Forums Live Q&A Questions Focus and ankle biting issues with our 6 month Lhasa Apso

  • Focus and ankle biting issues with our 6 month Lhasa Apso

  • getsmartpuppy6

    March 12, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Joey, our now 6 month Lhasa Apso rescue has been doing fairly well. He has been losing teeth and may have some more to drop. He has not had an accident for 3 weeks, is crate trained, sleeps with us, is play area is in the kitchen/eating area which we gate off from the rest of the house. He has gone through a 6 week puppy training at a well know pet store and did well.

    The following are some of the issues:

    1. He has started going after ankles, shoe laces and pants a lot over the last few weeks. we try to re-direct, offer treats- including chicken breast, toys but he stays focused. A few loud no’s and other weird noises and will need to pick him up and take him to his crate. Some of our play/training time will last up to an hour inside. He fetches, plays some tug, chews on some soft toys and we re-do lessons. Not sure if we are going too long. He will go after our feet of jump almost at any time. We make sure he goes potty before and after the play and training.

    2. He does fair with super recalls in low level surroundings and outside. But when he sees another dog on a leash, a person walking by or a car driving by, he starts pulling and lunging. Super recalls or watch-me or leave its do not work. He is focused and not sure what to do snap him out of it.

    3. When playing with some of his toys or outside sniffing, he does not focus. Recalls, leave its to not work. Even chicken right in front of him does not work.

    Looking forward to your answers to what he may be signalling and we are not capturing.

    Thank you in advance


  • Jake

    March 15, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    Congrats on your progress with training/crate training! Three weeks without an accident is great. And look at all those badges. Nice work. 🙂

    For the ankle/clothes biting: Yes, if the whole sequence of different redirection options doesn’t work, then a rest break in the crate is the next step.

    When biting becomes “redirection-resistant,” especially if they’re ignoring high value treats, that sounds very much like hyper attack mode.

    With this behavior, are there times when redirection DOES work? And do you notice any times of day, or any specific triggers, that start the ankle-biting?

    It could be that your play/training time could be going a bit too long, leading to the biting.

    Another option when he starts biting incorporates management: leave him in the kitchen play area, step just outside the gate to physically prevent him from being able to bite you, and work with him from there. You could play tug or the puppy taming game this way.

    Regarding the focus issues, Joey is approaching adolescence, which brings some changes in behavior. They become more independent and easily distracted at this age, so it’s not surprising (and not your fault!) that you have a hard time getting him to pay attention in these situations.

    Are you taking the Engagement and Focus Foundation course we’re currently running? I think that would be a good choice for Joey.

    In the meantime: when you’re in distracting situations, try to avoid using the super recall cue or any other cues like leave it or watch me. Instead, I’d focus entirely on the foundation attention games found in the Super Recall course and that new Engagement course.

    There’s also a lesson in the leash manners course I think will be relevant: Working through distractions

    Lunging at dogs/people/cars: to make sure I give the most appropriate advice, I have a few questions for ya:

    -How is Joey with other dogs in general? How was he with the people and dogs at your training class? Does he like to meet new people?

    -When he lunges, does he bark or growl? Does it seem to you like he wants to play, or he’s trying to scare them away, or something else?

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 10 hours ago by  Jake.
  • getsmartpuppy6

    March 15, 2023 at 11:39 pm


    Thank you. There are times when redirect works. Sometimes a sit/stay or a toy gets him to stop but probably about 25% of the time. And occurring at the beginning of a play/training session or the end. There are times when it appears that he needs out and he may want our attention but he does it outside also.

    Relative to Joey lunging at dogs/people and cars, he wants to get to them to have fun. He loved playing with his classmates during school and loves saying hi to everyone. Cars and delivery trucks are a concern. We are far enough away that he will not get close. Just wanting him to sit when cued and not jump on anyone or get bitty..

    Since you mentioned that his ankle biting may be a hyper attack mode, what do you think about using a water spray bottle when puppys act up? When going through puppy training at the big pet store, the trainer suggested to someone that they use the spray bottle when the puppy was chewing furniture. Several in the class said they have used this method with good results. How do you feel?

    Again thank you. Most appreciated,


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