For those of you who know about my dogs, I have a BC/ACD who is extremely timid, and I've been working with him since puppyhood when I first brought him home. We've battled separation anxiety and fear aggression. Remnants of his separation anxiety are still very clear, but nonetheless he has improved leaps and bounds since he was a pup. He's tennis ball obsessed and has mastered numerous commands with only his beloved tennis ball, and I have used this obsession to help him become less scared of people. He's also been trained with a Gentle Leader, as ALL other positive methods failed for him---no progress at all, despite numerous attempts and variations of these methods. The GL has done phenomenal things for him, and after about 6-8 months on it he's just about completely weaned off of it. Well, a few days ago I took him to my job, a rather large hunting store with many customers and lots of employees who are willing to assist in training help. I take my clients' dogs there a lot because I have many coworkers who are willing to be "test greeters" and distractions, lol. Well me and Z went up there, without Mudflap(my BC girl, who is his security blanket--she's a social butterfly, and if Mud likes someone, then Zeke is much less scared), and I tested him without the GL. Didn't even have it on him, although I did bring it with me. One of my coworkers, a very tall, big, man with a deep deep voice (in other words, someone very intimidating for Zeke), started up a conversation with me(didn't immediately rush Z, which was great) and then asked if he could pet him. I had him kneel, let Z approach him, and then pet him under the chin(as I do all Zeke's greeters), and Zekers did great. He wasn't 100% comfortable, as he never is, but he didn't panic, he didn't leave the situation, he even stepped closer to the person and enjoyed the attention. After just a minute or so, my coworker stood up and stepped away from him and we continued talking, and Zeke actually laid down right there, which was huge. Then we continued through the store and I started working on some tricks(with his favorite tennis ball) to help him relax a little. He greeted a couple other people, on his terms, one that I wasn't even trying to get him to greet. I also even tested him with the leash dragging, which I have never tried with him before in a public place, without Mudflap. He did great, no problems. Then as we were leaving, a passing coworker reached down and roughly petted the top of his head. I wasn't expecting it and didn't see it coming, and neither did Z, but all he did was cower a little and watch as the coworker walked away. (A sidenote: Z's fear aggression was towards dogs, not people. With people normally he would flee, not fight.) We made it through all of these incidents without any panting, quivering, or any other high-stress body language. He was fairly calm and collected throughout our whole store trip. I was proud of him. So...hooray for my (somewhat) brave Zekers!