Why Lhasa Apsos Love to Dig and Chew: Behavioural Causes and Solutions

Have you ever wondered why your beloved Lhasa Apso seems to have a fascination with digging and chewing? These behaviors are not only common among this breed, but they are also deeply ingrained in their instincts and heritage. However, destructive digging and chewing behaviors can pose a danger to both your pet’s health and the safety of your home and property. In this article, we will dive into the behavioural causes behind these actions and how you can redirect your Lhasa Apso’s digging and chewing habits to encourage positive and healthy behaviour. So, if you’re ready to learn more about your furry friend’s intriguing behaviours, keep reading.

Behavioural Causes of Digging and Chewing in Lhasa Apsos

Behavioural Causes Of Digging And Chewing In Lhasa Apsos
Have you ever wondered why your Lhasa Apso loves to dig and chew? These common behaviors can be frustrating for pet owners, especially when they result in damage to the home and property. However, it’s important to understand that these behaviors are rooted in natural instincts and can be caused by a variety of factors including boredom, stress, and teething. In this section, we will explore the different causes of digging and chewing in Lhasa Apsos and how you can redirect these behaviors in a positive way. Let’s dive in and learn more about the behavioral causes of digging and chewing in Lhasa Apsos! And, if you are worried about the harmful effects of these behaviors, check out our article on Lhasa Apsos digging and chewing harm.

Natural Instincts and Heritage

Lhasa Apsos have a natural instinct to dig and chew, which is rooted in their heritage. Strong, hardworking, and utilitarian, these dogs were bred in Tibet to serve as guard dogs in monasteries and palaces. Their history is reflected in their behaviour today, as they instinctively engage in digging and chewing activities.

Digging is a natural behaviour for Lhasa Apsos as their ancestors dug holes to keep themselves cool during hot summers and warm during cold winters. Digging also served as a way to find and capture small prey animals. This innate behaviour may still be present in your Lhasa Apso today, manifesting as a way to seek comfort or entertainment.

Chewing is another instinctive behaviour for Lhasa Apsos. Puppies in particular, will chew on anything they can find as they explore their environment and discover different textures and tastes. As they grow older, chewing helps with teething and offers oral stimulation.

While this behaviour is natural, it can become problematic if it is not directed appropriately.

To help your Lhasa Apso fulfill their natural instincts without causing damage to your home or property, it’s important to provide appropriate outlets for their digging and chewing behaviour. Redirecting their behaviour can include providing them with designated areas to dig in your yard and providing toys designed for chewing.

It’s also important to provide your Lhasa Apso with regular exercise and mental stimulation, as boredom and stress can cause these behaviours to increase. By understanding and accommodating your Lhasa Apso’s natural instincts, you can better help them live a happy and healthy life.

If you want to learn more about how to stop your Lhasa Apso from digging and chewing inappropriately, check out our article on preventing destructive Lhasa Apso behaviour. Or, for ideas on DIY toys for your Lhasa Apso, check out our guide on fun and easy-to-make toys.

Boredom, Separation Anxiety, and Stress

Many Lhasa Apsos will dig and chew when they are feeling bored, anxious, or stressed. Boredom is a significant cause of destructive behaviour in dogs, and Lhasa Apsos are no exception. These dogs are intelligent and require mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If they are left alone for long periods without anything to do, they may resort to digging and chewing to keep themselves busy.

Separation anxiety is another common cause of destructive behaviour in Lhasa Apsos. These dogs are very social and bond closely with their owners. When left alone for extended periods, they may become anxious and distressed, leading to destructive behaviour such as digging and chewing.

Stress is also a significant factor that can cause Lhasa Apsos to dig and chew. Stressful situations such as changes in routine, moving to a new home, or the introduction of a new pet or family member can be overwhelming for these sensitive dogs. As a result, they may turn to destructive behaviours such as digging and chewing to cope with their stress.

It’s essential to identify the underlying cause of your Lhasa Apso’s destructive behaviour to solve the problem effectively. If you suspect that your dog is digging and chewing out of boredom, separation anxiety or stress, you may need to provide more mental and physical stimulation. Consider providing a variety of toys and activities to keep your dog occupied and stimulated. Daily exercise and playtime will also help keep your Lhasa Apso happy and healthy.

If you’re struggling to curb your Lhasa Apso’s destructive digging and chewing behaviour, seek professional help. A qualified trainer or behaviourist can provide expert guidance and support to help you modify your dog’s behaviour effectively.

Remember that helping your Lhasa Apso overcome their destructive digging and chewing habits will take patience, consistency, and dedication. But with the right approach and plenty of positive reinforcement, you can help your furry friend kick their destructive habits for good.

Check our article about Lhasa Apsos digging and chewing to learn more about this topic.

Teething and Oral Stimulation

During the early stages of a Lhasa Apso’s life, teething can be the cause of their digging and chewing tendencies. Just like human babies, puppies experience discomfort during the teething process as their adult teeth grow in. This can lead to a lot of chewing as a form of relief. However, even adult Lhasa Apsos may engage in chewing as a way to relieve stress and tension.

Here are some reasons why Lhasa Apsos love to chew:

  • Chewing helps alleviate teething discomfort and pain.
  • It provides a form of oral stimulation that releases endorphins and reduces stress and anxiety.
  • It can also help clean teeth and gums, promoting good oral health.

However, this behavior can be redirected to prevent damage to your home and property. Providing your Lhasa Apso with appropriate chew toys can help satisfy their need to chew, while also preventing them from damaging your belongings. Hard rubber chew toys or chew bones are great options for Lhasa Apsos as they are durable and can withstand their strong jaws.

It is important to note that if your Lhasa Apso is persistently engaging in chewing behavior even after teething has passed, it could be a sign of stress or anxiety. In such cases, it is important to consult a veterinarian for further guidance on how to manage this behavior.

The Dangers of Destructive Digging and Chewing Behaviour

The Dangers Of Destructive Digging And Chewing Behaviour
As much as we love our furry friends, our carpets, shoes and furniture don’t always share the sentiment. Destructive digging and chewing behaviors in Lhasa Apsos can cause damage to your home and property, as well as posing potential health risks to your pup. It’s important to understand the dangers associated with these behaviors and take action to redirect them towards more appropriate activities. Let’s explore the potential risks and consequences of persistent digging and chewing behavior in our beloved pets.

Dangers to Your Pet’s Health

Destructive digging and chewing behavior in Lhasa Apsos can pose serious risks to their health. Here are some of the dangers you should be aware of:

  • Choking hazards: When Lhasa Apsos chew on inappropriate items, they may accidentally swallow small pieces that can cause choking or intestinal blockages. This can be especially dangerous if what they swallowed is toxic or sharp.
  • Dental problems: Chewing on hard objects like furniture or rocks can lead to dental fractures, which can be painful for your pet and require expensive dental work to repair. Additionally, constant chewing can wear down your dog’s teeth prematurely, leading to problems with biting and chewing food later in life.
  • Poisoning: Many common household items, like cleaning products, pesticides, and household plants, can be toxic to dogs if ingested. If your Lhasa Apso has a habit of chewing on everything in sight, they could easily ingest something that could make them seriously ill.
  • Stomach problems: If your Lhasa Apso swallows large pieces of inappropriate objects, they can cause gastrointestinal problems like upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. This can be uncomfortable for your pet and may require a trip to the vet.

It’s important to keep a close eye on your Lhasa Apso’s behavior and keep hazardous objects out of reach. Providing appropriate chew toys and redirecting their digging behavior can help keep them entertained while reducing the risk of health problems associated with destructive chewing and digging.

Dangers to Your Home and Property

Lhasa Apsos are adorable little dogs with charming personalities. However, their tendency to dig and chew can be troublesome and may cause significant harm to your home and property. This behaviour can pose various dangers, including:

Potential DamageDescription
Scratched and Chewed FurnitureLhasa Apsos have strong jaws that can easily damage wooden furniture, upholstery, and other items around the house. This behaviour can be expensive to replace or repair.
Dug-up LandscapingDue to their innate digging instincts, Lhasa Apsos can quickly destroy carefully landscaped gardens and lawns. They may also dig holes around fences or under concrete structures, causing more significant problems.
Biting Electrical WiresIf left unsupervised, Lhasa Apsos may resort to chewing on electrical wires, posing a significant risk of electrocution and even starting fires. This behaviour can be fatal and cause expensive damage.
Eating Harmful ObjectsLhasa Apsos are known for ingesting inappropriate items while chewing, which can lead to life-threatening conditions such as bowel obstruction. This risk can apply to anything, including socks, shoes, and inedible household items, which should be kept out of their reach.
Escape AttemptsIf your Lhasa Apso continually digs under your fence or gnaws on the door, they may be trying to escape. This behaviour is dangerous as your Lhasa may stray into traffic or wander into other dangerous environments.

It is essential to keep an eye on your Lhasa Apso’s destructive digging and chewing behaviour to prevent any accidents or damage to your home and property. In the following section, we discuss methods for redirecting and managing their behaviour.

Redirecting Your Lhasa Apso’s Digging and Chewing Behaviour

As a responsible Lhasa Apso owner, redirecting your dog’s digging and chewing behaviour is essential to prevent damage to your property and promote your pet’s physical and mental well-being. With the right approach, you can redirect your pooch’s natural instincts towards healthy and engaging activities that will keep them happy and occupied. Here, we’ll explore some effective strategies that will help you redirect your Lhasa Apso’s digging and chewing behaviour towards positive outcomes.

Provide Appropriate Chew Toys and Digging Areas

As a Lhasa Apso owner, it’s important to provide appropriate chew toys and digging areas to redirect their destructive chewing and digging behaviour. Chew toys not only keep your furry friend engaged but also help to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Here are some tips on choosing the right chew toys for your Lhasa Apso:

Chew ToysDescription
Kong Classic Dog ToyThis durable chew toy can be filled with treats to keep your Lhasa Apso occupied for longer periods of time.
Nylabone Dura Chew Textured RingThis chew toy is made of tough nylon material and has a unique texture that promotes healthy chewing habits.
Benebone Real Flavor Dental Chew ToyThis chew toy is infused with real flavors and has a unique shape to promote healthy chewing and teeth cleaning.

In addition to chew toys, providing a digging area can also redirect your Lhasa Apso’s destructive digging behaviour. This can be a small area in your yard or even a separate sandbox filled with sand or dirt. Here are some tips on creating a digging area for your furry friend:

Digging Area Tips
Choose a designated area in your yard for your Lhasa Apso to dig in.
Fill the area with sand or dirt, and bury some treats or toys to encourage your Lhasa Apso to dig there.
Make sure to supervise your Lhasa Apso while they are using the designated digging area, and redirect them if they start digging elsewhere.

By providing appropriate chew toys and digging areas, you can redirect your Lhasa Apso’s destructive behaviour and promote healthy chewing and digging habits.

Encourage Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Lhasa Apsos are an energetic breed, and without enough physical and mental stimulation, they may resort to destructive digging and chewing behavior. Regular exercise is essential to provide your furry friend with an outlet for their energy. Going for daily walks around the neighborhood or engaging in playtime at a nearby park can help your Lhasa Apso to burn off excess energy and reduce their desire to dig and chew things.

Mental stimulation is also crucial for these intelligent dogs. Enrichment activities such as puzzle toys, treat dispensers, and hide-and-seek games can help to keep their mind engaged and prevent boredom. When left alone at home, provide your Lhasa Apso with interactive toys that can keep them entertained and distracted from destructive behavior.

Offering a variety of activities can help to prevent boredom and encourage your Lhasa Apso to engage in more appropriate behaviors. Change up their exercise routine or the types of toys you offer to keep them interested and stimulated. Provide your Lhasa Apso with plenty of opportunities to play and interact with you or other dogs to keep them socialized and mentally stimulated.

Remember, a tired and mentally stimulated dog is a happy and well-behaved one. By encouraging exercise and mental stimulation, you can help to prevent destructive digging and chewing behavior in your beloved Lhasa Apso.

Train Using Positive Reinforcement Techniques

When it comes to training your Lhasa Apso to stop destructive chewing and digging behaviors, it’s important to use positive reinforcement techniques. This means rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Punishing your pet for their destructive impulses only instills fear and anxiety, and may even increase the likelihood of destructive behavior.

To effectively utilize positive reinforcement training techniques, it’s important to identify the behaviors you want to encourage in your pet. For example, if you want to discourage inappropriate chewing, you’ll need to teach your Lhasa Apso what they can chew and what they cannot.

Step One: Start by purchasing a variety of chew toys and treats that your pet will love. Show them the toys and positively reinforce when they choose to play with them.

Step Two: If you notice your Lhasa Apso chewing on something they shouldn’t, redirect their attention to one of the appropriate chew toys. When they begin to chew on the toy, positively reinforce their behavior with praise or a treat.

Step Three: Consistency is key in positive reinforcement training. Make sure to reward your pet every time they display positive behavior, and ignore or redirect negative behavior. Over time, your Lhasa Apso will learn what behavior is expected of them and be more likely to follow through.

Step Four: Remember that positive reinforcement doesn’t always have to be food-based. Verbal praise like “good boy/girl” and physical affection like petting or playing with your pet can also be great rewards for positive behavior.

By utilizing positive reinforcement training techniques, you’ll be able to effectively redirect your Lhasa Apso’s destructive chewing and digging behaviors in a way that fosters a healthy and happy relationship between you and your pet.

Enlist Professional Help When Necessary

When all else fails and your Lhasa Apso continues to display destructive chewing and digging behaviors, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional.
Professional Help Options

BehavioristA certified behaviorist can help identify the root cause of your Lhasa Apso’s destructive behavior and develop an individualized plan to address it. They may also provide training for you as the owner to reinforce positive behavior.
TrainerA professional trainer can work with your Lhasa Apso on basic obedience skills and redirecting behavior towards appropriate chew toys and digging areas. They may also provide training for you as the owner to reinforce positive behavior.
VeterinarianIf your Lhasa Apso’s destructive behavior is due to teething or oral health issues, a veterinarian can provide appropriate treatment and medication. They may also be able to refer you to a behaviorist or trainer if necessary.

Remember, seeking professional help is not a sign of failure or incompetence, but rather a responsible step towards ensuring the well-being of both your Lhasa Apso and your home. With time, patience, and the right guidance, your furry friend can learn to channel their instincts in a more positive and productive way.


In conclusion, understanding why Lhasa Apsos love to dig and chew is important in providing appropriate care and redirecting their behavior. While natural instincts and heritage may play a role in these behaviors, boredom, separation anxiety, stress, teething, and oral stimulation can also be contributing factors.

However, destructive digging and chewing behavior can pose dangers to your pet’s health and your home and property. It’s crucial to redirect this behavior by providing appropriate chew toys and digging areas, encouraging exercise and mental stimulation, training using positive reinforcement techniques, and enlisting professional help when necessary.

As a loving Lhasa Apso owner, it’s important to be patient and understanding while taking the necessary steps to ensure your pet’s well-being and preventing any unwanted behavior. By providing the right outlets for their need to chew and dig, you can cultivate a happy and healthy environment for both you and your furry friend. Remember that with consistency, positive reinforcement, and appropriate training, you can help your Lhasa Apso overcome their destructive behavior and thrive as a beloved member of your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Lhasa Apsos love to dig and chew?

Lhasa Apsos were bred to be independent watchdogs and have strong natural instincts to dig and chew.

What are some behavioural causes of digging and chewing in Lhasa Apsos?

Boredom, separation anxiety, stress, and teething/oral stimulation can all lead to destructive chewing and digging behaviour.

What are the dangers of destructive chewing and digging behaviour?

Aside from damaging your home and property, your Lhasa Apso can harm themselves if they ingest something dangerous or if their chewing leads to dental problems.

How can I redirect my Lhasa Apso’s digging and chewing behaviour?

You can provide appropriate chew toys and digging areas, encourage exercise and mental stimulation, train using positive reinforcement techniques, or enlist professional help if necessary.

What are some appropriate chew toys for Lhasa Apsos?

Chew toys like KONGs, rope toys, and dental chews are great options for Lhasa Apsos.

What are some appropriate digging areas for Lhasa Apsos?

A sandbox, a designated area of your backyard, or a digging pit can all be great options for redirecting your Lhasa Apso’s digging behaviour.

What kind of exercise can help prevent destructive chewing and digging in Lhasa Apsos?

We recommend a mix of physical exercise, like walks and playtime, and mental stimulation activities, like puzzle toys and training sessions.

What is positive reinforcement training for Lhasa Apsos?

Positive reinforcement training is using rewards like treats, toys, and praise to encourage good behaviour instead of punishing bad behaviour.

What if redirecting my Lhasa Apso’s behaviour doesn’t work?

If redirecting your Lhasa Apso’s behaviour doesn’t work, you may need to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviourist to address the issue.

Can Lhasa Apsos be trained not to dig or chew?

Yes, with consistent and positive training, Lhasa Apsos can be trained not to engage in destructive digging and chewing behaviour.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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