How to Train a Lhasa Apso to Not Bite

How to Train a Lhasa Apso to Not Bite
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon3-6 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Lhasa Apsos have earned quite a reputation for being biters, but this is in most cases simply a misconception. With the right training, you can teach your Lhasa to stop biting at everyone. But, in many cases, biting is simply your dog's reaction to certain situations. The best way to get the pooch to stop biting is to understand why they are doing so in the first place. There are many reasons why the might be biting you, ranging from overexcitement to simply trying to establish his place in the pack. Oh, and let's not forget biting as just a part of playing. 

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Defining Tasks

Biting is a natural behavior with just about any breed of dog, leftovers from their days of running wild in the world. While this type of behavior might be acceptable in the wild, it is not a behavior you can afford to let them display in the domesticated world. It is your job to teach your pup not to bite, something that is going to take a little time out of your day, every day, until they have it all figured out. Remember, the key to successfully training your Lhasa Apso to stop biting is consistency. 

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Getting Started

You can start working on training your Lhasa to stop biting at a very early age. In fact the earlier you get started, the easier it will be for your pup to figure out what you want of him. While you can teach an adult dog to stop biting using the same methods used to train a puppy, it might take a little longer.

Your supply list includes:

  • Treats
  • A quiet place
  • Chew toys

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The Get a Little Closer Method

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1

The quiet start

Go into a nice quiet room in your house and call your pup in or carry him in and place him on the floor.

2

On your knees

Kneel down a short distance from your pup and slowly advance your hand towards him a couple of inches.

3

When he stays

When the dog stays in place, be sure to reward him with a treat and plenty of praise.

4

When he moves

If the dog moves, step back a little farther and try again.

5

Treats for the win

Try placing a treat on the floor on the ground between the two of you and move your hand closer slowly. Each time you stop your hand and he doesn't try to lunge at you and bite, give him the treat. When he doesn't, move back a little and try again. Work with your pup until you can touch him all over while he is eating the treat with no reaction.

The Watch for It Method

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1

Keep a close eye on your pup

When you are playing with your pup, be sure to keep a close eye on him for signs that he plans to bite. In most cases, it will happen as he starts to get overly excited during playtime.

2

Ouch!

When your Lhasa bites, you need to take immediate action by yelping or saying "ouch!" This lets him know that the bite has hurt you. This is similar to how his litter mates would react in the future.

3

I'm out of here

After reacting like this, turn away from him and let him see you are ignoring him. The idea is for the dog to get the idea that negative behavior nets negative results.

4

I will follow you

If your pup tries to follow you, you should leave the room and place a baby gate in the doorway to keep him in. Leave him with plenty of time to calm down. Once the pooch calms down, go ahead back into the room, give him a treat, and try again.

5

Perfection through practice

The rest is all about practicing the exact same scenario until the dog finally comes to understand that biting is a completely unacceptable form of behavior.

The Startle Method

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Create your own rattle

Use an empty soda can with several marbles inside of it to create a rattle. You will need this during training.

2

Let's play a game

Start playing with your Lhasa, allowing him to get more than just a little bit excited. You need to get him to the point at which he bites you. Tell him "NO!" in no uncertain terms.

3

Walk the line

At this point, you need to simply turn and walk away. Not a word, not a pet on the head, nothing, just the sight of your back as you walk away.

4

If he follows and tries to bite

If he follows you and tries to bite, give him the "NO BITE!" command and shake the rattle. The loud noise should be more than enough to stop any dog in his tracks.

5

Time to calm down

Give your dog plenty of time to calm down, and when this happens, be sure to give lots of praise and a treat. Keep repeating this until he no longer wants the negative attention associated with biting. It will take a few weeks, but the results are well-worth the effort.

Written by PB Getz

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 03/29/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Ricky

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Lhasa Apso

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Twenty Two Months

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Question

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Is there training for our dog at the present age? Our dog bites people in the house more.How to stop biting? Our dog becomes very aggressive and does not even take a bath.How should we change our dog like a friendly dog?

April 21, 2023

Ricky's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, There is training that can help in the case of aggression in adult dogs in many cases. There can be cases that are based in genetic disorders like rage syndrome, but most of the time aggression in adults is due to fear, a lack of respect or trust toward the owner, a need for socialization or desensitization, resource guarding or territorial behavior, ect... When the aggression is behavior based, then behavior modification can be effective. With an adult dog opposed to a puppy the training is often much longer and more in depth than it would have been preventatively with a puppy, so its important to find a trainer who has a lot of experience with aggression specifically, to accurately assess what's driving the aggressive behavior, come up with a treatment plan that can be tailored to the dog's needs and your training goals, and who will take precautions to keep everyone safe while training. Teaching an adult dog not to bite is different than addressing puppy biting and needs to be addressed differently also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 25, 2023

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Cookie

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Lhasa Apso

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4 months old

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How to train a puppy not to bite

April 9, 2023

Cookie's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The Out method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 10, 2023


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