Lhasa Apso Dominance Issues: Causes and Solutions

It’s a common scenario for Lhasa Apso owners: you bring home your adorable little pup, only to find out they’ve got a stubborn streak and an inclination towards dominant behavior. It can be perplexing and frustrating, but fear not – understanding and managing dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos is feasible with the right approach. In this article, we’ll delve into the causes of dominance behavior in Lhasa Apsos, how to prevent it from becoming an issue, and how to manage it if it does arise. So grab a treat and prepare to become an expert on all things Lhasa Apso!

Understanding Dominance in Lhasa Apsos

Understanding Dominance In Lhasa Apsos
It’s important to have a good understanding of dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos as it can greatly affect their behavior and their relationship with their owners. Lhasa Apsos are known for their independent and strong-willed nature, which can sometimes lead to dominance issues if not properly addressed. In this section, we will delve into the concept of dominance in dogs, the causes of dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos, and the signs that your dog may be exhibiting dominant behavior. By the end of this section, you’ll have a better understanding of how to recognize and prevent dominance issues in your Lhasa Apso. If you’re interested in learning more about the triggers of dominance in Lhasa Apsos, check out our guide on common dominance triggers.

What is Dominance in Dogs?

Dominance in dogs is a behavior where dogs instinctively establish a hierarchy or order within their social group or pack. This social structure plays a crucial role in their survival and growth, as it ensures equal distribution of resources and minimizes the risk of conflicts within the group. In domesticated dogs, this instinct may manifest in various forms, which are commonly referred to as dominance behaviors.

Dominance behaviors may range from subtle to overt and can include growling, biting, snarling, barking, blocking, circling or protecting resources, and refusing to obey commands. Dogs may also assert their dominance through body posture, such as standing tall, puffing up their chest, or staring down other dogs or humans.

It is important to note that dominance in dogs should not be confused with aggression or hostility. Dominant behavior is a natural aspect of dog behavior, while aggression is a result of fear, anxiety, or frustration. It is necessary to recognize and understand different types of dominant behaviors in dogs, especially in Lhasa Apsos, to prevent problematic situations from arising.

To learn more about recognizing dominant behaviors in Lhasa Apsos, check out our article on how to recognize dominance behaviors in Lhasa Apsos. Once you understand the signs of dominance, you can then take steps to prevent dominant behavior from developing in the first place – click here to read our article on preventing dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos. If you are dealing with an already dominant Lhasa Apso, there are ways to manage and train them – read our article on Lhasa Apso dominance training for more information.

Causes of Dominance Issues in Lhasa Apsos

Lhasa Apsos are generally known for their affectionate and playful personalities. However, some Lhasa Apsos may develop dominance issues, which can be a challenge for their owners. Understanding what causes these dominance issues can help you prevent them from developing in the first place.

Here are some common causes of dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos:

GeneticsLhasa Apsos may have a genetic predisposition towards dominant behavior. This can be seen in their lineage or breed tendencies.
Early Life ExperiencesEarly upbringing and lack of socialization can play a big role in a Lhasa Apso’s behavior as an adult.
Owner BehaviorLhasa Apsos can become dominant if their owners unknowingly encourage the behavior, such as by letting them jump on people, or not establishing a clear hierarchy.
Change in EnvironmentMoving to a new home, or a change in household structure can be stressful for your Lhasa Apso and can lead to dominance issues.

As you can see, several factors can contribute to dominance issues. It’s important to be mindful of these causes in order to prevent them from developing or worsening. In the next section, we will discuss some ways to help prevent dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos.

Signs of Dominance in Lhasa Apsos

Lhasa Apsos, just like any other dog breed, might display signs of dominance when they feel threatened or are not well-trained. It’s important to recognize these signs and take appropriate action to prevent any harmful behavior. Here are some common signs of dominance in Lhasa Apsos:

Signs of Dominance in Lhasa ApsosDescription
GrowlingLhasa Apsos may growl to display their dominance towards other dogs, people or even their owner.
Resource guardingThey may aggressively protect their food, toys, bed, or any other possession they consider theirs.
Unwanted jumpingJumping on other people is a sign of a dog asserting their dominance.
Ignoring commandsDisregarding any commands that they are given is definitely a sign that they are feeling in control and not willing to listen to their owner.
PushinessPushing past their owner to be the first to go through a door, or not waiting for permission to get onto furniture can be viewed as them asserting their dominance.

It’s important to note that not every growl or jump is a sign of dominance. Behavior such as these can also be a sign of fear, anxiety, or stress. It’s essential to observe your Lhasa Apso’s body language and context to determine whether the behavior is a manifestation of dominance issues.

Preventing Dominance Issues in Lhasa Apsos

Preventing Dominance Issues In Lhasa Apsos
As a pet owner, it’s crucial to recognize that preventing dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos requires proactive measures. These dogs have a reputation for being stubborn, so early socialization, providing consistent training, and avoiding reinforcement of negative behaviors are key steps to take. By actively encouraging good behavior and consistently reinforcing it, you can prevent dominance issues from developing later on. In this section, we’ll discuss some effective methods for preventing your Lhasa Apso from becoming dominant.

Early Socialization

Socialization is a key factor in preventing dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos. It is essential to start socializing your Lhasa Apso early on, ideally between the ages of 3 and 14 weeks. During this critical period, your Lhasa Apso is most receptive to new experiences and people. Introducing your dog to new sights, sounds, smells, and people can help prevent them from developing fear or aggression towards strangers. Below are some ways to help with early socialization:

Methods for Early SocializationDescription
Positive reinforcement trainingThis includes providing treats or praise when your dog exhibits good behavior. This will help your dog learn that they will be rewarded for good behavior, encouraging them to repeat it.
Puppy play datesTake your Lhasa Apso to play with other puppies in a controlled environment. This will help them learn how to interact with other dogs without aggression or fear.
Exposure to different environmentsIntroduce your Lhasa Apso to different environments such as the park, the city, or the countryside. This will help them learn to adapt to new situations and people.
Meeting new peopleIntroduce your Lhasa Apso to new people, both children and adults. This will help them be more comfortable around strangers and prevent fear or aggression towards people they don’t know.

Remember that socialization is an ongoing process. Continue to expose your Lhasa Apso to new experiences and people throughout their life. This will help them become a well-adjusted and happy companion.

Providing Consistent Training

If you want to prevent dominance issues in your Lhasa Apso, consistent training is one of the most important steps you can take. This involves setting up a regular training schedule and sticking to it. When your dog understands the rules and expectations, it can help lessen dominant behavior. Here are some key tips to follow:

Start Training EarlyIt’s important to start training your Lhasa Apso as soon as possible. Puppies are more receptive and adaptable to learning new things than older dogs. Training your puppy early can help prevent them from developing dominant behavior in the first place.
Be Firm and ConsistentIt’s important that you are consistent with your training, meaning that you always use the same commands and the same tone of voice. Dogs pick up on patterns, and they need to know that they can always expect the same response from you based on their behavior.
Use Positive ReinforcementRewards such as treats or affection can reinforce good behavior and help your Lhasa Apso learn faster. It’s important to never use physical punishment as it can damage the relationship you have with your dog, and cause them to resent you or even act out more.
Train in Different EnvironmentsTraining your Lhasa Apso in various environments such as inside and outside your home, can help them learn to obey even when there are distractions around. This is important because it shows them that rules should apply all the time, no matter what is happening around them.
Make Training FunTraining doesn’t have to be a tedious chore for both you and your dog. It can be an enjoyable experience for both of you. Use games and other fun activities to train your Lhasa Apso that will keep them focused and engaged in the process.

By being consistent with your training, using positive reinforcement, and making training an enjoyable experience, you can help prevent dominance issues in your Lhasa Apso. Remember that training should be ongoing and not a one-time fix. If you encounter any issues or have a hard time with training, consult with a professional for additional help.

Avoiding Reinforcement of Dominant Behaviors

It’s important to avoid reinforcing dominant behaviors in your Lhasa Apso to prevent further issues. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Do not reward demanding behavior: When your Lhasa Apso barks or jumps around to demand attention or food, do not give them what they want right away. Wait for them to calm down and then reward them for good behavior.
  • Avoid physical punishment: Physical punishment can lead to fear and aggression in dogs, including Lhasa Apsos. Instead, use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior.
  • Don’t let your dog dictate when to play: If your Lhasa Apso wants to play and demands your attention, don’t always give in to their demands. Choose when to play and reward them for good behavior during the play session.
  • Avoid reinforcing aggressive behavior: If your dog growls or barks at other dogs or people, do not reward or encourage this behavior. Instead, redirect their attention to a positive behavior and reward them for it.
  • Don’t tolerate unwanted behaviors: If your Lhasa Apso engages in unwanted behaviors, such as jumping on furniture or chewing on shoes, quickly correct them and redirect them to a more appropriate behavior.

By avoiding reinforcement of dominant behaviors and encouraging good behavior through positive reinforcement techniques, you can help prevent dominance issues from developing or worsening in your Lhasa Apso.

Encouraging Good Behavior

In order to prevent and manage dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos, it’s essential to encourage good behavior. Below are some ways in which you can do this:

  • Positive Reinforcement: When your Lhasa Apso demonstrates good behavior, it’s important to use positive reinforcement to encourage and reward them. This can be in the form of treats, praise, or attention. By doing this, you are letting your dog know that their good behavior is valued and appreciated.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key in encouraging good behavior in dogs. You should establish clear rules and boundaries and consistently enforce them. This means that everyone in the household needs to be on the same page when it comes to training and behavior expectations.
  • Training: Training your Lhasa Apso is crucial to encourage good behavior. This can involve basic obedience training, such as teaching your dog to sit, stay, and come on command. It can also involve more advanced training, such as agility training or other specialized training programs.
  • Exercise and Stimulation: Providing your Lhasa Apso with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can also encourage good behavior. Dogs that are bored or under-stimulated can develop bad habits or destructive behavior. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise and playtime, and consider providing puzzle toys or other mentally stimulating toys.

Encouraging good behavior in your Lhasa Apso takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it in the long run. By doing so, you can prevent or manage dominance issues and help your dog live a happy, healthy life.

Managing Lhasa Apso Dominance Issues

As a Lhasa Apso owner, managing dominance issues can be a perplexing and overwhelming experience. It’s not uncommon for Lhasa Apsos to demonstrate dominant behaviors, such as excessive barking, growling, or showing aggression towards other animals or humans. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can effectively manage these dominant tendencies and foster a healthy relationship with your furry friend. In this section, we’ll explore various strategies for managing Lhasa Apso dominance issues, from establishing your leadership to seeking professional help. Let’s dive in!

Establishing Your Leadership

Establishing your leadership is crucial in managing dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos. As a pet parent, you need to show your dog that you are the pack leader and have authority over them. This can be done in various ways, such as:

Be Confident:Dogs can sense your energy levels, so it’s important to remain calm and assertive when dealing with your Lhasa Apso.
Set Boundaries:Establish rules and boundaries, and make sure everyone in the household follows them. Lhasa Apsos thrive on structure and consistency.
Control Feeding Time:Make sure that your dog knows you’re the one who controls their food. Feed them only after you’ve eaten and make sure they wait patiently before eating.
Go First:When entering or leaving a room, make sure you go first. This reinforces the idea that you’re the leader and they should follow you.
Show Affection:While it’s important to establish your authority, it’s equally important to show your Lhasa Apso love and affection. This strengthens your bond and trust, making it easier to manage dominance behaviors.

It’s important to note that establishing your leadership doesn’t mean being aggressive or physical with your Lhasa Apso. It’s about being consistent, confident, and using positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior. By doing so, you can establish a strong bond with your dog and effectively manage any dominance issues they may exhibit.

Teaching Commands to Control Your Dog

When it comes to managing dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos, one effective strategy is to teach commands to control your dog. By training your dog to obey basic commands, you can establish yourself as the pack leader and reduce dominant behavior.

Here are some commands that can help you control your Lhasa Apso:

  • Sit: This is one of the most basic commands you can teach your dog. It helps to establish you as the leader and also encourages your dog to calm down.
  • Stay: Once your dog has mastered sitting, move on to teaching them to stay in place. This can help prevent your dog from running off or getting into dangerous situations.
  • Come: Training your dog to come when called is an essential command that can help you avoid dominance issues. It also ensures that you can always get your dog’s attention when needed.
  • Leave it: This command can be useful for preventing your Lhasa Apso from getting into things they shouldn’t. Use it when they are showing an interest in something they should avoid, like garbage or other items that could be harmful.

Teaching commands to your Lhasa Apso requires patience and consistency. Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to encourage good behavior. Avoid using punishment, as it can cause your dog to become anxious or aggressive.

It’s important to practice these commands regularly and in a variety of situations. Start in a quiet, distraction-free environment and gradually increase the level of difficulty. Involve family members or friends to help train your dog and reinforce good behavior.

By teaching your Lhasa Apso these basic commands, you can help establish yourself as the leader of the pack and prevent dominance issues. It also helps to create a stronger bond between you and your dog, leading to a happier and more obedient pet.

Using Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Positive reinforcement techniques can be highly effective when managing dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos. Here are some techniques to consider:

1. Rewards-based Training: Instead of punishing bad behavior, focus on rewarding good behavior. For example, if your Lhasa Apso follows a command, you can give them a special treat or praise them with positive words.

2. Redirecting Attention: If your Lhasa Apso exhibits dominant behavior in certain situations (such as around other pets or strangers), redirect their attention to a positive activity, such as playing with a favorite toy.

3. Training with Consistency and Patience: Lhasa Apsos respond well to consistency, so aim to provide repetitive training sessions over a long period. Be patient and avoid getting frustrated or angry during the training process.

4. Setting Realistic Expectations: Setting unrealistic expectations for your Lhasa Apso can lead to frustration and negative reinforcement. Be sure to start with basic commands and move gradually towards more advanced ones over time.

5. Avoiding Physical Punishments: Physical punishments only lead to aggression and fear in Lhasa Apsos. Instead, focus on rewards-based training and redirecting attention to positive behaviors.

By utilizing these positive reinforcement techniques, you can help your Lhasa Apso avoid dominant behaviors and enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life.

Seeking Professional Help

If your Lhasa Apso’s dominance issues persist despite consistent training and management efforts, it may be time to consider seeking professional help. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can provide personalized guidance and support to address your dog’s specific needs.

Why seek professional help?

Professional trainers and behaviorists have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with dog behavior issues. They can identify the root cause of your Lhasa Apso’s dominance issues and create a tailored training plan that fits their temperament, age, and environment. Additionally, they can teach you how to communicate effectively with your dog and establish yourself as the pack leader.

How to find a professional trainer or behaviorist?

Finding the right professional trainer or behaviorist can be a daunting task, but it’s essential to do your research and choose a credible and experienced individual. Here are some tips to help you find the right trainer for your Lhasa Apso:

Tips for Choosing a Professional Trainer/Behaviorist
– Ask for recommendations from your veterinarian or other pet owners.
– Research online and read reviews of trainers/behaviorists in your area.
– Look for certifications and credentials, such as those from the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
– Schedule a consultation with the trainer/behaviorist and ask questions about their training philosophy and experience.
– Request references from past clients.

What to expect during professional training?

Professional training usually involves a combination of one-on-one training sessions, group classes, and home exercises. The trainer will work closely with you and your Lhasa Apso to teach them new commands, adjust their behavior, and build a strong bond between you and your pet. Positive reinforcement techniques will be used to encourage good behavior and establish trust and obedience.


Dealing with dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos can be challenging, but seeking professional help can make all the difference. A qualified trainer or behaviorist will provide personalized guidance to help you and your dog overcome any obstacles and establish a happy and healthy relationship.


After delving into the world of understanding dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos, it’s clear that prevention and management are key factors in ensuring a happy and healthy relationship with your four-legged friend. With early socialization, consistent training, and avoiding reinforcement of dominant behaviors, you can lessen the chance of dominance issues emerging in the first place.

Managing an already dominant Lhasa Apso requires establishing your leadership, teaching commands to control your dog, and using positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior. Seeking professional help is always an option if you feel overwhelmed or unsure about handling dominance issues on your own.

Remember, dominance issues can occur in any dog breed, and it’s important to understand the signs and causes to properly prevent and manage them. Always prioritize the well-being and safety of your pet, and consider seeking the help of a professional if needed. With patience, consistency, and a loving approach, you can successfully navigate and overcome dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Lhasa Apsos?

Lhasa Apsos are small, long-haired dogs that originated in Tibet.

How do Lhasa Apsos develop dominance issues?

Lhasa Apsos can develop dominance issues if they are not socialized properly, receive inconsistent training or if their natural tendencies towards independence are not addressed.

What are some signs of dominance in Lhasa Apsos?

Signs of dominance in Lhasa Apsos include growling, snapping, resource guarding, resistance to commands, and attempts to control their environment.

Is early socialization important for Lhasa Apsos?

Yes, early socialization is important for all dogs, including Lhasa Apsos, as it helps them to learn appropriate behavior and how to interact with other animals and people.

What is the role of consistent training in preventing dominance issues?

Consistent training helps prevent dominance issues in Lhasa Apsos by teaching them what is expected of them and ensuring that they receive rewards for good behavior and consequences for poor behavior.

How can good behavior be encouraged in Lhasa Apsos?

Good behavior can be encouraged in Lhasa Apsos through the use of positive reinforcement, praising them for good behavior, and redirecting their attention away from negative behaviors.

What does establishing leadership mean in managing Lhasa Apso dominance issues?

Establishing leadership means that you are taking control of the situation and demonstrating to your dog that you are the one making decisions and in charge.

What are some positive reinforcement techniques that can be used with Lhasa Apsos?

Positive reinforcement techniques that can be used with Lhasa Apsos include treats, praise, and playtime as rewards for good behavior.

When should professional help be sought in managing Lhasa Apso dominance issues?

Professional help should be sought in managing Lhasa Apso dominance issues if the problems are severe, dangerous or if other training techniques have not been successful.

Can Lhasa Apsos with dominance issues be trained successfully?

Yes, with consistent training, positive reinforcement techniques and patience, Lhasa Apsos with dominance issues can be trained successfully.


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