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There are few dog breeds in the world that can compete with the Lhasa Apso when it comes to the cuteness factor. These fluffy dogs are also quite smart and training your Lhasa Apso easy tricks is a snap once you know the basics of positive training methods.
It is great to have a few delightful tricks ready to show off how cute your little smarty pants is in front of company. However, training offers even more benefits. When you spend time using reward-based methods to teach your dog any new behaviors you will also strengthen your bond. In addition, the more time you spend training, the better he will get at learning.
This guide looks at three tricks that are extremely easy to train – offering you lots of payoff for a small investment of your time. Once you and your furry friend have these tricks down, you will be ready to move on to more advanced behaviors.
We want you to be successful when training your Lhasa Apso easy tricks and complicated behaviors alike. Here are some general training tips to keep in mind to make your training sessions fun and successful:
- Keep sessions short enough that Fluffy stays interested. If
she gets bored, you have been training too long.
- Start training new tricks and behaviors in quiet places with
few distractions. Then, once he is ready, try doing tricks in new places to
help reinforce the behavior.
- Use tasty rewards to teach new tricks, rewarding as often as
possible. Once he understands a trick, you can decrease the rate of reward to
only the top 10% in terms of speed and quality of movement.
- Don’t use punishment during training sessions. Lhasa Apsos
are sensitive dogs. By just rewarding the good stuff and ignoring failure, you
will have a dog that is excited about learning and isn’t afraid to try new
- If you are getting frustrated, try again later. Your
companion will pick up on your stress even if you try to hide it from her.
None of the easy tricks we have included require any special equipment. However, you will want to make sure that you have something to motivate your dog to learn. Most professional dog trainers use food rewards because you can quickly repeat the reward without disrupting the flow of training.
You do not have to train with high calorie treats, especially if your Lhasa Apso is watching his weight. Instead, use his regular kibble rations, and just mix in a few tasty pieces of chicken, hot dog or commercial dog treats so that every now and then your furry friend will get a special treat to keep him excited about learning.
One of the training methods we recommend is clicker training. The clicker makes a sharp sound which you will make the instant your dog does what you like, followed by a food reward. If you do not have a clicker, just use the same word or sound every time you want to let her know she is doing it right, instead of clicking. Save it for training only, and always follow it with a reward.
Once you have a trick exactly where you want it to be, you can start to decrease the rate of reward. First, start to reward only the best examples of the trick, working down to about 1 in 10 that will be rewarded. Second, replace food rewards over time with non-food rewards like praise or a toss of a ball if your dog likes fetch. Third, chain different tricks together, asking for several in a row before rewarding.
The Shake Method
Few tricks are cuter than a little doggie that offers his paw for a nice gentleman’s handshake. This also happens to be one of the easiest tricks to train. A smart Lhasa Apso might just pick this one up in a single training session!
Start on the floor with your dog in front of you in a 'sit' position. With one hand, gently hold her paw and give it a shake. Click/reward while your hand is in the shake motion with her paw in it.
Add verbal cue
Start to give your cue as you reach for the paw. Although you can use the standard “Shake!” you can also get creative. For example, you can say “Nice to meet you!” which adds a little humor to this fun greeting trick.
After some repetition, it is likely that you can just hold your hand out, with or without the verbal cue, and your dog will reach out for the shake. Click/reward and practice often.
This is a trick that is definitely worth practicing when you take your Lhasa Apso with you to new places. Not only does it make a cute and memorable greeting, it is an excellent alternative behavior to problem greetings such as jumping up.
The Spin Method
With a treat in your hand, lure your Lhasa Apso around in a clockwise circle. When she gets all the way around, click/reward. Now do the same, but with a counter clockwise circle. Click/reward again.
Repeat the last step 15-20 times, however, transition from actually using a treat to lure her, to just pointing your finger around the circle. Continue to click/treat every successful turn, making sure you are paying attention to direction and practicing both ways.
Train both the clockwise and counterclockwise turns, alternating somewhat randomly. If she gets confused, go back to the bigger motions if you need to help her remember. Ignore failures and just reward every correct spin.
Start to abbreviate your hand motion as much as you can. You may start moving your hand all the way around your dog, but you want to end up by only drawing a small circle in the air with your index finger. Both directions need to have their own cue, but you can just switch the direction of the circle you make with your finger.
Once you have your non-verbal cue where you want it, and you are getting the behavior reliably, you can add your verbal cue. Say “Spin right,” then give the non-verbal cue for a clockwise spin, then click/reward success. With practice, either the verbal or non-verbal cue will work in either direction.
The Beg Method
Start with your dog in a sitting position. Using a treat held in your fingers, try to bribe your dog to lift his front feet off the floor by moving the treat slowly just out of reach above and slightly back from his face. As soon as you get even the slightest lift of the front paws, click/treat.
Fade the lure
Continue the first step over several repetitions. However, start to try to get him to follow your hand even without the treat in it as you continue to repeat, followed by a click/reward for a successful lift and treating from the other hand.
Gradually start to abbreviate your motion so that you are giving less and less of a hint as to what you expect. If you have done enough repetition, you should be able to transition from the luring move to the new hand signal (whatever you want that to be) in 10-20 repetitions.
Once you are getting some lift of the front paws from the hand signal reliably, then you can start to refine the movement until the beg looks the way you want it. Just start to wait for a little bit more lift, a little bit more bend in the paws, and reward the most exaggerated examples of the beg until you have it just where you want it.
Add the verbal cue for this trick after you have it totally down pat with the non-verbal cue. Just start saying it immediately before you give the hand signal and you will find that in time your pooch will beg based on either a verbal or non-verbal cue.
By Sharon Elber
Published: 03/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021