Dealing with Resource Guarding in Lhasa Apsos

Picture this: You’re relaxing on the couch with your beloved Lhasa Apso when suddenly, they growl and snap at you when you try to take away their chew toy. This scenario is known as resource guarding and it can turn into a serious problem if not addressed properly. As a pet owner, it’s important to understand why Lhasa Apsos may exhibit resource guarding behavior, how to identify the signs, and most importantly, how to prevent and deal with it. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos and provide effective steps you can take to manage this issue.

What is Resource Guarding?

What Is Resource Guarding?
Resource guarding is a common behavioral issue in dogs, including Lhasa Apsos. It involves a dog’s possessive behavior towards their valued possessions, such as food, toys, and even humans. This can lead to aggressive behavior towards other dogs or humans who attempt to approach them while guarding their resources. It’s important to understand the causes and triggers of resource guarding to prevent and deal with it effectively. To learn more about resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos, check out our article on what triggers this behavior.


Resource guarding is a common behavior in Lhasa Apsos that can occur when they try to protect something they believe is valuable, such as food, toys, or people. When Lhasa Apsos display resource guarding, they may show aggressive or possessive behaviors in order to keep others away from their resources.

According to VetNow, resource guarding is a natural and normal behavior in dogs, but when it becomes too aggressive or is directed at inappropriate sources, it can become problematic. It’s important to note that resource guarding is not an indication that your Lhasa Apso is “dominant” or trying to be aggressive towards you. Instead, it’s a behavior that has developed as a means of survival and protection.

Some signs of resource guarding include growling or snapping when someone comes near their food, treats, toys or bed. They may also become very tense and start to protect their resources by putting their bodies over them.

Common signs of resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos:
Growling or snapping – this is a clear sign that your dog is uncomfortable and feels the need to protect his resource.
Becomes tense around valuables – Your Lhasa Apso may become rigid or tense when someone approaches him while he has his favorite toy or treat.
Protecting resources – Your Lhasa Apso may feel defensive and put his body over his toys, treats, or food to make sure no one else takes them.

If you notice any of these behaviors, it’s important to take action to prevent this behavior from escalating. In the next section, we will discuss the causes of resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos. You can also learn more about Lhasa Apso resource guarding triggers to help identify specific things that your Lhasa may guard.


Resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos can have several underlying causes that owners need to understand to be able to prevent this behavior. Here are the possible reasons why your Lhasa Apso may develop resource guarding behavior:

  • Instinctual behavior: Resource guarding could come naturally to your Lhasa Apso, as it is a trait that is common in all dogs. Resource guarding is a dog’s way of protecting their possessions (food, toys, bed, etc.) from other dogs or animals in the wild.
  • Prior experience: If your Lhasa Apso had gone through a period of scarcity in their past where they had limited access to food or other resources, they might develop a tendency to guard items that they value.
  • Territorial behavior: Some Lhasa Apsos could behave aggressively towards people or animals who approach their territory. Territory aggression is triggered when a dog feels that their living area is being invaded.
  • Fear or anxiety: In some cases, a Lhasa Apso may become possessive of their resources due to fear or anxiety. For example, if the dog is scared that another animal may steal their food, they may exhibit aggressive behaviors towards the other animal.
  • Medical reasons: Sometimes, a Lhasa Apso can display resource guarding behaviors due to an underlying medical condition such as an injury or pain that leaves them feeling vulnerable.

Understanding the causes of resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos can help owners take the necessary measures to prevent this behavior. For more details on how to prevent resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos, check out our article on preventing resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos and for training techniques training resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos.

How to Identify Resource Guarding in Lhasa Apsos

How To Identify Resource Guarding In Lhasa Apsos
Resource guarding is a behavioral issue that can be exhibited by Lhasa Apsos. It is important to be able to identify the signs of resource guarding in order to prevent any possible problematic situations from escalating.

One common sign of resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos is growling or snarling when someone approaches them while they are eating or playing with a toy. They may also lay on their toys to prevent others from coming near them. Similarly, some Lhasa Apsos may become aggressive or tense when someone attempts to take away something that they value, such as their food or toy.

Another sign of resource guarding is the defensive stance they take when they are approached. They may become rigid and tense, with their ears pinned back and their tail lowered. They may also start to show their teeth or give warning signs by growling or barking.

Lhasa Apsos may also try to hide their resources or move them to a safe location, where they can keep them away from others.

It is important to note that resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos is not restricted to objects that are typically seen as valuable. In some cases, dogs may also guard human attention or even a particular place, such as their bed or a preferred spot on the couch.

By being aware of these potential signs of resource guarding, owners can intervene early to prevent further escalation. It is important to take action and address any problematic behaviors before they become ingrained in your dog’s routine.

Why is Resource Guarding a Concern?

Why Is Resource Guarding A Concern?
Resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos can be a serious concern for both dogs and their owners. When a dog resorts to guarding behavior, it means they feel threatened or insecure about something they possess, such as their food, toys, or even human attention. This can lead to aggressive behavior and even result in a dog biting their owner or other people.

One common cause of resource guarding is the lack of socialization during a dog’s early developmental stages. This can lead to anxiety and insecurity that manifests itself as guarding behavior. Additionally, genetics and experiences such as abuse or neglect can also lead to resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos.

Resource guarding can also interfere with the dog’s ability to bond with their owners, causing a strain in the relationship between the dog and their human family. It can also cause stress for other dogs and pets in the household, as they may feel threatened by the guarding behavior of the Lhasa Apso.

If left unchecked, resource guarding can escalate into more dangerous behavior, such as biting or attacking, which can lead to legal issues for the owner and tragic consequences for the dog. It is essential to address the issue of resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos as soon as it is noticed.

Preventing Resource Guarding in Lhasa Apsos

Preventing Resource Guarding In Lhasa Apsos
As pet owners, our ultimate goal is to provide our furry friends with an environment where they can feel safe, loved, and well-taken care of. One common issue that can occur with some Lhasa Apsos is resource guarding. Worry not, as taking preventative measures is one of the best ways to ensure that your furry friend never experiences this issue. Let’s explore some helpful tips on how to prevent resource guarding in your Lhasa Apso.

Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement training is an effective way to prevent and address resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos. This type of training focuses on rewarding desired behavior, rather than punishing unwanted behavior. Here are some steps to follow when implementing positive reinforcement training:

  • Identify desirable behavior: Observe your Lhasa Apso and determine what behavior you want to encourage. For example, if your dog is possessive of toys, you may want to teach them to drop the toy on command.
  • Choose a reward: Decide what type of reward your dog will receive for exhibiting the desirable behavior. Treats, praise, and play time are all common rewards in positive reinforcement training.
  • Reinforce consistently: Whenever your dog exhibits the desirable behavior, immediately reward them with the chosen positive reinforcement. This will strengthen the behavior and increase the likelihood of it being repeated in the future.
  • Gradually increase difficulty: Once your dog consistently exhibits the desired behavior in low-distraction environments, gradually increase the difficulty. For example, you may want to practice the “drop it” command in a park with other dogs and distractions around.
  • Be patient: Positive reinforcement training takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if progress is slow, and don’t punish your dog for not getting it right away. Remember to always reward the progress your dog makes, no matter how small.

Positive reinforcement training is a humane and effective way to prevent and address resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos. By reinforcing desirable behavior, you can create a more positive and cooperative relationship with your furry friend.


Managing resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos involves putting certain measures in place to prevent the behavior from manifesting. Here are effective management strategies that can be employed:

Limit Access to the ObjectThis means keeping the object of value out of reach of the dog. If it’s a chew toy or a bone, for instance, it’s important to keep it away from the dog’s reach when they are not supervised. If it’s a particular spot in the house they guard, try to limit access to that spot until the dog is trained to behave appropriately.
Use Barriers and CratesUsing barriers and crates can be helpful in managing resource guarding in dogs. When introducing a new dog or a new object in a multiple dog household, barriers and crates can help minimize conflicts.
Distract the DogIf a dog is displaying resource guarding behaviors, it’s important to distract the dog in a positive way, such as by playing with toys or engaging in a training session, to redirect their focus from the object of value.
Create a Safe EnvironmentCreating a safe environment involves removing objects that could trigger resource guarding behavior, such as food bowls or toys, when the dog is not supervised. It’s important for the dog to feel safe in their environment to prevent this behavior from manifesting.
Supervise the DogSupervising the dog when they are around objects of value can help catch any resource guarding behavior early on. If the dog displays any signs of resource guarding, it’s important to address it right away to prevent it from escalating.

Implementing these management strategies can help prevent resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos. It’s important to remember that management alone is not a solution – training and teaching appropriate behavior is key to resolving the issue.

Teaching Give and Take

One effective method for preventing resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos is teaching them the “give and take” concept. This involves teaching your dog that letting go of a certain item in exchange for a reward is beneficial. You can do this by using the following steps:

Step 1Start by offering your Lhasa Apso a low-value item, such as a toy or treat. Encourage them to hold it for a few seconds before offering them a high-value treat in exchange for giving it up.
Step 2Gradually increase the value of the item they’re holding and the reward you’re offering. This will help your Lhasa Apso understand that giving up an item in their possession can lead to a bigger and better reward.
Step 3Once your Lhasa Apso has mastered giving up low-value items, start using high-value items such as a bone or their favorite toy. Encourage them to release the item in exchange for a reward.
Step 4Repeat this exercise frequently to reinforce the “give and take” concept. This will also help prevent resource guarding behaviors from developing.

Note: It’s important to use positive reinforcement techniques when teaching your Lhasa Apso the “give and take” concept. Punishing or scolding your dog for resource guarding can cause fear and aggression, which can make the behavior worse. Instead, reward your Lhasa Apso for releasing items and gradually decrease the rewards as they become more comfortable with the concept. This will help to create a positive association with releasing items and discourage resource guarding behaviors.

How to Deal with Resource Guarding in Lhasa Apsos

How To Deal With Resource Guarding In Lhasa Apsos
Dealing with resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos can be a perplexing task for dog owners, especially if they are new to dog training. Resource guarding is a potentially dangerous behavior, and it is important to address it early on. In this section, we will discuss some effective techniques to help you deal with resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos. With consistent training and patience, you can help your furry friend overcome this problematic behavior and achieve a happy, healthy life.

Understand Triggers

It’s important to understand the triggers that cause resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos in order to effectively address and prevent it from happening. Some of the triggers can include:

  • Food related triggers – this is the most common type of resource guarding in dogs where they perceive their food or treats as high value and become aggressive when someone approaches their bowl or tries to take it away while eating.
  • Toy or object related triggers – Lhasa Apsos may also guard toys, chews, bones or other objects they consider valuable.
  • Area-related triggers – resource guarding may also be targeted at certain areas such as the dog’s bed or their resting place in your house.

Understanding these triggers and being able to recognize them is the first step towards preventing resource guarding. It’s also important to take note of the body language of your Lhasa Apso. You can observe their interactions with their food, toys, and other objects to check if they’re displaying any signs of aggression or discomfort. Common signals to look for include:

  • Growling
  • Lip lifting
  • Snapping
  • Baring teeth
  • Stiffening or tensing up

When you’re able to recognize these signs, you can quickly intervene before the situation escalates. By being prepared and understanding the triggers, you can help your Lhasa Apso feel more relaxed and reduce the likelihood of resource guarding behavior.

Teaching ‘Drop It’ Command

One effective way of dealing with resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos is to teach them the “drop it” command. This command can help you gain control of objects that your dog may be guarding and prevent a potentially dangerous situation. Here are some steps to teach your Lhasa Apso the “drop it” command:

  • Start with a low-value item: Begin by giving your dog a toy or object that they are not likely to guard. This can be a ball or a squeaky toy.
  • Use a consistent cue: Choose a consistent cue, such as “drop it” or “leave it”.
  • Offer a treat: Show your dog a treat and say the command. When your dog drops the toy, immediately give them the treat as a reward.
  • Practice with different items: Gradually introduce items of higher value, such as a bone or a chew toy. Repeat the same process, using the cue and offering treats when your dog drops the item.
  • Practice in different settings: Practice the “drop it” command in different settings, such as indoors and outdoors, to help your dog understand that the command applies in all situations.
  • Reinforce the behavior: Continue to reinforce the behavior by offering treats and using the cue regularly. This will help your dog understand that dropping an item is a positive behavior that brings rewards.

Remember that teaching the “drop it” command may take time and patience. It is important to never punish your dog for resource guarding behavior, as this can exacerbate the problem. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and patience to help your Lhasa Apso overcome their resource guarding tendencies.

Avoid Punishment

One important thing to keep in mind when dealing with resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos is to avoid punishment. Punishment can often exacerbate the problem and make it worse. This is because dogs who are punished for displaying resource guarding behavior can become more anxious and stressed, which can make them even more protective of their resources.

Instead of using punishment, it’s best to focus on positive reinforcement training and management techniques. Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your dog for good behavior such as dropping an item when asked or allowing you to approach them while they are eating without becoming defensive. This can help to build a positive association between desirable behavior and rewards, which can make your dog more willing to comply with your requests in the future.

Management techniques can also be effective in preventing and managing resource guarding behavior. This might include things like keeping high-value items out of reach of your dog, feeding your dog in a separate room away from other animals or people, and managing interactions between your dog and other pets or people to prevent conflict.

It’s important to remember that resource guarding behavior is a natural instinct for dogs, and punishing your dog for displaying this behavior can be counterproductive. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement training and management techniques to help prevent resource guarding behavior from occurring in the first place, or to manage it in a way that is safe for both you and your dog.


Desensitization is a technique that can be used to help Lhasa Apsos overcome resource guarding behavior. The goal of desensitization is to gradually expose the dog to the trigger that causes guarding behavior, starting from a low level of intensity and gradually increasing it over time. This technique can be time-consuming and requires patience, but it can be an effective way to retrain the dog’s behavior.

Here are the steps to follow to desensitize your Lhasa Apso:

  • Identify the trigger: The first step is to identify what triggers the guarding behavior in your Lhasa Apso. This could be a particular toy, food or a specific area of the home.
  • Start at a low intensity: Once you have identified the trigger, start by exposing your dog to it at a low level of intensity. For example, if your dog guards his toy, start by placing the toy in front of him and then immediately picking it up and putting it away again.
  • Repetition: Repeat this process several times a day until your Lhasa Apso becomes comfortable with the toy being placed in front of him and then picked up again.
  • Increase the intensity: Gradually increase the intensity of the trigger. Start to leave the toy in front of your dog for a few seconds longer each time before picking it up.
  • Ignore guarding behavior: If your Lhasa Apso displays guarding behavior during the desensitization process, ignore it. Do not punish or scold your dog, as this will only reinforce the guarding behavior.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key to success with desensitization. Make sure to repeat the process every day, gradually increasing the intensity of the trigger.
  • Reward good behavior: When your Lhasa Apso displays good behavior during the desensitization process, be sure to reward it with praise and treats. Positive reinforcement will help to reinforce the desired behavior.

It’s important to note that desensitization can be a long process, and may not work for all dogs. If you are struggling to make progress or if your Lhasa Apso is displaying guarding behavior that is causing concern, it may be time to seek professional help. Remember, seeking professional help is not a sign of failure and can provide you and your Lhasa Apso with the support and guidance needed to overcome this behavior.

When to Seek Professional Help

It is important to remember that while preventative measures can be taken to avoid resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos, sometimes professional help may be necessary. Resource guarding can quickly become a serious issue, and it is important to address it as early as possible.

Behavioral Trainers: If your Lhasa Apso is already exhibiting aggressive or dangerous behavior when guarding their resources, it is highly recommended to seek the help of a professional behavioral trainer. These trainers have expertise in understanding canine behavior and can create custom training programs to address the specific situation. They can also provide you with important safety tips and help you understand how to effectively communicate with your Lhasa Apso to resolve the issue.

Veterinary Professionals: If your Lhasa Apso’s resource guarding behavior is a relatively new occurrence, it may be caused by underlying health problems. In this case, it is important to schedule a veterinary appointment. Medical illnesses and conditions such as thyroid issues or dental problems can cause changes in behavior. If the veterinarian rules out any medical problems, they can also provide you with guidance on how to address resource guarding.

Animal Behaviorists: Lhasa Apsos who have a long-standing history of resource guarding may require the assistance of an animal behaviorist. These professionals have expertise in dealing with canine behavior issues and can devise a comprehensive plan for modifying behavior. Their training regimen may also include working with you to change your own behavior to eliminate triggers for guarding.

Remember, addressing resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos requires patience and understanding. Seek help from professionals and be sure to use positive reinforcement techniques to help your furry friend develop a healthy relationship with you and their resources. By taking an active approach to understanding and modifying the behavior, you can enjoy a loving and safe bond with your Lhasa Apso for years to come.


In conclusion, resource guarding is a common behavior in Lhasa Apsos that can be managed with positive reinforcement training and teaching the dog to give and take. It is important to understand the triggers that can cause resource guarding and to avoid punishing the dog for exhibiting this behavior. Instead, desensitization techniques can be used to help the dog feel more comfortable in situations where guarding may occur.

It’s essential to recognize and address resource guarding behavior as early as possible, as it can escalate quickly and become more difficult to manage. Prevention is key, and pet owners should start training their Lhasa Apsos to share and take food or toys from a young age.

It’s essential to establish trust and a positive relationship with your dog to prevent or manage resource guarding. This can be achieved using positive reinforcement, providing a secure environment, and showing the dog that sharing is always better than guarding.

If you’re struggling with managing your Lhasa Apso’s resource guarding, it’s always best to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can offer tailored advice and help you address the root cause of the guarding behavior.

Overall, understanding and managing resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos is crucial to creating a happy and healthy relationship with your furry companion. With a little bit of patience, positive training, and education on this behavior, your pup can learn to share and enjoy their time with their loved ones without fear or anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can resource guarding be prevented in Lhasa Apsos?

Yes, resource guarding can be prevented in Lhasa Apsos with positive reinforcement training, management, and teaching give and take.

2. What is desensitization?

Desensitization is a technique used to gradually expose Lhasa Apsos to the trigger of their resource guarding behavior in a controlled, positive way, to help reduce their anxiety or aggression towards said trigger.

3. What is positive reinforcement training?

Positive reinforcement training is a training method based on rewarding desirable behavior to encourage it to be repeated in the future, rather than punishing undesirable behavior.

4. What are some common triggers for resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos?

Food, toys, and their owners are common triggers for resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos.

5. Why is punishment not recommended for dealing with resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos?

Punishment can exacerbate resource guarding behavior in Lhasa Apsos, making it worse and more dangerous.

6. What is the ‘drop it’ command?

The ‘drop it’ command is a cue for Lhasa Apsos to release whatever object they are holding in their mouth.

7. Why is desensitization important for dealing with resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos?

Desensitization can help reduce the anxiety or aggression Lhasa Apsos feel towards the trigger of their resource guarding behavior, making it easier to handle the situation.

8. When should I seek professional help for resource guarding in my Lhasa Apso?

If your Lhasa Apso’s resource guarding behavior is severe or dangerous, or if your attempts to address the behavior on your own are not working, it is recommended to seek professional help from a certified dog trainer or behaviorist.

9. Can resource guarding behavior be cured completely in Lhasa Apsos?

While resource guarding behavior can be improved and managed, it may never be completely cured in some Lhasa Apsos.

10. What is management in relation to dealing with resource guarding in Lhasa Apsos?

Management involves controlling your Lhasa Apso’s environment to minimize the possibility of resource guarding situations occurring, or to prevent them from escalating if they do occur.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Dog Care Hacks