3 year old lhasa apso biting family! help!

Posted by kakkaraditi
Mar 24, 2012
I got my baby (lhasa apso)when he was 2 months old from a breeder, we are a family of 5, mom and dad, me and my 2 brothers. We could never agree on one name for him and therefore my dog is addressed by different names by different family members. We had never had dogs in the house before and there were things that we did not know like how to train/socilaize him. He was never socialized with other dogs/puppies or people untill he was 1.5 years old by then it was too late.
He barks and lunges on dogs and people on the street but is really afraid of puppies.
He constantly barks he if gets to know someone else is in the house, we have to keep him locked in a room when we have visitors because he has bitten 2-3 friends who had come over
He sleeps in the same room as mine on the floor but moves to the bed by morning, he has free access to all the furniture but sits on the floor as well half the time
He is taken for walks by my dad and me, and food is usually given by my mother and me at times
He hates grooming - wont let me brush his hair,hates bathing. He becomes an innocent little lamb when I hand him over to the grooming parlour for his haircut. Those guys can do anything with him without even a small bark from him, he lets them!
He knows the basic commands like, sit, stand, come, hello...but wont do it unless he sees a treat in my hand
His biting started when he was 9 months old and continues till date, we got him nuetered when he was 1.5 years old, it helped control his aggression a bit but he still ends up biting family members once every 2 weeks, I am still clueless as to what triggers this, at times he would attack when he is being petted, once he attacked when I was adding his favourite treat to his food bowl, he would attack when someone walks by or even moves while he is sleeping/resting, he once attcked me when i answered a phone that was lying next to him on the bed, he attacked my father when he went near his food (food he does even like - it was his vetienery diet), he attacked my mom when she went to open the door for someone. At times he gets really possesive of certain things like if he manages to get a toothbrush or a shaving razor from the washroom, he wont let anyone come near him or the thing. What I have mentioned are certain triggers that I have noticed but most of the times I just do not understand the situation.. why he does what he does.

I am just clueless and not able to see any patterns in his agressive behaviour, he is a happy fellow most of the time, but then he gets these bouts of aggression which are totally unpredictable. Even though he is a small puppy, he causes serious injuries, lot of loss of blood and trauma to my family.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Mar 28, 2012
Hi kakkar.aditi,

It looks like what is missing in your family is a strong leader. Each one of your family members loves and indulges the lhasa but it sounds like no one takes a serious responsibility to train him to be obedient. He is a smart boy so he has learned how to get away with his misbehaviors.

Can you take up the role? Or, can you and your dad or mom make serious efforts to retrain him from the very basic rules and boundaries in and around the house? I am not talking about "sit" or "down" or tricks, but to listen to the leader and follow the commands, and eventually ask for guidance.

Is there any dog training school where you live? It will be best to get some help with professional trainers since you and your family never had experience. As for dog and people aggression, it will be baby steps but you should socialize your dog to other dogs and people gradually. In that sense, a dog training class with other dogs in a controlled environment should be the best.

Is he somehow food motivated? If so, it will be easier but if not, find out what motivates him, such as toys, plays, walks, or just attention/affection, etc.

When he misbehaves, such as biting, put him on a time-out for 10 minutes. When you bring him out of time-out, make him "sit" and "stay" for a minute or so before you give him attention. Do this every time he misbehaves. Be patient and consistent so that he will learn the pattern; biting means time-out and being ignored, then to obey what you (or the leader) asks in order to get your attention back. Everyone of your family has to do this so it is a good idea to sit down and write down what needs to be done so that everybody will be on the same page. It is a good idea to keep a journal. You said his aggression is unpredictable but you will see some kinds of patterns when you keep a journal.

Also, study about the breed. I am not so familiar with the breed and I only had one lhasa foster dog so far. He was smaller than most of the dogs I had fostered before but he was the most stubborn dog and he was the only one that bit me when I told him to get off the couch They are watch dogs and have their own mind.

He is still 3 and you and your family will live with him for the next 12 years or so and it is really a good idea to correct his behaviors now so that your life with him will be much more pleasant and happy one. Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
Apr 3, 2012
Hey there,

Just wanted to encourage using MaxHollyNoahs advice - I think its great! Dogs definitely need a uniform structure to their lives and training so if one of you can step up and take most responsibility for your dog - feed him every day, walk him, etc - it will probably help a lot. If you can try to agree on one name or even nickname to use it will also help - your lhasa is probably more confused than anything and this can lead to acting up.

Basically, you need to help your dog realise his place in your family - he must learn to listen so he needs retraining and socialising as soon as possible, and in a much more structured way than before.

I wish you luck!