The Temperament of a Tibetan Terrier

by Maura Wolf
Tibetan terriers watch the world through long fur that covers their eyes.

Tibetan terriers watch the world through long fur that covers their eyes.

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Temperament can be defined as the typical personality of a particular dog breed, but veterinarian, trainer and contributing writer for Dog Star Daily magazine, Ian Dunbar explains that a dog's temperament is “always in a state of flux, or developmental transition.” The American Kennel Club describes the Tibetan terrier’s temperament as “highly intelligent, sensitive, loyal, devoted and affectionate.” Each individual Tibetan terrier also possesses a unique temperament that evolves in response to external influences and experiences, such as puppyhood, socialization with people and animals, training, living conditions and quality of care.

Discerning With Strangers

Tibetan terriers might be aloof with strangers and protective of their people, according to the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, but some enjoy meeting and making friends with new people. The breed can be cautious or reserved, but extreme shyness is considered a fault by breed standards set forth by the American and the Canadian kennel clubs. To counteract your Tibetan terrier’s inclination toward shyness, begin socialization with humans during early puppyhood. When she is old enough to meet other animals, take her for walks and enroll her in a puppy socialization class.

Family Time

Tibetan terriers love their families. They are sensitive to their people's moods and seem to adapt to their own family's lifestyle. These dogs are mischievous, enjoy making people laugh and want to please those they love. They are cheerful, affectionate and playful with adult family members and with gentle and considerate children. Tibetan terriers want to be involved in every aspect of family life, according to the Tibetan Terrier Club of Canada. The Tibetan Terrier Club of America says that Tibetan terriers are happy to curl up with you while you're watching TV and eager to participate with the family in both indoor and outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, snow sports and agility.

Positive Training

An intelligent breed, Tibetan terriers want to learn and if trained properly, will try to do whatever you ask of them. They respond best to positive training methods and need consistency and direction. Otherwise, they might end up trying to train their humans. Training a dog with a strong personality requires time, energy, patience and a lifelong commitment to being involved on a daily basis. Virginia Hoffmann, a certified dog trainer and member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, warns that Tibetan terriers would rather do what they want to do and seldom grow out of unwanted behaviors.

Exercise for Body and Mind

Tibetan terriers are willing to join whatever activity their person wants to do. While some might not demand exercise, they all need it, so daily walks are essential for both physical and mental stimulation. Without enough physical exertion, a Tibetan terrier might channel her energy into negative behavior. Try to give your dog a chance to run freely when in a safe, fenced-in area. If a Tibetan terrier lives with another dog, the two of them will play, creating activities that provide exercise during the day.

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