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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?
 

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Bolo is trained to pull a wagon on a harness. At neighborhood block parties we give dog powered wagon rides to all the little kids.

I need to get some pics of that next time...*makes mental note*
 

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Just go back from Petsmart my self :D...Its were I take Isis for socialization ....I haven't noticed any big negative reactions yet....some people kinda side step ...but I can't tell if they are doing it because of her breed or because I'm usually doing some training as well (probably a little of both)
Most people ask me what kinda dog she is...or if she is a lab..Hehehe...they are surprised when I say APBT

I love that kids come up to us will little to no fear...Isis has perfected her "gentle" touch for the little ones

I would say that 7 out of ever 10 people stop and love on her....but I have seen some looks...I just give them a big smile:D

We ran into another young rottie boy today..and I could hear people talking about how big he was ..etc...he was a sweet guy...and his owners were cool..we chatted awhile about training
 

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Wow, Carsten stayed in one place for 15 minutes in a store. That's impressive.

Both our rottie's would give hand-shakes, lie down with head between their front legs, stay on command, cookie on nose (didn't like doing this one too much - seemed like torture). They were so well behaved.

I said it before, the perception of my Berners (who are lovely dogs) and the Rottie's are like night/day. Unfortunately, perception on the way a dog looks will never change. We do it with people.

But...who doesn't love a dog that can do tricks!
 

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I have been taking agility classes with Cherokee for a few months now. Some of the other dog owners are just now beginning to believe he is not out to eat their dogs. He has never shown any behavior that anyone could conclude would mean he was going to attack another dog. The little cattle dog in class actually does break away from her owner and go and charge the other dogs, but no one is afraid of that obnoxious dog. Cherokee is terrified of her (she bit him in the butt). It is just his looks and people's fear of not knowing what breed he is, so they can't put him in a category of "good dog" or "bad dog". People are funny.
 

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Alvin is large, heavily muscled, black, and only has one eye. People on our walking route cross the street to avoid us. What they don't know is that Alvin couldn't care less about strangers, one way or the other. He simply doesn't connect to them at all.

He has one especially good silly trick, though. We call it peek-a-boo and it starts with him in a sit. I walk a few feet out in front of him and say, "Alvin, peek-a-boo!" and he trots up and through my legs just far enough so that he can look up at me and wait for his treat. I don't really know what this looks like because I'm always performing the trick with him, but it totally cracks people up to see such a serious dog do such a silly trick.

ETA: People are also frightened of Clifford, which I find highly amusing because everyone is his new best friend. I don't understand how one could be afraid of an animal that is so obviously disabled (it's not like he could chase you down, even if he wanted to), but I guess the lurching gait turns people off.
 

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I do tricks and training all the time when Chloe is out with me, but for opposite reasons.

Chloe is a Pug, so mostly everyone we encounter just look and think of her as a cute little lap dog. (Which of course she can be:D.) But you wouldn't believe the remarks I get when she actually sits and stays when people come up to her. I have her do high fives, downs, and speak and people seem shocked sometimes. I don't know why they think small dogs are not / can't be trained. It is such a huge pet peeve with me.
 

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I know what you mean. I work in PetSmart and I greet every dog (after asking for and getting permission). But it's always funny to me how many people want to stop and pet my little white fluffy dog, and pass by my coworker's big black and brown shepherd mix. At the dog park today several kids kept following around Sadie and ignoring the big black danes. It amuses me but it's kind of sad too.
 

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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?
I was just thinking perhaps no one showed interest was because they didn't want to interrupt a conversation you were having with the trainer. I know I would glance at a dog if the owner was speaking with someone and keep on moving.

But I do think having Carsten do tricks will soften some people's opinion. Honestly, I am not a big fan of rotties (the only four I have known weren't really friendly or trustworthy). One guy could barely control his dog while out walking, and yes, we would cross the street, but I could change my opinion if I met some such as Carsten :) So keep it up, Inga, good job! I think people soften their opinions when they see the dog listening and obeying commands, though it's hard to explain "why"

I met a lady walking a big black great dane and stopped her to chat. She warned me right away her dog was friendly before his nose was at my waist sniffing for the treats in my pocket. She was working on his self control around people, trying to teach him that not everyone wants to be his best friend. He was a cutie though.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was just thinking perhaps no one showed interest was because they didn't want to interrupt a conversation you were having with the trainer. I know I would glance at a dog if the owner was speaking with someone and keep on moving.

But I do think having Carsten do tricks will soften some people's opinion. Honestly, I am not a big fan of rotties (the only four I have known weren't really friendly or trustworthy). One guy could barely control his dog while out walking, and yes, we would cross the street, but I could change my opinion if I met some such as Carsten :) So keep it up, Inga, good job! I think people soften their opinions when they see the dog listening and obeying commands, though it's hard to explain "why"

I met a lady walking a big black great dane and stopped her to chat. She warned me right away her dog was friendly before his nose was at my waist sniffing for the treats in my pocket. She was working on his self control around people, trying to teach him that not everyone wants to be his best friend. He was a cutie though.
I was talking to the trainer for only 15 minutes of the 45 I was there. During that time Carsten was hugged and kissed by several kids. They don't know about breeds so they just see a dog and think it is all good. Luckily he is very friendly because no parents in sight for the kids.
I understand the impulse control thing.... I work with that all the time with my boys too. Oliver would like nothing better then to knock people down so he can sit on their laps and nibble their earlobes. He is a freak but very very friendly. lol I feel bad for my dogs because they are very social and just don't understand why so many people avoid them. I guess based on how friendly they are it just seems odd to me too. I hope you can meet some really nice Rotties someday terryjeanne. I love to hear you are at least open to it. :)
 

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Haha, impulse control!! A couple of weeks ago I was walking Clifford and the nextdoor neighbor's cleaning lady was loading her supplies back into her car. I asked if Clifford could come greet her and she agreed. She petted him for a minute, then opened the driver's side door and got into her car...with Clifford closely following. I mean, he was seriously getting INTO the ladies CAR with her. I had a hard time convincing him she didn't want to take him home, lol.
 

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LOL FilleBelle. I have been there. Sort of embarrassing huh? Oliver once shot out the front door when the Pizza man came. He ran right past the guy and to his car, sat there waiting for the guy to come let him in. The poor pizza guy had a look of shock on his face for a second when Oliver ran out but was soon charmed by him. Thank goodness. :) It is sometimes equally hard to have overly friendly dogs as aggressive ones. lol
 

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I think maybe you need to teach the rotties to greet people butt first. Who could not love a rottie butt? And if people don't react positively, at least they're looking at an appropriate end of the dog for close-minded people. :)

I think you're absolutely right about the trick effect. It does seem to make people warm up to a dog. I've seen it work with our dog. Sounds like your Carsten is a good ambassador for all dogs, not just rotties.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think maybe you need to teach the rotties to greet people butt first. Who could not love a rottie butt? And if people don't react positively, at least they're looking at an appropriate end of the dog for close-minded people. :)

I think you're absolutely right about the trick effect. It does seem to make people warm up to a dog. I've seen it work with our dog. Sounds like your Carsten is a good ambassador for all dogs, not just rotties.
LOL Yeah Winniec I like that idea. Don't know if I will be successful in teaching my dogs to back up to people for petting but... might be worth a try. I think you are right though, Rotties have very cute butts. :) On occasion when I come upon a child that is showing interest but is just a little afraid to approach the dog head on I do turn them around. Keeps the child safe from the offending side of the dog... THE GIANT TONGUE. Unfortunately they have rapid fire tongues that can also be a deterrent to some folks. My old girl Inga loved everyone but when she had, had enough hugs from the kids she knew just how to back them off. She would start giving them long drawn out kisses on their faces. That would send most of them packing. :rolleyes:
I think I might start working on playing dead. That one should make some folks feel more comfortable around them.
 

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You know, I've been shocked by how few people are actually scared of Nubs. I normally don't even have to go into "stupid pet trick" mode before Nubs is covered in people. There is something about that dog that even people that are scared of Pit Bulls can not resist. I can count on one hand how many people were scared of him or said something stupid about him. I don't know if my town is just open to Pitties or if it is just Nubs charm.

I mean yes you can see peoples faces when they first see him that read "OMG..." or "Oh sh**", but after like 2 or 3 mins, they are on the ground and loving on him. Maybe it's MY charm not Nubs (ha ha ha yeah right). Maybe my town is dog friendly... I'm not sure. I expected people to avoid us like the plague, but instead people flock to us on walks or in pet stores. Not that I'm complaining, but it's just odd...
 

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My father and I had two white GSDs. Isa came to live with me for quite some time until my father decided that Irish missed her. She was friendly as all get out. Somebody could stab me and they're still her new best friend. I had the same kinds of reactions mentioned above. One that really stuck with me though happened while it was just the two of us walking. A little boy came up to pet her so I smiled and started walking toward him. A slightly older girl came bolting out of nowhere and grabbed the boy around the chest, dragging him back in to the house. She was screaming at him and crying. He just stared at Isa and tried fruitlessly to come pet her.
I just stood there dumbstruck. After that, I avoided that area of the neighborhood if I saw the kids out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
found this video on youtube
It actually is fairly well done. some of it is still a little weird but at least it is better then some. Thought I would add it on here since it is about breeds reputations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1KuNfSCcW8
 

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Hm, It was new to me. I never saw it before. I assume they do all the breeds then? I will have to check more of them out.
 
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