The name “Tibetan Terrier” is actually misleading, as these dogs are not technically terriers and don't exhibit common terrier traits. They were given the “terrier” moniker because of their size only. Though they are lively and plucky like a terrier, Tibetans are also very gentle and good matured and are rarely high strung. They are highly adaptable dogs and can live in an apartment or sprawling estate, in the city or in the country. All they ask is that they be walked daily, be given the opportunity to romp and play (especially in snowy weather) and that they be the center of your world. Tibetans were designed to be companion dogs only, they have no history as hunters or herders, and are happiest when they are with the people who they love. They are excellent all-around family dogs who will romp and play happily with children and then curl up next to mom and dad for an evening of rest and relaxation.
Tibetan Terriers are not as athletic as other terriers, but they do need regular exercise to maintain health, happiness and their sweet temperament. Daily walks and the regular opportunity to run and play are all they require. Active owners will find enjoyment from enrolling their Tibetan Terrier in advanced obedience where they excel, and agility, where they tend to be late bloomers, but definitely hold their own.
Tibetan Terriers are moderately difficult to train, but once they catch on, they learn quickly and soak up new lessons. It helps to start training early, when your terrier is a puppy and more amenable to the training process. Sessions should be kept short to hold is interest, and treats should be the motivator. Once he knows there is something in it for him, a Tibetan Terrier will do whatever he can for a treat.
The sweet and sensitive nature of the Tibetan Terrier makes this breed exceptional therapy dogs. They love people, soak up attention whenever possible and are very sensitive to the needs and emotions of the people around him. They have an uncanny way of knowing whether a person would appreciate a simple head in their lap for comfort, or if that person needs a good laugh. This skill makes him a natural with the elderly and infirm.
Tibetan Terriers adore their own people and shower them with love, attention and affection. If not properly socialized around new people, however, they can be quite standoffish and reserved. If left unchecked, this can become possessiveness and lead to problems. As a puppy, you must introduce a Tibetan Terrier to as many new people as possible, to help him develop the trademark Tibetan nature with people.
Because this breed is so needy of human companionship, they can develop severe separation anxiety. Proper exercise can help, but Tibetan Terriers are best suited for retirees or with families who have flexible work schedules, or where there is a stay at home parent.