After having Tyson for so many years, I've learned people are pretty ignorant. The funniest thing I've learned is that kids (small kids, like elementary age) are far more more educated then adults. Tyson has many little kid friends in the neighborhood, when each first met him they all knew he was a bulldog, one even said to his own mother, "mom, he's not fat, he's a bully, he's built that way" I was so impressed.
Now, this manipulating business you speak of, we're all suckers for it. They have trained their humans very well.