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12-09 - M.L. Buchman

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dominatrix

I acquired this dog in December.  It's a long story, and I hate backstory, so I'm going to skip over the part about my inability to say "No" to my relatives.

Althought my problems with saying no and enforcing control is probably a large part of what went wrong.

Forty-five pounds of DOM
I named her Dakarai which means "bringer of joy" after one of the characters in the book I am writing, Minority of One.

Dakari was born to be a dominatrix.

Seriously. Her control issues were apparent from the start of our relationship.

Don't get me wrong. I grabbed the top spot on the pyramid right away. She accepts that, but with reservations. Every now and then she issues a challenge, just to see how I will react. She can be very vocal about her desires. And while she refuses to retrieve a ball or a stick, she loves to play you-can't-catch-me if I release her leash. It's not a fun game.

She also accepts that other humans belong right below me in the hierarchy. Unless they are jogging of riding bikes, then she seems to call their humanity into question. She feels free to lunge or give chase. Bad dog. I had to splurge on a training collar to teach her to control that urge. I have learned to anticipate, and rein her in before she issues a serious challenge.

Dakarai puts herself in the spot on the ladder right below humanity. No ifs, ands or buts.  She is the queen. Other dogs, ALL other dogs, come below her.  Other animals, cats, rabbits, squirrels, etc are vermin and belong underfoot. She issues challenges to every dog that comes within barking distance.  Big, small, indifferent or bad and burly. Even dogs in cars, or inside their master's houses get challenged. Again, I've learned to anticipate. Her body language prior to a challenge is distinct. Pricked ears, stiff myscles -- I know she looks lazy in the picture, but trust me, she can go from lazy to full alert in seconds.  So I keep watch for the signals.

Last week, her dominatrix nature took over, and there was no warning.

It was a good day. Beautiful weather. I decided to give Dakarai an extra long afternoon walk. Partly from guilt over spending so much time away from her on my current WIP. Partly because I didn't want to have to get back to work. Under normal circumstances we would have been safely inside the house, walk over. But, like I said, extra long walk, supposedly a reward for us both.

We walked for blocks without seeing any other person or dog. It was like we were alone in the world. She was enjoying herself, sniffing the ground experiencing things only she could know. There was not even a squirrel to grab her attention.

First sign of trouble came from my peripheral vision. A man walking past us. Ordinary looking, a little thin, thirties, maybe early forties.  He said "Hello," as he passed. Before I could respond in kind, I looked down.

Ten pounds (maybe) of submissive
The man was walking a dog. a cute bundle of fur. Tiny, innocent. But still a dog. And for Dakarai, size, and cuteness, do not matter. A rival in her space is still a rival.

The dog was only inches away from an unsuspecting Dakarai when I noticed it.  I only had one second before Dakarai noticed too.

Not nearly enough time.

Dakarai didn't bark or stiffen.  Her ears didn't prick up. She just lunged.  Just like that, the offending pooch was halfway down her throat.

I know what the owner thought, because that's what I thought, too.  I've seen too many stories about vicious dogs. Still, the brave man rushed to the rescue, literally throwing himself on Dakarai.

Remember the hierarchy? Human trumps dog dominatric. Dakarai immediatly froze.

Little dog had done the same thing. He (or she) recognized it was in the grip of a dominant.  She understood that her role was to play submissive, to give in. No damage was done, except maybe to his/her nerves.  We should have realized, when she didn't scream and no blood marred her white fur that it had not really been a fight.  But at the time...well, there really wasn't time to think. I remember being shocked at the sight of the little thing pretty much disappearing inside my dog's mouth.  And feeling ready to assist the man when he screamed and wished for a gun to blow Dakarai's head off.

And then his dog got up and walked away. Unbloodied, no bite marks, not even even a limp. I offered to pay vet bills, but that wasn't necessary.  The owner calmed down and accepted that Dakarai wasn't a vicious, blood-thirsty killer. He may even have accepted that her reation came more because she was startled than out of cruelty. In fact, I was the only one bloodied inthe action. While trying to pull my dog away I got a cut on one finger from her overlong claws.

It has already healed.

But I am changing my relationship with the dog. I was top of the pyramid before, I am now the Über Führer.  She may never equate the changes to that day, but there is now a firmer hand, and immediate consequences when she tries barking at other dogs.  She knows when I am angry and has learned to immediatly crouch to the ground and wait for me to forgive her for whatever she did before she moves. 

Sorry, Dakarai, but your days of even pretend Dom are history.


5 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

B.A. I ended up laughing but at that moment when Dakarai grabbed the other dog, my own history as a dog owner flashed before my eyes. Not a pretty sight!

My last dog, who was usually a calm, sweet 70 - 80 lb. guy HATED cats and could sniff/spot them before I did. Most awful moment was when he kept jumping on the neighbors wooden fence trying to knock it down so he could get to the cat who had climbed to the other side. I thought for sure I'd have to pay for a new fence!

Being a long time dog owner, each has brought a heart-stopping moment into my life.

So glad being Uber Fuhrer is working out.

Paty Jager said...

I am dog-sitting my daughters mini Australian Shepard and she is the same way. She barks and goes at people and other animals like she's going to tear them apart. If people ignore her or say her name she bounces away, but other dogs...I have to keep an eye on her when other dogs come around. I'll be happy when our daughter takes her home.

Diana Mcc. said...

I enjoyed your post, B.A! The true story was very funny! So glad you have her under control now.

Diana Mcc. said...

P.S. I love your dog's name!

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm glad your heart-stopping moment had a happy outcome. B.A.! I believe you are doing your dog a favor by letting her know you can handle things and she needs to relax. I wish more dog owners were as responsible as you are.