The Independent Bali Dog
No matter which way a Bali Dog is chosen or arrives at a compound, there is a unique and ancient system used to tell the personality, or character, of the dog. This system, performed only on puppies and known as Guna Jaya Kala Paksa, involves a complex ritual using pieces of coconut leaf.
The puppy’s nose is measured, from the tip to between the eyes. This basic measurement is then used as the foundation ruler which dictates the number of folds that can be obtained from around the coconut leaf. Folds are counted whilst speaking out loud Gunya, Jaya, Paksa, Ketek, Kiul. The word spoken on the last fold tells of the character of the puppy.
Guna: Useful for hunting and guarding, very loyal dog.
Jaya: Will bring the owner good luck, a charismatic dog.
Paksa: A dominant dog who is very loud and assertive.
Ketek: This dog is dirty and has a large appetite.
Kiul: A lazy dog who will be hard to train.
Bali Dog puppies are petted, cossetted and nurtured but changes in these socialisation patterns begin when an adolescent dog is able to run and shows an interest in leaving the compound. The household now considers the dog responsible for his or her own provisioning. Unlike Western dog owners, Balinese people will rarely interfere with Bali Dogs interactions with each other on the streets, only becoming involved when a neighbourhood dog enters their compound uninvited.
The lack of provisioning and the importance of the independence of inter-canine social and biological relationships illustrate how Balinese people relate to the Bali Dogs as independent subjects in their own society and not as subordinates in a dependent relationship with a human being (Orr 2016, 69).
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