How to Train a Lhasa Apso to Not Bite

Easy
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

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. 

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. 

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

The Get a Little Closer Method

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Step
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.
Step
2
On your knees
Kneel down a short distance from your pup and slowly advance your hand towards him a couple of inches.
Step
3
When he stays
When the dog stays in place, be sure to reward him with a treat and plenty of praise.
Step
4
When he moves
If the dog moves, step back a little farther and try again.
Step
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.
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The Watch for It Method

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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
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The Startle Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Noddy
Lasha sitju mix
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Noddy
Lasha sitju mix
1 Year

Very aggressive when new person ..cannot control by owner

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vani, I highly recommend hiring a professional trainer to help you in person with this. First, pup needs to be evaluated to determine what type(s) of aggression are present. For example a dog who is fearful is trained a bit differently than a dog who has learned to use aggression to get what they want or a dog who is acting possessive of something. Often treating aggression involves building the dog's general trust and respect for you and those who live with you, through things like having pup work for everything they get in life by asking pup to obey a command like Sit before you give them anything. It involves giving pup a lot more boundaries and rules to follow to build structure and predictability into their routine and help them make better choices. Often a basket muzzle is introduced gradually using food rewards so that pup can wear that to keep you safe when interacting with pup, until things improve. If pup has a low tolerance of something or fear, then pup would also be desensitized and counter conditioned to what they are unsure about using food rewards to reward pup for good responses, very gradually increasing his exposure to whatever he dislikes right now. If pup lacks impulse control, then you would also work on commands that specifically help pup increase their level of control over themselves gradually. There may be other specific things that need to be addressed as well. Look for a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and fear. If pup is aggressive toward strangers or other dogs too, you will need a trainer who works with a team of trainers and/or has access to other well mannered dogs, like the trainers' dogs so that the training can be practiced around a variety of people and other dogs, to help pup generalize what they are learning to people and dogs in general, and not just the trainer and yourself. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rambo
Lhasa Apso
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Rambo
Lhasa Apso
4 Years

Suspicion of strangers and lunging at strangers

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tahia, First, I will say working with a training group that has several trainers so that people who are experienced with fear can practice being "strangers" during the session will help the training go a lot faster than doing this on your own, so that might be worth considering. I would start by desensitizing him to wearing a basket muzzle. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Practice walking pup past wiling friends and family you have recruited who are strangers to pup, using the concepts of the passing approach method from the article linked below - this method is related to dogs, but the concepts of passing someone over and over again while working on obedience and rewarding good responses of calmness, tolerance, and focus on you, rather than fear responses. Gradually decreasing the distance between him and the people who are helping you as he improves - the important part is to look for not only a lack of fear aggressive response but specifically for times when pup is actually in a calmer mindset and reward that. Passing Approach method: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs As pup improves and can handle being close to people, then people can practice being in closer quarters (with safety measures like the muzzle or leash tethered securely to something as needed to avoid a fear bite), and tossing treats to pup when he is responding calmly around them. Have the people toss treats while acknowledging him very little when he does well. When pup can handle being around people in general in a variety of situations, then have people give him commands and let him work for the treat rewards to further build trust. Finally, have them go on walks with you, where you can hand off the leash to the other person and pup will follow them also, so that pup is working with and following more people in a calm, respect and trust, based relationship. Later stage, up close desensitization - even though kids are close, there is still a line people stay behind to pup couldn't reach them to bite, and pup is still on a back-tie leash so that pup can't actually get to kids to bite if they tried. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Button
Lhasa Apso
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Button
Lhasa Apso
2 Months

This little puppy growls at me and tries to bite me when I carry her

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nicole, I would work on teaching pup the Leave It method for the biting, while also spending time desensitizing pup to touch and handling as often as you can. When you are able, a good time to do the touch desensitizing is at each meal using most of pup's meal kibble as treats instead of feeding a whole bowl. If you are using any methods that involve physical roughness with your hands, then I would switch to a different method. To desensitize pup, gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold her collar and give a treat. Touch her tail gently and give a treat. Touch her belly, her other paws, her chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Once pup is okay with those touches, then put a hand under pup's belly and gently lift up an inch then put pup back down immediately. Give a treat right after. Watch pup to see if they seem happy about that lift yet. Once they are comfortable with it, add an inch to your lift as pup progresses, until you can pick pup all the way up and they don't protest due to expecting a treat. Always be sure to support pup well when lifting - otherwise the feeling of being dropped will make pup protest also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Oreo
Lhasa Apso
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Oreo
Lhasa Apso
2 Months

He is becoming aggressive during his play time and bites me alot. Whenever I try to say NO in loud voice he barks on me .
Please suggest

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sohni, First, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. At the same time however, 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 he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. 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 pressure 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 roughhousing (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 When pup gets especially wound up, he 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 him calm down and rest. Also, 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 at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
JoJo
Lhasa Apso
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
JoJo
Lhasa Apso
3 Years

Excessive Barking, Periodic Biting and very aggressive behavior toward any other dogs and strangers. Is this correctable?

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

Hello! All of these behaviors are correctable. But keep in mind it can take around 6 months to see resolution. You can research these items individually and try to help your dog yourself, or employ the help of a trainer in your area. Wag has excellent training articles, and a website I often use for my customers is one called Pet Place. They have excellent resources for correcting behavior issues. So for example, you can get on there and search what is called "Inter dog aggression" and some really great articles will come up.

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