Puppy Trouble

Posted by PuppyPal
Aug 12, 2008
We have a 6 year old female Lhasa (Cricket) that is very well behaved, loves people, etc. We now have a 4-1/2 month old male Lhasa (Riley). He is very socialized and the two dogs got along great from the beginning with one exception - feeding time.

Cricket eats slowly and Riley inhales. When Riley is finished, he sticks his head in Cricket's bowl while she's eating and this causes a fight. They are both on their hind legs, growling, snapping and biting. We pick the puppy up and he starts the aggression towards us. And sometimes when we pick him up in other situations, he growls and snaps.

We have tried putting him on his side and holding him down until he cools off, but he goes right back for the food. So now we've just resorted to feeding them separately. But they do the same thing over fresh bones. I'm afraid that if we had a guest that dropped some food on the floor, the result would be the same.

Help! I would appreciate any suggestions you may have to offer.

P.S. Two other smaller issues with the puppy:

1. He tries to eat his feces. We are giving him tablets that are supposed to make is taste bad, but this doesn't seem to work very well. I've heard he will grow out of this, but it's pretty disgusting. Instead of having him go in his exercise pen, I am now keeping him on a lease when he goes so I can get him away from it quickly.

2. He won't make eye contact with me when I hold him on my lap. Whether he's on his back or belly, he just turns his head away. He seems to like to sleep on my lap, but won't look at me.

Thanks so much.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 13, 2008
Hi PuppyPal,

I am not so familiar with the breed but my last foster dog was a 5 yrs old male Lahsa. He was a gentleman except for when I tried to pull him down from the couch and when I tried to take his favorite toy and bone away from him. Both times, he growled at me.

I have 3 bigger dogs but they never ever growl at me and they just drop bones/toys when I tell them to. They are allowed on the couch but they get off whenever I tell them to. Therefore, I was a bit surprised and felt uncomfortable when the Lahsa growled and tried to bite me. I started working on his obedience right away. I showed him I don't accept that kind of behavior right at the first growl. I think he was spoiled by his previous owner.

Since your puppy is only 4.5 mos old I hope he will soon learn that he should not act like that. You also said that Riley does not look at you in the eyes so I recommend you practice "watch me" with him. All the trainings start from getting the dog's attention. Make him sit in front of you and show him a tiny piece of treat and bring it right in between your eyes. He should follow the treat with his eyes. If he does, praise and give the treat. Repeat this several times. When he become accustomed to this action, introduce a command of "watch me". He will soon learn how to "watch me (you)".

Now as for the feeding time, I think you did a right thing to feed them separately. The best and easiest way to solve the problem is to eliminate the situation. When being fed separately there is nothing Riley can do.

When Riley has mastered "watch me" "sit" and "wait", resume feeding them in the same room but several feet apart under your supervision. When Riley finishes his meal tell him to stay there. When he tries to move toward Cricket, tell him "stay" again. Don't let him move until Cricket finishes her meal. You will make them closer and closer but don't ever let cricket put his head into Cricket's bowl. You will have to watch them whenever they eat but that is important because you want to prevent their fights before they start.

You might want to teach Riley to "drop it" and "leave it" when he masters the basic commands. Those are very handy commands in order to prevent/correct "resource guarding aggressions".

Good luck
Posted by PuppyPal
Aug 13, 2008
Thank you so much for your quick response. I will try your suggestions. I love both the dogs so much and truly want this to work out.

Thanks again.