Ganya is the model image of an Eastern European street dog. Small, robust, easy to care for, inconspicuous, but assertive.
He is one of the dogs I would not want to miss, but where I really wonder where the journey should go. Of course, it would have been sad if he had died in a kill or was left in a ditch after being hit by a car. But what one must not underestimate is the stress that life holds for such a dog, when he changes into a completely new world where people are anxious to do him justice, provide him with all the means but also, mostly unconsciously, presuppose things that a good German Bello just does so. Apart from the horror stories from Eastern Europe, I would assume that most people there have a very natural relationship with the dogs and the ability to communicate with them in a very straightforward way. Learning by trial and error as well as integration into the community for the “nice” dog still work very well there in many places. Which is why you can actually find very happy, frugal and nice dogs in these countries.Ganya, and this is the good news, has all these skills.
Why he does not have a home yet is due to the definition of dog welfare that prevails here and the way we deal with rescued dogs from abroad. Sometimes, it seems to me, these dogs are packed into a big pink cloud of cotton candy after their arrival and sprinkled with fairy dust and love until the doctor comes. Of course, the stories take you with them and you want to create improvement and relief. But sentences like “He’s just shy and scared, there’s nothing you can do” or “He’s been so tortured, I’m glad he accepts me” are super creepy, but they explain leaving a dog with a massive problem exactly in that. Full, clean, happy is just NOT the only thing dogs want in that case. A reliable human, social contact and space for problems and conflicts as well as working out common solutions are also part of it. Integration is the magic word.
Ganya is not looking for pity nor does he want to be “mothered” he needs honest people who have social skills and the necessary expertise, can guide him and do not hide behind an assortment of aids from the pet store.
When Ganya came to us he could not understand us. He hunkered down in a corner and everything and everyone who didn’t want to maintain his individual distance, which he felt was appropriate, was threatened away. Ganya repeatedly lapsed into a defensive defensive snap and then purposefully jumped past you in the last instance to seek the distance. On the leash, he screeched and threatened all outside stimuli that he perceived as a problem, whether animate or inanimate. He was in a real state of permanent war.
So what to do? Ganya seemed simply overwhelmed with his new life in good old Germany. He didn’t understand what walking on a leash was good for and especially he didn’t know that the human at the back of the leash could take over a function for him.
Body contact and caresses he felt as a bottomless, rank insolence and in general … why German people do not limit themselves like the people from the Bulgarian Shelter to short contact and a handful of food? What is going on with them?
Previous fear gave way to indignation and Ganya shut down.
Stress and frustration are very bad advisors, so we decided to let Ganya walk in the big group, where he could hide again and rant at people from a distance with like-minded people. What he did during his “gang phase” with Romanian and Hungarian buddies, however, was observe. Again and again we built in short sequences in which we made body language offers to the other dogs, threatened riot brushes away body language and did a bit of management here and there. We ignored him completely and even his creeping closer and closer, did not find any further attention, except that sometimes an offer came to approach or but also sometimes a threatening look in his direction, which brought him to approach or to stay at a distance, because just a less nice companion stood with us that would have possibly driven him away. And then he decided to come closer to demand closeness and was happy in the morning when we came into his room to let him out. This was the start of our work with him. Of course, we could have worked with food, but I rarely argue about resources in relationships, because that has something of “buy” and conflicts do not take seriously…. who likes to eat Snickers forever when it is actually about conflicts?
At some point, the state of mind must also get space and achieve clarification. Otherwise, one soon fights with diets, diabetes and depression.
In addition, I find it better when dogs honestly get involved with a person instead of being baited.
About this principle, i.e. the discussion about rooms, reliable offers, but also the possibility to create distance, if he behaved inappropriately, today’s state is such that Ganya is a good companion, who also accepts the wearing of a muzzle and who is improving more and more concerning harassment and encroachment of people. He has also developed a keen interest in walking and discovering the world together with his human. Ganya is on the best way to get used to our pet culture and our idea of a fulfilled dog life. The most important thing is that he gets the framework in which we want to and can deal with his lack of understanding.
Ganya would probably love to be a second dog. He loves to fraternize with other dogs and to do things that are not possible with humans. Rolling in cow shit for example.
He is still not a dog that strangers can easily touch or who has joy written all over his face when he is harassed, but his threatening gestures and helplessness towards people are a thing of the past. Sovereignty and reliability in dealing with strange situations is what Ganya wants from his people. He does not need a house with a garden, he needs togetherness and being together, leadership and fun to discover.
Ganya is 8 years old and neutered. Knows reasonable children( waaahahaha!) and cats and can walk without a leash. In the car he is calm, just full of sunshine ?