Lhasa apso sitting in a beautiful meadow

Why does my Lhasa Apso bark so much?

Discover why your Lhasa Apso may be barking more than usual and learn practical strategies to reduce excessive barking while maintaining a happy, healthy relationship with your pet.

Lhasa Apsos, like our cheeky Poppy the Lhasa Apso, offer affection, loyalty, and sometimes, a touch of sassiness. When the barking gets too much, it’s important to figure out what might be going on. Understanding why your Lhasa Apso barks excessively is crucial to finding a harmonious solution. In short, dogs bark as a means of communication and they are often expressing how they feel.

Unravelling the mystery behind the barking

Our Lhasa Apsos aren’t just barking without reason; they’re communicating. These dogs have intelligent hearing and are discerning barkers. The Lhasa apso in particular doesn’t typically bark at every little noise but will alert you to ‘stranger danger’ or unusual happenings. The first time they hear a noise, they may well bark their heads off.

For example, if you’ve ever used a loud vacuum cleaner in front of a puppy, you may find they react quite strongly. Equally, a loud coffee machine or an alarm might alert your dog. Generally though, a Lhasa apso will eventually figure out what noises are part of everyday life and what noises are unfamiliar. This trait stems from their heritage as sentinel dogs in Tibetan monasteries, where they were trusted to alert the monks to any intruders.

Common reasons for excessive barking

Here’s what might be causing your Lhasa’s vocal outbursts:

  1. Protective instincts: If someone unfamiliar approaches, your Lhasa Apso will bark to protect their territory. Lhasa apso dogs are known for being watch dogs. They’re constantly on the lookout and they’re known to be aloof. If they see a stranger, they’re going to let you know.
  2. Boredom or loneliness: Without adequate stimulation, your dog may express their frustration through barking. They communicate their feelings quite vocally, so it is best to ensure they aren’t left alone for too long.
  3. Separation anxiety: Lhasas can become very attached to their owners, leading to anxious barking when alone. Our own Poppy has shown traits of separation anxiety but fortunately isn’t left alone for long enough to bring about excessive barking.
  4. Health issues: Always rule out any potential health problems with a vet visit if the barking seems out of character. Sometimes a dog may bark due to being in pain or some discomfort. It is essential that you run any of these concerns by a veterinary professional. Your dog’s barking could be a sign that something is awry.

Harmonising Your Home: Strategies to Reduce Barking

  1. Routine exercise: Regular walks and playtime can significantly reduce boredom-related barking. Ensuring they are regularly socialising and not left alone for long periods of more than a few hours at a time is essential.
  2. Positive reinforcement: Reward quiet behaviour and use a ‘quiet’ command to teach them when to stop barking.
  3. Desensitisation: Gradually introduce your dog to common triggers, rewarding them for calmness. Maybe there’s a loud noise like the vacuum cleaner, or something more frequent like the doorbell. Every time your dog reacts calmly, or sits, reward with a treat. This will reinforce the behaviour and associate the experience with something positive.
  4. Create a safe space: A comfortable and secure environment can help ease anxiety-related barking. Making sure that there are places for your dog to go when they are feeling anxious is essential. Dogs are den dwellers. They love tight spaces, so if you have a crate or a small room, make it cosy and put a dog bed or some cushions in there. It can make all the difference.
  5. Socialisation: Expose them to different people and settings to reduce fear-driven barking. This is especially important for children. If you’d like your dog to not bark around unfamiliar people then it’s really vital to make sure they’ve been around them. Dogs that are good with children tend to be ones who have been around them as puppies.

Our experience with Poppy

In our own home, we’ve noticed that Poppy barks less when we keep a consistent routine. Dogs absolutely love routines. Pops thrives on regular walks and mental challenges, like puzzle toys. The Kong toys are brilliant as you can put a treat inside and it provides loads of mental stimulation.

We also found that acknowledging her alerts, then reassuring her with a calm ‘thank you, Poppy’ helps validate her protective instincts while teaching her that not every situation requires a vocal response. It’s a good idea not to tell your dog off too much or harshly correct them. Remember, often your dog is thinking it is ‘protecting’ you and your home.

They honestly feel like they’re doing you a service! Lhasas especially do because they were bred as watch dogs for Tibetan monasteries. It honestly goes back centuries! Think how lucky you are to have these wonderful fluffy creatures looking out for you 24/7!

Final notes

While we treasure the unique personality of each Lhasa Apso, understanding and addressing the reasons behind excessive barking can lead to a more peaceful and enjoyable home life. Remember, patience and consistency are key. By providing love, proper training, and a supportive environment, you’ll likely find a happy medium between necessary barking and tranquility.

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