Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's from the Poop!

May your 2008 be chock full of Little Buddies.

...and Giving

Added to the list of Dachshund stuff we already have, we got the following:
  • More Dachshund calendars (of course)
  • Dachshund towels
  • Dachshund bank
  • Dachshund cutting board (I'm not kidding)
  • Dachshund note pads
  • More dachshund books
  • Another dachshund stuffed animal
  • Another dachshund figurine
  • Dachshund straw hat
  • Dachshund ring holder (I couldn't make this stuff up)
  • I am sure I inadvertently missed somethings.
Couper's haul:
  • Soccer ball
  • Football - Just like the ones that come over the wall from the neighbor kids that Couper likes to play with. It usually takes me a couple of minutes to get it away from him. So Santa got him his own.
  • Squeaky blanket
  • Dangerous Book for Dogs - I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. However Couper is already well skilled in barking, begging skills, and playing fetch. Thankfully he is too small for crotch sniffing.
  • Turkey Jerky - I can't recommend this strongly enough either.
  • Doggy cookies
  • Peanut butter biscuits
  • Biscuits
We are truly blessed. I know that there are many families out there that got no dachshund merchandise for Christmas. Please keep them in your minds and hearts in 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Poop

Merry Christmas from Couper and all of us at Couper's Poop. May Santa bring you the finest in dachshund presents this Christmas.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

We got Couper in September of 2003 (No, this is not the long rumored “How we got Couper” post). The first major gift-giving holiday for our family after getting Couper was Christmas. Gift-giving holidays are always the toughest. The non-gift giving holidays are easy. For example the Fourth of July, what do you do for that holiday? Buy beer, grill hot dogs, drink beer, watch fireworks. Takes about a minute and a half of planning. Christmas on the other hand takes a minute and a half just to come to the obvious conclusion that you should have started planning in September rather than on December 21. For the record, the gift-giving holidays are: Birthdays, Valentines Day, Easter, Mommy's Day, Big Buddy's Day, Arbor Day, and Christmas. Non-gift giving are: New Years, MLK, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving. You may wish to argue. That's fine. If your family gives gifts on Nixon’s Birthday, more power to you.

It was that first Christmas with Couper that I came to a chilling realization; my Christmas shopping tripled in complexity. I figured out that not only did I add buying presents to give to the Little Buddy, but being the generous puppy that he is, I also had to buy presents that were from the Little Buddy. I have enough trouble shopping on my own. Now I had to get into the head of a little dog who does not communicate much other than, “feed me” and “play with me”, to buy presents from his perspective. Couper and I would have conversations like this:

Big Buddy: {On computer} Couper, what do you want to get your mommy for Christmas?
Couper: {Chews his bone}
Big Buddy: We could get her a nice scarf? What do you think of this one?
Couper: {Finds toy to play with}
Big Buddy: I’m not big on it either. What about this sweater?
Couper: {Hands Big Buddy his toy} Ummmmmm!
Big Buddy: {Throws ball} OK, not that one, how about these gloves? She could wear them while she walks you.
Couper: Fine with me Big Buddy. Can we use your credit card???
Big Buddy: Sure, I guess this time.

(I am guessing he has the same conversation with his mommy too).

As it turns out, what Couper really likes to give as gifts is dachshund merchandise. I wish I could remember the first dachshund item we found. It eventually got buried with the 100s (literally) of others that we have gotten since. Given that I barely knew that dachshunds existed when we got Couper, it amazes me that there is all this dachshund stuff. I have to assume it was there before we got Couper (I mean, we did not start this industry, we just keep it afloat), but I guess I never noticed it. For all I know, there is a lot of Airedale Terrier merchandise. I have no idea. I do not want to find out. For this reason, we can only get dachshunds from here on out. It is all we can afford.

Anyhow, over the years we have found: dachshund shirts, dachshund socks, dachshund hats, dachshund magnets, dachshund pens, dachshund mugs (neither Couper’s Mommy nor I drink coffee, we have over ten dachshund mugs), dachshund figurines, dachshund picture frames, dachshund CD holders, dachshund ornaments (we have a full ornament tree with just dachshund ornaments…most branches are doubled up), dachshund stockings, dachshund gift bags, dachshund calendars, dachshund greeting cards, dachshund postcards, dachshund books (adult and children’s…by adult I mean for readers over 12, not sold in adult book stores, that would be gross), dachshund stuffed animals, dachshund corn holders (head up front, hiney in the two hiney corn cobs, Couper's Mommy won't allow it), dachshund salt and pepper shakers, dachshund pillows, dachshund blankets, dachshund signs, dachshund bumper stickers, and dachshund dog toys. I am sure I missed something. I once got a box of poop bags because it had a dachshund on the box. It was twice as expensive as the poop bags we usually use, but I had to buy it.

It is now impossible for me to walk by a rack of greeting cards without looking for a card with a dachshund on it. It doesn’t even matter if nobody’s birthday is coming up or that we don’t know anybody graduating (for example). I buy them and store them. I have to.

One of my favorite quotes from Couper’s Mommy is, “You know, nothing says that we have to buy every item that has a dachshund on it.” Never was a statement so right and yet so wrong. It is scary walking into a store, seeing four dachshund items, and saying, “got that one, got that one, and that one…”. However, there are enablers. Amazon has a link called “Recommended for you”. You buy one dachshund item, and it recommends others. This has been great for Dachshunds kids books, that Couper gets for his mommy to put in her classroom. There are even sites outside of Amazon like this just for the breed.

The worst moment of dachshund gift giving came on Couper’s Mommy’s birthday a couple of years ago. A couple of days before her birthday, I came to the realization that most of her gifts were dachshund gifts from Couper. Knowing that I had already gotten a couple of dachshund figurines from the Hallmark store earlier, I figured it was safe to go in there and look for candles or picture frames or something like that. As I walked in, there was a display in one of the front aisles that contained not one dachshund figurine, but a series of dachshund figurines. They are called Hot Diggity Dogs and basically are dachshunds dressed up as various things and named with a punny phrase (Cocktail Weiner pictured right). Not only that, but there was a birthday weiner in that collection. I walked out of the store that day with three of these things. I had to go back the next day to get the candle. It gets even more evil. It turns out that there were more than just those that were in the Hallmark store that day. As they got more in, we bought them; until we had the whole set (I think there were eight). End of story? Lord no. A few months later they had a whole new series of Hot Diggity Dogs. They have been having about two new series a year for a couple of years now. They now have mugs, banks, picture holders and Christmas ornaments too. We have just about all of them. When we were looking for houses this summer, we found one that had built in display shelves in the entry hall. Couper’s Mommy said, “We could put our dachshunds in those.” Guess which house we bought? Guess where our Hot Diggity Dogs are?

So, in the end we are a bit out of control. My advice to you: if you make something, anything, put a picture of a dachshund on it. We'll buy it. And I did not mean to imply that we bought all the dachshund stuff we own. (No we didn't steal it, wait for the next sentence will you!). We are very willing recipients of dachshund presents from friends and family. So, are there dachshund things left to give this Christmas? Yes. Somehow. Couper has to have something to give. He never did get his mommy those gloves. Turns out they weren't dachshund gloves.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Couper Goes To Kindergarten - Week 8

Everybody was excited about the last day of Kindergarten. We all got out of bed a little early (yes, five minutes early still counts as early). Whenever one of us said to Couper, “Are we going to Kindergarten today?” he would run to each of us to make sure we were all ready and going. Just like week 1, I was conflicted on what to wear. I wanted to wear my “I love my Weiner” shirt, but I did not want to jinx my Little Buddy. I also knew we were at least going to take pictures with Santa, if not graduation, and did not want to embarrass Couper when he sees those pictures in high school (I also did not want to piss off Santa this close to Christmas…apparently the shirt has some sort of double meaning and Santa supposedly checks his list more than once). I went with the boring blue dachshund-less shirt.

The day once again started with rain. The walk from the parking lot was done quickly and was fairly uneventful, though not exactly barking and pulling free. On the way in, Couper did stop to go #1 on a tree. It was not his last #1 of the trip. We got in the store a bit early. Since Couper was a bit barky, we decided to walk him around with yummy rewards to get him calmed down. He did calm down, but just about every time he walked by a support post in the store, he hiked his hind leg. Not much came out, but he did about 4 or 5 markings. Our guess was that he was either nervous or knew it was his last class and was leaving his legacy. I guess it was Couper’s Senior Day.

For the last week, let’s take attendance. Ms. Puppyteacher – here. Couper – here. Big Buddy – here. Couper’s Mommy – here. That’s it. No affenpinscher. Amazingly, no German Sheppard. It was obvious that Couper was the attendance winner, with perfect attendance no less. However, my dream of a big prize was just that, a dream. I guess if showing up is half of life, it is the half empty glass (mixed metaphors that don’t even make goofy sense – it has been a long eight weeks).

So this week is just a formality and we play games, drink champaigne, and get our graduation certificate, right? Well, that theory looked good when Ms. Puppyteacher opened the classroom cabinet and pulled out a Petsmart Frisbee. It looked less good when she flipped the Frisbee over, showing us the final taped to the back. It was our worst nightmare. I suddenly felt like I was in that dream where you don’t study all year and then realize there is a final and you show up to the final naked. If I did not spend an hour earlier in the morning deciding which shirt to wear, I would have sworn that was the situation. By the way, there is a name for that dream. It is called Junior year. It seems so real…

I still have no idea why the final was on the back of a Frisbee, but there it was. There were about ten items of which we had to do seven. (Ethical note: From this point on, I am going to describe the Petsmart Beginner final. If you have a dog in beginner training, or plan on having a dog in beginner training, or are going to set up a beginner training course yourself, you really should skip the next few paragraphs. I will leave it up to you. Good luck sleeping at night if you cheat for your dog). He did not have to get a treat from the groomer or get weighed by the vet. I am not sure why he did not have to do those. Maybe she liked the groomers and vets working that day and knowing how Couper reacts to strangers, did not want to subject them to him. The third item that we did not have to do was “down”. We had an agreement that we could substitute 10 second stays for “down” since he could/would not do “down”. Stay was already on the list, so it was like eliminating an item.

Item one was the name game. This is where we call his name and he has to make eye contact with us. We had to do this five times in the toy aisle. I am sure Couper’s Mommy was confident, as Couper listens to her, but I was petrified, especially in the toy aisle where he has so many fun distractions. Couper’s Mommy called him first. “Couper”. He looked right at her. We let him wander and then it was my turn. I gulped, “Couper”. He looked right at me. I almost fell on the floor (and would have except I knew he left his legacy somewhere in that aisle earlier). We went back and forth and each time he looked. I am sure the yummies in our hands helped, but that was not breaking the rules. It did kind of make it like an open book test, though. We were one for one on our test items.

Item two was three sits in the toy aisle. This one we were confident about. We knew he could sit for a yummy and he nailed three without sweating. We were two for two.

Item three was a two minute loose leash walk in the fish aisle with 5 stop and sits. As luck had it, the fish aisle was one of the places that we were walking him right after we got in the store to calm him down. However, we had not practiced sits on stops in a while, even with "sit" prompts (which was legal for the test). Ms. Puppyteacher said, “I am guessing he will just sit when you stop.” I replied, “I wouldn’t count on that”. We loose leash walked perfectly to the aisle and then up the aisle. At the end of the aisle, we did our first stop. To make sure he saw me stopping, I did a little stomp before stopping. I stomped, he sat. My jaw almost hit the floor at the same time as his hiney. We walked back down the aisle and I did the same thing. He sat again. He was so good, I am pretty sure we did not do two minutes of walking or 5 stop and sits. Maybe we did. I was pretty much in shock by that point. Three for three.

Item four was come when called. We did this in the back aisle with the cat food. This was another command that Couper’s Mommy was better at than I was. However, we would have to call him back and forth, so I had to be involved. As I had him on the leash, we let him go to his mommy first. “Couper come”. He went right to her and got a yummy. Although we worked well together in the name game, I was sure if I said, “Couper come”, he would at most look at me and stay with his mommy. I gave it a shot. “Couper come”. He looked right at me and immediately trotted over. At this point I was wondering if this was indeed a dream. I was indeed dressed, so I assumed it was indeed not. We had him go back a forth a couple more times than needed, just for the satisfaction of it. One time I got cocky and hid my remaining yummy in the test Frisbee just to see if he would come. He did. This was easy. Four for four.

Item five was our ten second stays. He had been nailing this all week during homework. We were even able to give him a stay command, walk out of the room, and he was staying when we returned. I was fairly confident in this one. So, he nailed this too? Not really. He did fairly well with his mommy and less well with me. We eventually did get three 10 second stays, two with her and one with me. Ms. Puppyteacher was satisfied. “Couper is OK with staying”. Whew. Five for five.

Item six had us all nervous; friendly greetings. We had to find a person in the store to come up to him and have him sit. No matter how well he had done to this point, I figured there was no way he was going to do well with this. In fact, I feared he would bite somebody and get expelled a half hour before the end of the last class (would we have gotten 1/16th of our money back?). We found an employee that he had no biting or growling history with, handed her a yummy, and gave her a warning not to pet him at the end. She came up to Couper. I tensed my grip on his leash. She showed him the yummy and said, “Hi Couper”. He looked up at her. She said, “Couper, sit”. He sat. She gave him the yummy. He took the yummy politely. She stepped back with all 10 fingers. Couper’s Mommy whispered to me, “Is that our dog?” He did the same thing two more times. We were not going to press our luck it any further. The employee stranger ran back to her work and we went on our way. Six for six.

Item seven was three sits at the front entrance. The key to this was distractions. We got to move aside a little bit, so it was kind of in the reptile aisle. There were fewer distractions there, so Couper nailed this as well. Seven for seven. Ms. Puppyteacher asked if we wanted to do the treat with the groomer or the weighing. We were fine without it. The test was over. Couper not only passed, he kicked ass.

We went back to the classroom to get his certificate. Ms. Puppyteacher signed his certificate and took our picture with it. Ms. Puppyteacher picked up Couper to congratulate him and say goodbye. Couper thanked her by farting. It was too late for her to fail her, so no harm done (to us at least...I wouldn't want to be her). We were done. Couper passed Kindergarten. Being the only graduate, Couper was valedictorian. After week four, we would never have guessed this day would come. Couper’s Mommy and I later commented that we had never been so proud of him; and it is not like we aren’t proud of him to begin with…our house is a Couper/dachshund shrine.

So in the end, Couper’s Kindergarten adventure was a little like the classic Simpson’s episode where Bart has to take Santa’s Little Helper to obedience school in order to keep him (Bart’s Dog Gets an F). Santa’s Little Helper is a maniac at the beginning of class:

Bart: Now... Sit!
I said, Sit! [Santa's Little Helper walks away]
Um, take a walk. Sniff that other dog's butt.
See? He does exactly what I tell him.

As Bart is about to lose his failing dog, he plays with him one final time and something in Santa’s Little Helper's head clicks and he understands everything. The next day he passes the class final. Something we did between week 4 and week 5 must have gotten to Couper and he somehow went from a spray bottle target to valedictorian. See, just like the Simpson’s (Except we were never going to lose Couper. And our class was based on treats, not choke chains. And the teacher was not English (Tracey Ullman). And we are not 10 years old and have not remained 10 years old for the last 18 years. And we are not animated characters. And we have more than three fingers and a thumb. And we are not on TV. OK, it is only vaguely like the show. It was the best I could come up with).

Couper becomes the first member of the household to graduate puppy Kindergarten (yes, both Couper’s Mommy and I graduated human Kindergarten). We are very very proud of him and can see a little bit of a difference in how he reacts around the house. The experience was definitely worthwhile. However, we did not take all the mischief out of the dog. As I typed this, and his mommy worked, Couper created the destruction in the picture to the right. He may be all grown up and educated, but deep down he is still the same Little Buddy he always has been.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bee Movie Review

When movie is relevant to Couper, and we have seen it, and we have the time and energy to write about it, we will review said movie. Our first (and only???) movie review: Bee Movie

On a nice late September Sunday afternoon when Couper was a little boop, Couper, Couper’s Mommy, and I were playing outside. In Arizona, late September means temperatures over 100 and dry. When temperatures run hot, we make a pool for Couper using a baby pool from Walmart. He is not crazy about water, but even when little he learned that jumping in a pool and cooling off was a great way to keep playing outside. It is even a very delicious source of drinking water. Apparently water out of a hose that has made contact with one’s hiney is tastier than fresh R.O. water with R.O. ice cubes.

As we found out, when the air dries out in late September, another group that likes the pool water is bees. There would often be one or two buzzing around the pool. Occasionally one would fall in and we would have to scoop it out. We did not like it, but we could not figure out how to get rid of them. On this day, there were a couple zipping in and around the water.

As we were playing that September day, Couper suddenly let out a loud yelp and was furiously rubbing his head on the ground. When we picked him up to see what was wrong, we saw that his left eye was completely swollen shut. It did not take long to figure out that he had been stung in the eye by a bee. We looked up on the internet how to treat this and did what we could. Being late on a Sunday afternoon, vets were not open. As Couper was actually playing and eating, the vet said that he could wait to be seen on Monday. However that night we had to look at him struggle to open his eye as puss flowed from it, wondering if he could see out of it or if he would be able to keep it.

As it turned out he was stung not on the eyelid, or near the eye, but directly on the eyeball. The bee got him before he could even blink. The vet gave him medicine and proved that he could still see. He was able to keep his eye and in a week or two, you would never know that anything happened.

The Bee Movie is an animated tale from Dream Works and Jerry Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld). It centers on Seinfeld’s character Barry who upon graduating bee school finds out that a bee picks a job that it keeps for life. Unsatisfied with his choices, Barry unofficially latches on with the commando squadrons that leave the hive to gather pollen from flowers in the outside world. You know the kind of squadrons that sting poor innocent little dachshunds directly in the eyeball. Don’t wait for that point to be brought up in this movie however.

Over the course of the movie’s 84 minutes Barry befriends a human (Rene Zellweger - The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), learns that humans eat honey, learns that humans make honey in honey farms with captive bees, sues the human race, wins, frees bees, inadvertently kills off all the earth’s plants, decides that’s not so good, steals a Rose Parade float, flies a jet plane, re-pollinates the planet, and lives happily ever after with his human friend in a cushy Central Park West locale. Along the way, we learn the following bee facts (many of which were not covered in fourth grade science): bees make honey; bees have one job; bees work hard; bees can’t fly in the rain; bees drive cars; bees have apartments in their hives furnished like the Jetsons; bees use elaborate gizmos to collect pollen; bees speak English; bees have their own TV networks; bees have their own Larry King (Larry King of Larry King Live); bees are essential to the survival of the planet.

However, nowhere in the movie shall you learn that bees sting poor innocent little dachshunds in the freaking eyeball!!!! Like this doesn’t even happen. Except for one small problem. It does. It has. And it could again. I guess if Dream Works and Seinfeld ever make a movie about Charles Manson it would go something like this: He’s nutty; he gathers hippies in a camp; they become a "family"; they listen to Beatles songs; the end. Something’s missing, isn’t it?

I give Bee Movie 9 paws way down.

Couper Goes To Kindergarten - Week 7

So we took our own advice from last week and re-read our blog before going to Kindergarten. Well, actually we remembered what was in the blog. These posts are way too long to actually read. Either way, as we recommended last week, on Saturday both Couper’s Mommy and I were armed with a handful of yummies upon pulling into the Petsmart parking lot. We intended to bribe Couper into good behavior from the start of his walk into the classroom. There was, however, one obstacle to our well thought out plan. Big Dogs? No. Traffic? No. Mailmen? No, but on the right track. Rain.

If you do not know, we live in the desert southwest. Couper is definitely a desert southwest dog. He does not like rain (or baths, or showers or water for that matter; although he will get into a baby pool in the summer). He does not like the cold. He does not like wind, especially cold wind. I do not know if he has ever seen any, but I would bet he does not like snow. He does, however, like sitting in the sun, even when it is 110+ degrees outside.

When it rains, Couper does whatever he can to avoid getting his delicate body wet. When he has to go potty, he faces a challenge. Get wet and do his business in the yard as he is supposed to or stay dry on the covered patio and risk getting in trouble for doing business where he is not supposed to. On Friday night, we told him it was OK to go on the patio (but definitely not inside). We apparently did not communicate that in a way that he could understand, as he paced the patio and looked at the wet yard for twenty minutes deciding where to go. When he could finally hold it no longer, he did eventually opted for the patio. Apparently it was better to risk punishment than to get wet. He of course did not get punished, he got rewarded, but this decision process went on all weekend with the rain.

One final note about Couper and weather. Last February we had the unique opportunity to move from Arizona to Michigan. It wasn’t unique because the Michigan job was ground breaking or involved a giant promotion. It was unique because I am pretty sure nobody has moved from Arizona to Michigan since air conditioning was invented (I think this is an official Census Bureau statistic, but I would not quote it). There were a lot of reasons for taking the job in Michigan. One of the reasons against going was Couper. We had a fear that he would not pee or poop between the months of October and May (maybe September and June). The thought of him ballooning up while in potty-hibernation was too much to take. While it was not THE reason we did not go, it was certainly in the mix. Yes, we love our dog too much.

So, the bottom line is it was raining and Couper does not like the rain. For a tough guy, he is very delicate. However, he is smarter than his Big Buddy who went out in the rain on Friday (no, not to go potty) and has been sick ever since.

So as we got out of the car at the Petsmart parking lot, we had a dilemma. Couper’s Gramma Buddy earlier suggested that we carry him to the door in a blanket. That is just like Grammas; always the most protective. I wanted to try our yummy-bribed-walk theory, rain or not. Couper’s Mommy offered the compromise: he could wear his little rain coat on the walk in. I am not big on dressing dogs, but I have to admit that his rain jacket is cute and does offer him some protection from the hated rain (it has a little hood for his head, but his hiney is uncovered - I guess so he could poop if needed). So we tried that. Loose leash walking went by the board as we all wanted to get in out of the rain quickly. As there were not many people in the parking lot, there was a minimum of barking. So, did our yummy-based walking work? Hard to tell. I think it was rained out.

In our mad dash inside, we did not get to stop outside and do our usual business on a sign, tree, or tire (By we, I mean Couper. Apparently there are civic codes against Big Buddies or Puppy Mommies doing their business outside). When we got inside, Couper clearly needed to go. Petsmart is a giant store. About half of it is dog items with the other half having cat, bird, rodent, whatever stuff. In the dog section alone, I am sure there are thousands of items. Not to mention all the floor and aisle space. So what does Couper decide to target for his pee? A stack of plastic stairs exactly like one we bought months earlier to help him to climb into bed. Of the thousands of items, he picks one exactly like something that sits in our bedroom? I am going to have to check the carpet around those stairs more closely. I guess it could have been worse. Since it is plastic (and his aim is rotten), nothing got damaged. At least we did not have to buy pee-stained merchandise.

This week was our last regular week of class and it was a review week. Talk of extending the class a week has died off. I think they have taught our puppies and us all that they can stand. The German Sheppard was again the only other puppy in attendance. Ms. Puppyteacher was there despite having to go to the ER on Thursday because a lab in another class injured her. Say what you will about Couper, but he has not sent Ms. Puppyteacher or Ms. Puppysub to the ER (to the bar, perhaps…). I think facts like that should count for his final report card.

For the past couple of weeks, Ms. Puppyteacher has been working with Couper to get him to not bark and lunge when something distracting goes by. To do this she has him sit, then runs by him with short loud steps. The first time she does this, Couper goes into attack mode. She quickly turns around and yells, “Uhhhhhhhhh Uhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Couper stops in his tracks. The second time she runs by, Couper goes into a less enthusiastic attack mode. She again turns around and yells, “Uhhhhhhhh Uhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! The third time she runs by, Couper just sits there. That is exactly the point of the exercise; the only problem is that we have to repeat this three step process every week. We were supposed to practice this at Thanksgiving with his oldest human niece, but we did not have a chance. He was too busy chasing all the activity going on around him. Hmmm, I guess this problem is on us.

We learned a new concept this week called target. The way it works is you hold out your hand at his nose level, say “target”, wait for him to hit your hand with his nose, and give him a reward from your other hand. As I understand it (and I don’t), it is a variation or extension of the “come” command. Couper loves “target”. “Hit a hand with my nose and get a yummy??? Cool!!!” He was great at “target” in school. Couper’s Mommy has even had success at home getting him to “come” using “target” (again, not so much with Big Buddy, he looks, takes a few steps, then continues barking at neighbors). I am waiting for a breakthrough from the scientific community to be able to compare how much Couper loves “target” the command against how much Couper’s Mommy loves Target the store.

Most of the class was review on stay. Ms. Puppyteacher has said that since Couper (and most dachshunds) will not do “down” (lying down, see week 5???), he can substitute that with a twenty second “stay” on the final next week. Great. I hope the calculus section isn’t too difficult either. Couper is not good with “stay”. I am sure that part of it is his natural ADHD. I am definitely sure the other part of it is our inability to understand how to teach “stay”. How do we reward him while he is doing nothing, when the act of rewarding him has him do something, but we are rewarding him for the nothing? Then we have a release word? How to reward that? It seems that we have to reward on the release, I think. We had a little success in class, but Couper got tired and distracted.

Big Buddy: Sit

Couper: {Sit? I know sit! I get a yummy for sit!!! Especially here in this big yummy barn! I should do that!} (sits)

Big Buddy: Stay

Couper: {Stay? What the heck is stay? Hey, he’s got a yummy in his hand. Would he give it to me already?!? I’m sitting right here Big Buddy!!! Just like you asked! Hey there’s my mommy!!! I wonder if she has a yummy too? I’ll go look…}

Big Buddy: Stay

Couper: {Again with the stay? What’s that all about?? Oh yeah, my Big Buddy has a yummy!!! I should look at him in case he gives it to me! Why is he slowly backing away??? I’m back here Big Buddy!!! Maybe I should follow him…}

Big Buddy: Stay

Couper: {This stay crap is pissing me off! What does that even mean??? Does my Big Buddy still have a yummy??? I can’t see! He is too far away! Forget him! Look, there is some dog food on the shelf! That looks good!}

Big Buddy: Stay!

Couper: {What did Big Buddy say? I bet it was that stay nonsense! Who knows? I’ll go see if my mommy has some yummies!!!} (gets up and walks towards Couper's Mommy)

Big Buddy: Uh Uh!

Couper: {Uh Uh? That’s not good! What did I do??? Hey mommy!!! Do you have any yummies for me??? Big Buddy is acting strange!}

The German Sheppard? He was a pro. Ms. Puppyteacher was purposely distracting him with bags, passersby, and puppy talk and he still did not move. He can do “down” and stay for 20 seconds. We definitely have our work cut out for us.

One bright spot is our homework explicitly said, “For next week, dress nicely and bring your camera for graduation.” If Couper was not going to graduate, I think we would have gotten a homework sheet that said, “For next week, dress like crap and bring one of those Men in Black memory erasers to forget you ever took this class.” I am taking this as a good sign. Then again, it is forecast to rain again next weekend.