Magic inside our house & Magic outside our house are two totally different animals. For novices like me to understand Magic in the former situation is quite easy. The challenge is to understand the latter situation. Inside the house he can be a lamb, but once outside & when we let him free with the doggie gang sometimes he can turn into a hyena. While inside the house he is a 50 piece jigsaw puzzle, while outside he is like a million piece jigsaw puzzle!
I am not an expert on canine or animal behaviour & unfortunately my relationship with Magic isn’t brimming with spontaneity. In fact it is a very workman like relationship & add that to my temper & which is impatient & is perpetually on short fuse. So, many times i fail to understand him & most times we are not on the same wave length. As we say in hindi “kuch taal naahi hai”. “Taal” means rhythm. At times we are neither in rhythm nor in sync.
Every day is different with him: some days there is a constant pull on the leash. Some days he walks with a quiet swagger & we don’t even realise the leash is there, one feels in sync. When he is left free some days he is brilliant, whereas on some days he goes a bit mental. He is a flirt & plays well with all the female dogs. His testosterone levels have started to show up & if any of the female dogs are in heat, mounting behaviour starts & it becomes difficult to control him. The only way is to take him away (read: drag him away). With male dogs there can be peaceful interactions for a while but fights can break out any moment. One has to always be alert. In the doggie gang he stands out not because of his uniqueness (he is the only hound in this area), but also because there has been a hint of aggressive intent at times with a few male dogs. Possibly other dogs too exhibit it but we don’t recognise it as we don’t feel the same responsibility.
Slowly I have started to observe many things that I never did before. It makes the jigsaw puzzle so much more challenging & compelling. For instance, I see in Magic a broad repertoire of facial expressions and body postures. Different expressions in the eyes, range of moods shown on his forehead, various ways his body arches, different tail positions & wags, play bows, butt-swings, submissive grins, pilo-erection (erection of the hair of the skin), ear dips and so on. I have also started to hear a wide variety of barks plus all sorts of whimpers, whines, howls and growls.
In trying to solve this million piece jigsaw puzzle, partner had got Alexandra Horowitz : Inside of a dog & i’ve been reading & re-reading it. It has thrown in many insights, but the most humbling insight is to actually realise that Magic has observed, figured out & understood us (i.e me, partner & son) a long while back, whereas we are still way, way behind in knowing & understanding him !
Peace, luurve & hope to be in sync soon !