You probably picked your Lhasa apso because she is independent, mischievous and has beautiful hair. Being her own little person is charming until poor behavior overshadows her charisma. It might take a little extra work, but it will be worth it when you're getting "Lhasa" compliments on your well-behaved apso.
When joyful, mischievous, dignified and aloof are all used to describe your dog's breed, it can give you pause when you consider what it might take to train her. It's true that even the American Kennel Club acknowledges that the breed's first goal in life isn't always to please their masters. It isn't impossible to train your Lhasa apso, however, and although her headstrong personality may show itself occasionally, training doesn't necessarily have to be a difficult task.
Start training your Lhasa apso the day you bring her home. Even though they have a reputation for being independent and excitable, starting your puppy's training on day one will set the stage for her to learn more and more as she matures. Vet Street warns against waiting to begin training as your Lhasa may become obstinate and stubborn, compounding the task. In their book on Lhasa apsos, Stephen Wehrmann and Sharon Vanderlip echo the advice to train early; they write that basic lessons for puppies are effective, with leash training being the easiest when they are between the ages of 5 and 9 weeks old.
You can enroll yourself and your Lhasa apso in a puppy training or obedience class, but you can just as easily begin training her in some simple commands on your own. Wehrmann and Vanderlip advise starting with the simple act of calling your Lhasa's name when you feed her to create a positive association with the act of her responding to her name. You can either use just your dog's name or use it in combination with the word "come." After "come," the "sit" command is the easiest command to teach your Lhasa apso, according to Wehrmann and Vanderlip. You may have to assist by applying light pressure to her hindquarters, but she should be able to understand within a couple of lessons. "Down" and "stay" are two more basic commands you should be able to teach your Lhasa outside of puppy class. Food rewards will help teach her whenever you start with a new command, but once she begins mastering it, you should increase your verbal praise and phase out the food rewards.
Obedience and Agility
Even if you have successful results from training your Lhasa apso on your own, you may want to consider obedience classes with other dogs and people in attendance to help with socializing your long-haired beauty and give her the opportunity to learn a few new things. Being introduced to new surroundings, people and unfamiliar dogs will help to make her a well-rounded dog and reduce the chances of developing anxiety or aggression. You can find advanced training classes for your Lhasa that will provide a different level of challenge once she has mastered puppy kindergarten and become a Canine Good Citizen. The AKC notes that Lhasa apsos like activities that provide a challenge, such as agility. Whether you intend to enter her in an agility contest or not, your Lhasa apso is sure to enjoy the exercise, learning the drills and spending quality time with you.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.