Lhasa Apsos originated in Tibet, where monks used them to guard the monastery grounds. The monks also used the Lhasa Aspo in some religious ceremonies and generally held the dogs in the highest of regards. Today, Lhasas are trusty companion dogs who still take their watchdog role quite seriously. Lhasa owners agree, these dogs have no clue how small they are. They are fearless and often times bossy dogs who demand the attention of people whenever they are in the room. Some can be quite clownish, making mischief or performing for a laugh. They believe they are the center of the universe, and like any self-respecting diva, Lhasas can be quite moody. Despite their egos, Lhasas generally have a heart of gold and bring great joy to the homes they reside in.
Lhasa Apsos don't require an excessive amount of physical activity to maintain health or happiness. They should be walked daily to maintain fitness, and be allowed to run and stretch their legs at least once per week. They can live in homes of any size, from farms all the way down to city apartments, and they are capable of adapting their physical activity to match the physical activity level of their owner.
Training requires a lot of patience and a gentle hand. Lhasas can be willful, and if they decide they don't want to do something, they simply won't do it. Harsh treatment will often result in the dog retaliating. Lhasas respond best to food rewards, short training sessions and varied routines. Absolute consistency is important when working with a Lhasa Apso as they will see your bending the rules as an invitation to walk all over you. The time it takes to train a Lhasa is well worth the effort. Once leadership is established and the Lhasa learns that there is food in it for him, will step up to the plate and perform the tasks at hand.
Early and frequent socialization is important with this breed. They are naturally suspicious of strangers and this can get out of hand in the form of excessive barking and even nipping or snapping. It is imperative to teach a Lhasa to accept new people as welcome visitors.
Lhasas Apsos are not the best choice for families with small children. These dogs can be moody, possessive of their toys and food and will not take kindly to being teased. Older children should be taught to respect the Lhasas boundaries.
Lhasas are genetically hard-wired to be watch dogs, so even if you properly socialize your dog to accept visitors as welcome, it can be nearly impossible to train the barking alert out of them, and they will alert you (and the neighborhood) to every incoming person, vehicle or animal that comes his way.