How to Train a Lhasa Apso to Not Bark

Hard
3-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You love your Lhasa Apso. He is a precious member of your family. But he barks. He barks when the doorbell rings. He barks when the mail carrier walks by. He barks when he hears a noise at night. To make matters worse, he barks when you leave the house as well. Your neighbors are fed up and you don't know what to do.

Defining Tasks

Lhasa Apso are strong-willed dogs with strong defensive tendencies. It can be difficult to convince a Lhasa Apso that they don't need to protect the house against attacks at all times.

Training a Lhasa Apso not to bark all the time requires patience and assertiveness, but it can be done. Be prepared to set consistent boundaries for your dog. You can't let him bark at the delivery man and then scold him when he barks at your friends. He doesn't know how to tell the difference. Keep in mind that dogs bark to communicate and you shouldn't expect your furry friend to stop communicating altogether. However, you can take control of excessive barking and minimize the disturbance to you and your neighbors.

Getting Started

Identifying when your Lhasa Apso is most likely to bark is helpful for the training process. The best method for your dog will depend on whether he barks on walks, at visitors, or when left alone. You should also try to limit your dog's access to things that encourage him to bark when you are not around. Pulling the blinds shut and making it so your dog can't get to the windows are good ways to minimize stimulus. You will need a good reward for your dog during training, such as his favorite toy or some yummy treats.

The Treats for Quiet Method

Effective
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Step
1
Settle on a limited number of barks
Trying to stop your dog from barking altogether when someone rings the doorbell can quickly drive you crazy. Decide on the number of barks you are okay with, usually about three to four, before you want your Lhasa Apso to settle down.
Step
2
Give the command
Ring the doorbell or ask a friend to approach your house to encourage your dog to start barking. After he barks three or four times, give the command "quiet."
Step
3
Help your dog settle down
Go over to your dog and gently hold his muzzle while repeating the 'quiet' command in a calm, firm voice. You don't want to shout at your pup as this will just sound like you are are barking too and encourage him. Instead, you want to use a low tone, which tells him you mean business.
Step
4
Divert his attention
Release your Lhasa Apso's muzzle and ask him to sit. If he sits down and stays quiet, give him a treat. If he doesn't, repeat the steps of grasping his muzzle and giving the 'quiet' command.
Step
5
Continue the rewards as long as he stays quiet
Keep giving him treats periodically as he stays quiet. In the beginning, you want to continuously reward the behavior of staying quiet until the supposed "threat" has passed. If you do this whenever there is someone in your yard, you can convince your dog that staying quiet is the right move, while barking doesn't get him anywhere.
Recommend training method?

The Walk Well Method

Effective
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Step
1
Gather some high value treats
If your pup barks on walks, giving them treats for behaving while out in the world can help them learn to walk better. For this method, cut up some extra special treats your Lhasa Apso doesn't usually get into small pieces that are easy to swallow
Step
2
Make sure your dog knows you have treats
Hold treats in one hand and your dog's leash in the other. The goal is to make sure your dog focuses on you and not other distractions. Let him see the treats and sniff at your hand every once in a while to make sure he knows they're there.
Step
3
Give treats often
In the beginning, you want to give your Lhasa Apso treats fairly often during the walk, but don't give him anything if he was just barking. Only reward good, calm walking on the leash.
Step
4
Use the 'sit' and 'stay' commands
Another good idea is to train your dog to sit and stay while other people pass. You can let him say 'hi' to people if they want to pet him, but you want to encourage your Lhasa Apso to sit quietly rather than barking at passersby.
Step
5
Wean your dog off the treats
As your pup starts to get the hang of going on walks without barking at others, you can space out the treats more. Eventually, the goal is to not need any treats at all for your Lhasa Apso to act properly while on walks.
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The Be the Boss Method

Effective
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Step
1
Identify if the social structure of your house is out of whack
Dogs instinctively think of their owners as the pack leaders. Dogs are pack animals and they rely on a clear social structure to tell them where they stand in life. If your dog barks all the time when you are out of the house, he may think he is the alpha and therefore in charge of your safety. When you leave, he sees it as a member of his pack wandering off and he is calling you to come back.
Step
2
Show your dog who is in charge
Establishing your place as the leader of the pack can help your dog understand he isn't responsible for your safety and calm his barking. Stand tall and straight around your dog and speak to him in a low, firm voice. These are all qualities of an alpha.
Step
3
Make your pup earn his place
Show your dog that nothing is a free ride. Have your Lhasa Apso sit before giving him food, toys, or affection. This way, your dog earns his treats, which reinforces your position as the leader.
Step
4
Set clear boundries
Never let your dog run out of a doorway before you or pull you down the street during walks. Have your Lhasa Apso wait at the door so you can go first. You should also keep your dog at your side or slightly behind you on walks. These clear boundaries help your dog understand his position in your family.
Step
5
Don't baby your dog
This step is difficult for many dog owners. If your Lhasa Apso is barking at something out of fear, confidently show him there is nothing to worry about rather than cooing over him. Your confidence shows that you have a handle over the pack's safety and he doesn't need to worry about barking all the time.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Christina Gunning

Published: 03/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Alvin
Lhasa Apso
1 Year
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Question
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Alvin
Lhasa Apso
1 Year

He is constantly barking when he is in the garden. It's not just the odd time when somebody passes or he hears a car, it is literally constant. We have now had a letter of complaint from a neighbour. I try to get him back in the house when he is barking but he just runs away, and won't come in for treats as he knows he's getting locked in again.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nichola, Check out the article that I have linked below and use the "Quiet" method to teach the "Quiet" command. Once he knows the Quiet command, work on rewarding that when he does get quiet or is quiet when he normally would have been barking. Also, I highly suggest purchasing a high quality bark collar. That may sound harsh, but if you also reward quietness, purchase a high quality one that depends on both tone and neck vibration or other technologies to ensure its accurate, then he has control of whether he is corrected or not and is able to learn. Quiet article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Scooter
Lhasapoo
10 Months
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Question
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Scooter
Lhasapoo
10 Months

Scooter barks at nearly everything, mostly while inside. We are trying to teach him quiet and it seemed to work for a day or two and then now he just sits long enough to get a treat and starts back up again. Is the answer just continuing to be consistent?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, When teaching Quiet you reward simply getting quiet. As he improves only reward him for becoming quiet but then also staying quiet for a certain amount of time (start with just a few seconds or a minute, but as he improves have him wait longer before giving him his treat). Ultimately, you also want him to learn not to bark at the things he normally barks at to begin with. To teach this, you can gradually desensitize him to those things, and reward him when sees or hears the thing that he normally barks at but stays quiet. It looks like you are rewarding him for nothing, but you are rewarding him for being calm. Check out the videos linked below for an example of desensitization. Barking at noises and odd things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g Door/guest barking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxPrNnulp5s Here is an additional way to teach the Quiet method, and also check out the Desensitization method found in the article linked below. I typically recommend teaching both the quiet command and working on desensitization since there are different times when you need each one. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Charlie
Lhasa Apso
6 Years
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Question
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Charlie
Lhasa Apso
6 Years

Our dog Charlie always barks. He barks at everything and everyone. This results in us never being able to have people over because we are worried that if someone was to try and pet him, he would bite. What would be your recommendation to handle this behavior the best?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. It sounds like you have your hands full. I am going to provide you with information on how to correct this behavior. You won’t be able to solve your dog’s overprotective behavior in one day. In the meantime, you don’t want to put your life on hold. You can still invite guests into your home as long as you prioritize managing your dog’s behavior. You’ll need a short-term strategy to start showing your overprotective dog what behavior is unacceptable while also keeping your guests safe. There are a few ways to do this. Leash: Keeping your dog on a leash while friends are visiting gives you control over your dog’s actions. Leash him up before the doorbell rings and keep him close as you greet your guests. During the visit, you can let the leash drag and only use it if you have to. Muzzle: If you feel his behavior warrants the use of a muzzle for the time being while you work on solving this problem, then it may be a wise choice. Separate Room: Your dog won’t get better without practice, but sometimes you have to weigh the risks versus rewards. If your overprotective dog is in the beginning stages of training, keeping him separated from guests might be best. You don’t want to put a friend’s safety at risk or needlessly stress out your dog. As long as you keep working toward stopping the behavior, separating an overprotective dog from company is a temporary management solution. Start Obedience Training Obedience training is a must for every dog, and it’s especially important for overprotective dogs. Working with your dog on things like “sit-stay,” “down-stay,” and “heel,” will help build his impulse control. He’ll start seeing you as a capable leader and will turn to you for guidance. A mistake many pup parents make is stopping obedience training once their dog masters the basics skills. Being well-trained is about more than knowing how to sit when a person holds a treat in front of their face. It’s a lifetime lesson, and even senior dogs need regular training. Commit to training your dog several times a day for short periods of time. Make Your Dog Work for Affection You can’t help but smother your dog with love every time he’s within petting distance, but that isn’t always what’s best for him. He will start to feel entitled to your attention, and that’s part of the problem. To remedy this, initiate a “work for it” program that allows you to show your dog affection as long as he earns your attention in appropriate ways. Make him sit, stay calm, and do whatever else you ask before doling out whatever it is he wants. If he’s excited for dinner, make him sit and leave it before digging in. If he wants in your lap, ask him to do a trick first. Never give your dog attention if he rudely nudges your hand or barks in your face. He needs to know polite behavior, and polite behavior only, is how he gets what he wants. You ignore everything else. Involve Other People in the Dog’s Life Most overprotective dogs choose to guard only the person they feel closest to. It’s usually the same person who fills their food bowls, takes them on walks, and handles training. They become obsessively attached, and a strong bond gradually mutates into overprotective behavior. Putting some space between you and your dog will help him learn to trust other people. Enlist the entire family’s help and take a step back in your role as primary caregiver. Have someone else feed the dog a few times a week, and encourage other people to engage her in playtime. This will help him be more comfortable with different people. Socialize Socialization is best done during the puppy stages, but even adult and senior dogs benefit from new experiences. Exposing your overprotective dog to new places, experiences, and people, will help him learn that not everyone is out to hurt you. Make sure each new experience is positive, and encourage your dog without forcing him to interact. If your dog is afraid, you don’t want to make things worse. Take socialization at the pace he’s comfortable with. If he seems overwhelmed, back up and try something a little smaller. These are some general ideas and they can be modified to fit your dynamic. These behaviors do take time, I am talking months, to correct. And sometimes the behaviors get worse before they get better. So just push through that time if that starts to happen. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Question
Winnie
Lhasa Apso
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Winnie
Lhasa Apso
2 Years

Very well behaved dog inside the house. Loves the outdoors but barks at strangers and other dogs. Not all of the time but mostly when someone is approaching us.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Danielle, It sounds like teaching pup the Quiet command and desensitizing pup to what they commonly bark at could help. Check out the article and videos below. Quiet method and Desensitize method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Barking on Walk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY7JrteQBOQ&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=3&t=3s Barking at strangers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=4&t=134s Barking at dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n_fPKPLA2g&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=5&t=3s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gizmo
Lhasa Apso
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Gizmo
Lhasa Apso
2 Years

Gizmo never takes treats when out for a walk. What can I do to stop him from barking at passers-by people and cars?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Many dogs won't take food when highly aroused or stressed. Sometimes putting more space between you and the things pup is upset about can help pup relax enough to give treats, sometimes using toys instead can motivate toy driven dogs better, or even just verbal praise and acting very happy and fun yourself to help pup take their cues from you, then as pup improves, decrease the distance between them and the other people and dogs very gradually. Some dogs need to be interrupted before they can be calm enough to be in the position to learn. The interruption is only half of the training, structured obedience and positive reinforcement also need to be used once pup is calm enough to be rewarded for good responses and calmer body language, to help pup ultimately retain the training. Check out the video linked below for an example of an interruption. https://dogtrainingamerica.com/the-good-dog-minute-6-4-13-severe-leash-aggression-with-biting-turned-around-in-minutes/ If the aggression is rooted in anxiety, the "Jolly routine" can help. Check out the article below. https://www.themoderndogtrainer.net/6-lessons-learned-ian-dunbar-dog-dog-aggression/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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