This little peach is Elle. I knew her for quite a while before I truly appreciated how amazing she is. This is a phenomenon that, unfortunately, happens too frequently with dogs. I had seen Elle's reactivity on leash (barking and growling and pulling toward other dogs) and I had seen her selectivity in the play yard with other dogs, but I had never got the full picture of her. I had never spent time with her in other settings, and when I did I saw something amazing; something people who work in dog behavior see every day. While her on-leash reactivity and mixed interactions with other dogs are very real, they are isolated behaviors. As many of you know, just because a dog doesn't get along with other dogs doesn't mean that they don't get along with humans. And just because a dog doesn't get along with a certain dog or doesn't get along with dogs in certain situations doesn't mean that there arn't other circumstances in which that dog could get along with other dogs. IN FACT (and this is my favorite part) the same two dogs that are lunging and growling at each other on leash will sometimes demonstrate healthy play with each other minutes later. We see it every day.
Elle is a perfect example of these concepts in action. You need only spend a few minutes with her to realize that for all her bluster on leash she is incredibly affectionate. She is calm and measured. She is a complex and astoundingly beautiful animal that needs a little bit of help finding the right circumstances for happiness.
For more information on adopting Elle, check out her profile page on the APA! website here: http://bit.ly/1I1osIR
Or better yet, head down to Austin Pets Alive! and spend a few moments with Elle. You won't regret it.