The Lhasa apso is a little dog with a big personality. Lhasas are companion dogs that tend to be suspicious of strangers and loyal to their families. Bred as monastery watchdogs in Tibet, Lhasas typically only bark when they feel there is reason to do so, such as at unfamiliar sounds or to herald unknown people or animals. The American Kennel Club describes the Lhasa's personality as joyful, dignified and aloof. Lhasa apsos do well as an only pet, but they can get along with other pets if accustomed to them early in life. The Lhasa can be possessive with belongings and owners, and may become aggressive when protecting them.
Visit your veterinarian on a regular schedule. Like all dogs, the Lhasa apso requires regular immunizations and booster shots to stay healthy. Lhasas are generally healthy and hardy dogs, although the breed is subject to some known genetic diseases, including skin problems and blocked tear ducts. Hip dysplasia is also seen in the Lhasa apso. Regular visits to your veterinarian can help identify and diagnose a problem early.
Feed your Lhasa half a cup of high-quality dry food twice daily. Adjust the quantity according to your Lhasa's activity level and overall weight and health. Lhasas have difficulty digesting grains, so choose a dog food that contains as few as possible. The package should list meat high on the ingredients list. The farther down on the list it is, the less there is in the product.
Groom your Lhasa apso regularly. The most identifiable trait of a Lhasa is his long, smooth coat. In show dogs, this coat must be left long, necessitating frequent grooming and baths. Lhasas not headed for the show ring can have their coats trimmed short, simplifying the grooming ritual. Long-haired Lhasas require daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Use a spray conditioner to wet the coat first. Never brush your Lhasa while his coat is completely dry. Bathe a long-haired Lhasa once every week or two. Lhasas that have been trimmed typically don't require so much attention to their coats. They need to be brushed only a few times a week and bathed every two to three weeks. Toenails should be professionally trimmed once or twice a month, while teeth need regular brushing to prevent tartar buildup and bad breath.
Walk your Lhasa apso daily. Lhasas don't require much exercise to stay healthy, and they can be content indoors for long periods. Take your Lhasa out daily for a walk, and offer him appropriate chew toys to play with on his own. A little attention and play with you should be all the exercise your Lhasa needs to expend any extra energy he may have.
Encourage proper behavior. Lhasas are intelligent, but they require consistent, firm training to encourage appropriate behavior. Use a dog crate to provide your Lhasa a safe place to go when he feels stressed, such as when you have visitors or during thunderstorms, and to keep him from doing mischief if left alone at home. Use positive reinforcement to encourage correct behavior during training sessions. Supervise interactions between your dog and other animals, children and new adults.