of dachshunds at an infinite number of typewriters, none of them are going to write “Hamlet”. Not even with typos. I can put a copy of “A Tale of Two Cities” in front of Couper and he is more likely to chew it than read it. If I sit down with him and watch “Green Acres”, he may laugh at Mrs. Douglass’ hotcakes or Mr. Douglass’ broken-down tractor. However, unlike you or me, he will not fully understand the underlying sociological dynamics between Mr. and Mrs. Douglass, or Mr. Haney as the personification of post-war capitalism, or the allegorical use of Arnold the Pig as a Christ figure. He just thinks it's a silly sitcom. On the other hand, say, “Couper, nighty-night!”, and he knows immediately to run into the bedroom, jump in the bed, and take up as much bed space as a twelve pound dog possibly can.

So the following is a list (incomplete) of words that Couper knows. All words will follow this format:

Word as Couper knows it: (English translation as necessary) (Example as necessary) - Other blathering.

Mommy: (Couper’s Mommy) (Example: Couper’s Mommy comes home: “Couper, Is that your mommy???” wag wag wag ruff ruff ruff!!!)

Big Buddy: (Big Buddy) (Example: Big Buddy says something he thinks is clever. Couper’s Mommy says, “Couper, go bite your Big Buddy”. Couper does not bite, but does look at his Big Buddy like, "next time...".)

He knows both his parents by our handles. I have no idea if he knows us by our real names.

Gramma: (Gramma Buddy or Gramma Mommy) (Example: “Couper, your gramma is coming to visit) – We are not sure if he knows which gramma when we say gramma. Maybe he is expecting one and gets the other? Who knows. When I tell him that I am going to pick up Gramma Buddy, he gets excited thinking that we are both going. He does not understand "I" means me, not him. I guess pronouns are 1st grade. When I leave without him, I get in trouble.

Sammie: (Sammie - Couper's cousin) (Example: “Couper, where’s Sammie” – he will go find her) - Though officially not a person, she is probably the only dog he knows by name. I am not creating a category for just one entry.

He knows some other family members by name. To respect their dignity, I will not name them. With almost anybody though, we can say, “{whoever} is coming to visit you, Couper” and he does a big tail wag. The second they come to the door, they get immediately and aggressively barked at.

Sammie update: She is going home on Saturday. She has gotten brave in her last few days here. She takes Couper's toys while Couper and I are playing with them. We expect Couper to attack to get them back, but he generally just sits there and looks at Sammie, then at me, then at Sammie, then at me. I think he is saying, "Big Buddy! You think you're all in charge now, what with the Kindergarten and the 'Sit' and all that. Do something, would you!". I would, but I am too scared of Sammie. So, I find another toy. We're going to miss Sammie.

Yummy: (treat) (Example: “Thank you for pooping, Couper. Let’s go get a yummy” – he will
sprint to the door - no yummies for pooping inside - sit on his “yummy mat” in the kitchen, and wait for his treat).

Chicken: (Chicken Jerky treats) (Example: “Couper, come get your din-din. Big Buddy put some chicken in it”. – somehow, hearing this makes him 60% more likely to sprint in for dinner). Chicken is the yummiest of all yummies. At $25 a pound, it ought to be. I am not sure that I have ever eaten anything that cost $25/lb. Possibly never will. Even with rampant inflation. My dog does. Every day.

In the named yummy category, he also knows “ice cream” (freeze dried doggy ice cream – yes, there is such a thing) and he may also know “Liver Biscotti”, and “biscuit”. Not that those are his only yummies, not by a long shot, but those are favorites.

He has a rubber chicken toy that we also call Chicken (or sometimes Mr. Chicken). He
somehow distinguishes between the toy and the treat. Someday, I am going to apply for a $2.5M grant from the government to study this phenomena. Not solve it. Just take $2.5M to study it.

Din-din: (dinner) (Example: "Couper, din-din. Your mommy put chicken in it" - seems we have to do that a lot. He isn't spoiled or anything). - I am not sure if he understands breakfast. He is much more likely to skip breakfast than din-din. Maybe it is because we have not come up
with a baby-talk word for breakfast. break-break??? Maybe it is because I often sleep through his breakfast and have no idea what goes on at that time.

Cheese: (cheese - the dairy product). The yummiest of human yummies. In cheese is the only way that we can give him his Puppy Prozac. He hates Puppy Prozac. But, say "cheese" (not like the photographers want us to) and watch the tail go nuts.

Bodily Functions
Wee-Wee: (#1)

: (#2)

: (#1 and/or #2) – This one makes no sense, really, as he Poopies or wee wees outside (usually), not in an actual potty (never). But he goes along with it.

Get the Rock/Bush: (#1 on the selected item) ("Couper, get the rock") - It is amazing how well this works before we are going somewhere and want him to go wee-wee. On the other hand, we never say, "Couper, get the tire", and he goes wee-wee on our car tires in the same situation all the time. Looks like another $2.5M grant for Big Buddy.


Outside: Inside and outside are what you think they are.


: (Human bed or Couper's kennel) ("Couper, go to bed") He knows the difference in this one too. At night, or at human nap time, he goes to the human bed. When we are leaving to go out, he has been very good about going to his kennel. In exchange for the right yummy of course.

Nighty-night: (go to bed) ("Couper, mommy's tired. Let's go nighty-night") - One of Couper's favorites, because it ensures that he is going to the human bed and gets to cuddle. He also knows Nap in the same context.

Bath: (bath) ("Couper, you stink. Time for a bath") - At right, an actual picture of him the last time we said "Couper, want a bath". Other times, he hides under the bed. Obviously, baths are not one of his favorites. I guess when an event evokes those kind of reactions, even a dog remembers the name for it. If we ever need to have Couper lie down in Kindergarten, maybe we should use "Bath" instead of whatever word they teach us (that I won't remember anyhow).

Mr. Hiney: (A Cuz - pictured right) - I have lost count of how many of these and what colors
and varieties he has. Let's just say it is more than are pictured. It is his favorite toy because it is easy to catch, bounces funny, and squeaks. At least some squeak. Some have been squeaked out. Those are the ones we let him take nighty-night when we are thinking straight. It was named Mr. Hiney because it looks like a hiney with feet. Doesn't it?

Mr. Frisky: (Unexplainable squeaky toy). - This toy squeaks too
much and is never allowed in for nighty-night.

Ball: (Ball)

I am sure he knows more toy names (Quacky the Duck, Snappy the Turtle?), but we have time and space limitations. Someday, I should do a post on all his toys, past and present.


Go: (go) - I am not sure if he knows or cares what the context is. I think to him it just means there is movement, which to him is often good. When we "go" to the vet, it is good. When we get there, it is not.

Down:(get off that chair) - There are a couple of chairs in the house that he is not allowed on. Down actually works. I hope that gets taught in Kindergarten. Since he knows it, I am guessing it won't be.

Couper’s Names
Little Buddy, (Mommy’s lil’) Noop
Dog, Mr. Mischief, Mr. Curious, Mr. Silly, Couper Knute, … : (Couper) - He responds to all these. Just not when he is in Kindergarten.

That got to be a longer project than I had hoped for. I am sure there are many words that should be included that are not coming to mind. (Note that none of his Kindergarten commands are included. I don't think he knows them). I think I need my $2.5M government grant to continue.

No comments: