I just went to Petsmart a few moments ago. It is one of my regular stops for training and socializing my dogs. I go there as well as Petco, Family Pet, a few sporting good stores etc... I try to work my dogs in many different areas as I like to see Rottweiler's (my breed of choice) as something other then the killer dogs the media portrays them as. I am sort of a people observer. I love to watch peoples reactions to things they encounter. In this case, it was fun to see how they responded to my dogs. I had Carsten and on a very loose leash we just simply walked through the store. It was incredibly busy today as there is a dog show in town. I think people went to the pet store after, to buy something for their dogs after seeing all the dogs at the show. There were also a huge amount of small breed dogs cruising the area. I put my dog in a down stay next to the rodent cage, right in the middle of the store. This is directly in line with the door so there is a lot of activity. Carsten's stays are pretty solid so people and their dogs walking by didn't cause him to get up. He stayed in place for 15 minutes. I was only about 6 feet away. (the length of the leash) Many people would walk past with nervous looks on their faces. Some people would make comments about how big he was, a few about how well he stayed there. A few children squatted down to pet him, which he loved. I observed how the same people reacted to some of the other breeds in the store. There is an obvious difference. Many more smiles, pets and general easy feeling about the other breeds of dogs. This happened repeatedly even after a few other dogs got into a mini dog fight. People still would pet them and walk real close to them. Then I decided to show off some of his stupid pet tricks and asked him to do high fives, shake, roll over, turn around, speak etc... People were watching. All of a sudden people that seemed terrified of him loosened up. It was like if a dog can do stupid pet tricks they cannot possible be mean. lol This is not a judgment on people at all. There are breeds of dogs that I don't really trust either, though they are breeds people would think me nuts to be afraid of. There have been several discussions about breeds and their reputations on DF. Many of them have had some folks discussing the importance of how we portray our "dangerous breeds" I have been an advocate of using sweet names instead of tough sounding names. Now I am an advocate of teaching your dangerous breeds some stupid pet tricks to soften the crowd a little. lol While I was there the Petsmart trainer came to talk to me. We discussed breeds of dogs she was interested in getting. We spoke for about 15 minutes. During that time not one person showed any interest in my dog. The trainer said "I cannot believe how people act around your dog". I told her it was a fact of life with this breed but that things were improving and hopefully with enough people getting good representatives out there things could change. It might be small potatoes but I feel today helped just a little bit. Anyone else do tricks with your "dangerous dogs" to soften the crowd? Anyone else notice a difference in the way people view your dog when they can perform tricks?