In this issue: The Dogness of Everything, Spotting Signs of Pain in Your Dog, Seminars and Classes, The Right Start: Puppy Socialization
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A World of Dogs

The Dogness of Everything

Dog and woman sitting on beachThere's a good likelihood you think of your dog as part of the family.  More of us than ever tell researchers we do.  For that reason it's easy to assume the human-dog bond is stronger now than it's ever been--but is it?  Before we had goats and cows to herd, before we had homes to protect, before we domesticated animals of any other species, dogs were our friends and allies.  Archeological finds suggest we often relied on them for our lives.   With their superior senses, dogs were our hunting partners, our guards against predators, and our companions on journeys into the proverbial woods of the unknown.  So deep and strong was the bond between early humans and early canids that dogs play a major part in every world mythology.  The powerful symbolism of dogs--and dogness--suffuses our collective conscious.

In many mythologies, dogs are guides between the worlds of life and death--and symbolically between the conscious mind and the wilderness of the unconscious psyche--as well as co-hunters, able to track and catch human souls.  In Greek mythology, the three headed dog Cerberus (of Harry Potter fame) is the original watchdog of Hades.  The virgin-huntress Artemis has seven dogs as her eternal companions.  In Norse mythology, Odin's wife Frigga, goddess of marriage, traveled in a chariot drawn by dogs, symbols of fidelity and true-heartedness.  Native American folklore includes dogs in both creation stories and end-of-the-world stories.  Mostly, dogs appear in legends that reveal human character--kindness to dogs is rewarded and abuse harshly punished.

We may have (mostly) left the myths behind, but dogs are still part of our culture, roaming our thoughts and our language.  They still help us navigate the unknown, express our dreams, and make sense of the world--arguably as much as in prehistoric times.  We have simply moved them from cave paintings and heavenly constellations into art, film, cartoons, books, and music, not to mention into our homes and onto our couches.  And if we sometimes can't tell where we end and dogs begin, who says we have to?  Our ancestors never did.

Tips & Tools

Spotting Signs of Pain in Your Dog

Masking pain or illness is an evolutionary survival mechanism in dogs, which makes it hard to tell at times whether Fido is unwell.  Here are some signs of trouble to look out for (when in doubt, always consult your vet):

Activity level changes:  Lethargy, restlessness, or a less cheerful dog can mean something is wrong.

Mood swings:  Happy one day, grouchy the next?  Pain could be at the root.  The same goes for a pup who's happy in the morning, but cranky at night.

Sudden aggression:  If an otherwise friendly dog, especially an adult, shows aggression, be sure to include pain as one of the chief suspects.

Loss of appetite: Could be pain, illness, or something less alarming, but a lack of appetite always warrants a trip to the vet.

Community Service

Upcoming Seminars

LoMa Behavior and Training is a member of the San Antonio Pet Trainers Alliance.  This group of local Certified Professional Dog Trainers ( and members of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers ( is dedicated to providing education about the science and art of dog training.  If you are a member of a veterinary team, a staff member or volunteer with a local dog shelter or rescue group, you are eligible to attend many of our seminars for free or at steep discounts.  Seminars are educational, interactive sessions you can attend without your dog.  Upcoming seminars:

Outsmart Your Dog - Practical, helpful, immediate tools to deal with common behavior issues such as jumping, pulling, and running away.  Thursday, August 14th, 6:00 to 7:30 pm.

Dogs With Issues - This 2 part seminar explores the causes of fear and aggressive behavior and demonstrates some training options available for changing this behavior.  Learn sensible techniques for safely managing your dog and consider the behavior modification needed to change fearful and reactive behavior.  Tentatively scheduled for Tuesdays, September 9th and 16th, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Please share this information with any dedicated shelter or rescue group volunteer who might want to attend.  

Open enrollment classes come to San Antonio!
LoMa Behavior and Training is now offering 2 classes with "open registration."  What does this mean for you?  
  • Convenience - Enroll anytime there is an opening.  This makes it easier to get you started when it's convenient for you, instead of waiting weeks.
  • Flexibility - The class topics allow you to learn at your own pace.  If you and your dog are quick learners, you will get through all the skills swiftly.  If you need a little more time, you will have that.  You set the pace so you both learn what you need.
New indoor class location: 
Lucky Dog Pet Grooming in Castle Hills.

Puppy Start Right Preschool for puppies 8 to 14 weeks.  This critical age is considered the best time to socialize a puppy to the sights and sounds of modern family life.  You learn how to do this best and avoid common mistakes.  Your puppy gets to learn how to be a good play buddy with other dogs as well as the foundation for obedience.  

All the Basics obedience class for any dog 4 months and older.  Teach your dog the skills to be a terrific family pet: Sit, down, stay in place, pay attention, leave items when asked, walk politely, and come when called.  

Reactive Rover class
This popular class will be starting again in the Fall.  If you have a dog who struggles to remain calm, barking and lunging at other dogs, consider enrolling in this important class. Be sure to attend the Dogs With Issues seminar, which is a pre-requisite for the Reactive Rover class.

The Right Start

Puppy Socialization

3 puppies side-by-sideI recently received a call from a pet parent who wanted to enroll in my puppy preschool training class.  This was great! I’m always happy to get a new dog started in class.  So I gathered the information I needed to complete her registration.  Both she and I were so disappointed when I had to tell her that at 16 weeks, her puppy was too old for the class. Her puppy was now a juvenile, beginning to become sexually mature and also becoming more reluctant to approach novel experiences with the same ease that occurs before this age.

...the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive socialization

The news that socialization is best when a puppy is between 8 and 12 weeks, with 16 weeks as the final upper limit, is surprising to many pet parents.  It is unfortunate this information is not more common knowledge.  [read more...]

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