Lhasa Apsos, originally bred in Tibet as sentry dogs and companions, are loyal to their owners and wary of strangers. Within the family, these dogs are cheerful and mischievous, but they tend to have minds of their own, and many will protect what they regard as theirs. Lhasa Apsos need excellent early socialization and obedience training to be comfortable around strange dogs and people and to assure a happy home life. Participation in activities like agility clubs and the AKC Canine Good Citizen program can help challenge your Lhasa both mentally and physically while letting you form a strong bond with your companion dog.
Socialization begins as soon as your Lhasa Apso arrives in your home. Have family members gently greet the dog without excitement or sudden moves. If your Lhasa remains calm while greeting the family, give praise and a treat, rewarding correct behavior. Practice with friends, neighbors and other visitors to your home. Your Lhasa pup should learn to sit quietly as you greet guests.
Take your Lhasa Apso to the dog park or on play dates with other dogs and their owners. Teach the pup to remain calm around other dogs and handlers. Visit playgrounds where your Lhasa Apso can get accustomed to being around active children and groups of people. Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and toys.
Expose your dog over time to all kinds of outdoors sounds and equipment, such as lawn mowers, car horns, and sirens. At home, accustom your Lhasa Apso to normal household noises such as vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, washing machines, and slamming doors, so your dog does not become fearful of unexpected noises.
Teach your Lhasa Apso puppy basic obedience commands such as "Sit," "Down," "Come," and "Stay." Use food rewards and lots of praise, and make sure you keep the training positive. To teach your Lhasa Apso to sit, hold an enticing treat just out of the pup's reach and say "Sit." As your Lhasa focuses on wanting it, move the treat slowly over the dog's head in the direction of the tail. Your pet will naturally sit to keep focused on the treat. The instant the pup sits, give the treat and praise them. Your Lhasa Apso will quickly learn what earns the treat. Practice this during the day and never give a treat without asking for some action.
Use the same basic method to teach the "Come," "Down," and "Stay." To teach the "Down," for example, you can at first easily lure your Lhasa dog or puppy into the down position by saying the word and bringing the treat close to the floor enclosed in your hand. When the dog lies down, instantly release the treat. Soon the dog will lay down quickly on the word alone.
Consider joining a puppy obedience class. Puppy classes may begin as early as eight weeks of age, but wait until your pup has all of the proper immunizations. Most puppy classes help with basic obedience and socialization, and teach owners what to do with behavior problems.
Lhasas spend much of their lives indoors, and housebreaking is essential to a happy home life. Choose an area outside your home to use for potty time. Take your dog to the designated spot as needed. Stand in this area until your dog completes the elimination. Praise and give a treat, just as you did for obedience training. If you add a cue such as "Potty" or “Get busy,” your Lhasa Apso will learn to respond by quickly attending to business.
Although Lhasa Apsos are small dogs, walking them will still be unpleasant if they don't learn to heel. One method of training loose-leash walking is to stop walking as soon as your dog tries to pull. When your dog turns back and the leash slackens, continue the walk. Your dog will learn pulling doesn't pay.
References & Resources
American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apso Club of Northern California
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.