Moxie - courage, aggressiveness and nerve. Elsa has moxie, Luke does not. Is this a good or bad thing? Neither.
I was watching the dogs head up to bed last night and noted the difference in the two. Luke stood waiting at the top of the stairs for me while Elsa eagerly pushed her way past Luke to get to the bed first. If Elsa were standing in the doorway to the bedroom; Luke would not push past her. Not that he is intimidated or afraid of her, he just wouldn't. He doesn't like the idea of pushing, never has. I always say that dogs are simple yet complicated and it is really very true. Even though Luke is a very dominant dog; confident in himself and very assured, he lacks moxie.
I noticed the same difference in Luke and Tilley; she also had moxie as did Jessie. Hmmmm, perhaps its a girl thing? Anyway, moxie shows itself in many different forms. For me one display of moxie is seen in the offering of a behavior. A clicker trained dog learns to offer behaviors; bring out something new that a dog has never seen before and they start offering. That is, dogs with moxie will. Even though Luke is very confident he will not offer a new behavior. He will give me what he knows and that is all he will give. Does it mean that he is not as smart as one who will offer a new behavior? No. What it means is that he is not that type of dog.
A dog with moxie is able to brush things off. When a situation plays itself out from exposure, dealing and then finally reaction; a dog with moxie can move on quickly. Of course how we humans react will also factor in to either support or deter moxie. You can literally fuel or defuse a situation simply by reacting. Just yesterday Elsa went out in the morning and started her Bloodhound routine. She was obviously on the scent of something different that had been in our yard. Although she has moxie she is not brave as of yet; when she heard a rustle in the bushes she scream barked and ran for the house. Hearing this Luke went out to check things out; Luke is very brave.
Watching the difference in our two dogs going through their day to day is so very interesting. I of course could go on and on and................on. I do see a great deal of similarities in Elsa and Tilley; yet she is still very different. Moxie is something that Tilley had and Elsa has. If I were in a crowd of people and called to Elsa, she would push her way past not batting an eyelash. Luke on the other hand would stand on the outside of the crowd, stress and display that stress until I came to get him.
Some have it, some don't. It is just that, moxie, nothing else.