Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Couper Goes To Kindergarten - Week 5

I could start out with some of the same old things this week that I have detailed in previous weeks. Yes, Couper got out of bed lazily with his Big Buddy. No, he did not eat breakfast (however he did not throw up like last week). Yes, he barked on the way to the Petsmart. Yes, he was a pain in the hiney on the way in, barking at everybody and pulling on his leash. However, this week was different. This week was the best week of Kindergarten ever!!!

First, Ms. Puppyteacher was back. This is not to imply that Ms. Puppysub was bad or a problem. It is just that puppies need consistency. More importantly, Big Buddies and Mommies need consistency. The last two weeks have been confusing. Explaining what we have and have not gone over (or more importantly, remembered that we have gone over) and varying philosophies of teaching/training have been dizzying. Hopefully we will just be able to focus on the course from here on out.

Secondly, the Affenpinscher was back and the German Sheppard was absent. This in no way means that we like the Affenpinscher better than the German Sheppard. Nor does it mean that we like the Afenpinscher’s owners better than the German Sheppard’s owner. Nope, this is all about grades, awards, and graduation.

Couper is the only dog to attend all the classes. Since we are not planning on being absent in the future, we should be graded at the top of the curve on attendance. In addition, we should be in line for a Perfect Attendance award. No one has actually said that there is a Perfect Attendance award, but after five grueling weeks, I need incentive to get up early on Saturday mornings. Plus, since nobody has mentioned a Perfect Attendance award, I can only imagine that the award is pretty darn good. Like a box of biscuits or a new car or something. How do I come to this conclusion? Well, if they told you there was an award, everybody would show up every week to get the award. By not telling us there is an award, they assume people will have no incentive to show up every week. Therefore, they can get super-valuable prizes that they figure that they will never have to give out. They did not figure on the Couper family being way ahead of their little game. (I should win an award for such thinking. Since there is no known award for thinking, the prize must be awesome...).

With the Affenpincher’s reemergence, Couper is no longer at the bottom of the class. To be honest, Couper had no chance competing with the German Sheppard. The German Sheppard sits, and lies down, and is calm, and comes, and stays, and drops, and leaves, and does not have to be sprayed five times a class. Couper has no chance against all that. With two puppies in the class, Couper and the German Sheppard, Couper is at the bottom of his class, and probably won’t graduate. However, the Affenpincher can’t even sit if she wanted to, she is too little and fragile. And she doesn’t want to anyway. With her back in the class, Couper is at least in the middle of the class curve (puppy classes are graded on a curve, right? Don’t puppy teachers have to pass at least half their students to keep their certification?). So, it has never looked better for Couper to actually pass this thing! If the German Sheppard has dropped out, Couper is class Valedictorian. Who had that in their office pool five weeks ago?

Side Note: Last week I worried about the Affenpincher’s future as a Kindergarten drop-out. I apologize for jumping to conclusions. However, if my rant (can one sentence be a rant?) can get one puppy back into one Kindergarten, I think it is all worth it.

Week five of Kindergarten was review week. With the German Sheppard out and the Affenpincher way behind, Couper got almost all of the attention. Couper was great. Maybe it was because he loves attention. Maybe it was because we met Ms. Puppyteacher in an aisle before class and he got reacquainted with her. Maybe it was because he did not eat breakfast and would do anything for some food. For the record, we are going with all the homework and training from his Big Buddy and Mommy. We are going to pretend that the great behavior did not shock us. We knew it was there all along (newcomers, please do not read previous blog entries, just take my word for it).

The same teacher who in week one told us “Couper does not understand ‘sit’” told us this week, “Couper no longer needs a treat for sitting. He has that one down.” She taught him to stay by having him sit, then walking with a yummy, to his side and towards his hiney. He stayed. On each side. It was amazing. He came when called. He left things when told. Half way through Couper’s Mommy said to me, “Did we bring our dog?” When he got feisty, he always gets feisty at some point, Ms. Puppyteacher picked him up and held him. She held him for about five minutes. He squirmed at the beginning and a few times in between, but for the most part, he was relaxed and gave puppy kisses. My homework is to pick him up and hold him for 30 minutes a day. This is supposed to show that I am in charge and help him understand that he should pay attention to me every once in a while. At least until he gouges my spleen with his little but strong legs.

At the end of the class, Ms. Puppyteacher asked if we wanted to extend the class a week, because of the absences. We will officially vote next week, but essentially agreed. Had we been thinking, we should have asked for the final right there and then. He would have gotten Valedictorian, we would have gotten our Perfect Attendance award, and we all would have gotten to sleep in next week.

After class, we decided that Couper was so good we should reward him by buying the salmon yummies that we had eyed two weeks ago, but refused to buy because he was a pain in the class. As we went down the yummy aisle, he thanked us back by pooping on the floor.

All in all, this was by far the best week yet. If he keeps this up, I am proudly wearing my “I Love My Weiner” shirt to graduation.

(Administrative Note: With this week being Thanksgiving, and with us having 20 (yes, 20) people over for Thanksgiving, and with last week’s class being a review week, there will likely be no Week 5 Homework entry this week. If Couper does something fun with 20 people over, I may make an entry. Or I may spend the rest of the week wondering why we had 20 people over to begin with).

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