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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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
The Walk Well Method
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Be the Boss Method
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Christina Gunning
Published: 03/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021