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Yorkie Aggression Issues

Help for Yorkshire Terrier Aggression

What represents an aggressive Yorkie? Is it barking? Growling? Or does it cross the line at biting?

Is it clear what is causing your dog to act this way...Or are you stunned about how your graceful Yorkshire Terrier is behaving? First, one should know that this behavior is not a common trait of this breed.

When a Yorkie shows aggression it may manifest in several ways:

• Snapping - This is a warning, without actual biting that breaks the skin

• Nipping - A fast, light bite that does not break the skin

• Biting - A severe form of dog aggression, this should be considered serious and training should be implemented right away to correct this behavior

• Growling - A warning that the dog is thinking about snapping, nipping or biting...Something is highly disturbing him or her....Or the dog is feeling threatened and vulnerable, thus putting them on the defense.

• Barking - Barking loudly with a deep tone, suggests aggressive behavior

Tips to Help with an Aggressive Yorkie When Children Are Involved

A Yorkshire Terrier, or any other dog breed, may become annoyed if play time with young children lasts too long or the play is too rough. Playing with a puppy or dog is an aspect children in your home will look forward to the most. 

Nevertheless, children should be taught to never pick up and toss (even if it is a short distance onto a soft element such as a pillow), push or tease the dog. A Yorkie may see actions as the child trying to establish dominance over the dog...And the Yorkshire Terrier may then react by showing dominance; purely by impulse.
Things to Look at First

When a Yorkie is aggressive, one of the first elements to take into consideration is the dog's age. Is your Yorkie a puppy? Is he between the age of 4 to 10 months old? If so, what appears to be aggression may sometimes actually be categorized as a teething issue.

For many pups, this phase brings about intense itchiness to the gums along with great discomfort. This may be near constant or have it's peaks and down times. The bottom line is that nipping or acting aggressive may be due to this temporary issue.
Yorkshire Terrier looks unhappy
This is not to say that any sort of hostile behavior toward family members or anyone else should be tolerated... however understanding the reasons for nipping and acting a bit hostile due to teeth erupting can often be resolved by offering relief to that issue. Our teething section covers all of the details, however 2 helpful tips are to offer frozen flavored ice cubes and the proper chew toys. 
Injury or Illness

Canines, of course, cannot tell us when they are feeling bad or are in pain. Puppies and dogs may either retreat (find a quiet place to be alone) or they may act out (aggressive behavior, nipping). In the case of acting out due to injury or illness, a Yorkie may bite, nip at, bark at or otherwise act aggressive particularly when his owner attempts to pick him up, touch him (during grooming, baths, etc.) or when the vulnerable dog feels that he is being encroached upon (his personal space is "invaded" when he is feeling weak or in pain. 

When a dog - that otherwise has friendly, "normal" behavior, suddenly acts aggressive, it is often due to an underlying health problem that is affecting that dog enough to make him feel vulnerable - even with human family members that are "trusted".
Strangers, Visitors and Others

If you do not see teething as a reason and if your Yorkie is cleared with a professional health check, it will be time to look to other triggers. When an aggressive Yorkshire Terrier seems to be displaying this behavior toward any people, whether these be strangers, visitors or others, the dog does often has a reason even if it does not make sense to the owner.

The dog, without training, will make up its own mind as to whether a person, known or unknown, is a threat to not only the dog but to the family and home. 

The Yorkie is usually a rather good protector and barking at the noise of the door bell or at those walking close to your home can be helpful. 

If your Yorkie barks at people that you welcome to your home, you must show your him or her that the visitor is a friend and that there is no threat. Have that person give the Yorkie a treat.  

Speak to the person in a peaceful, happy tone. Your Yorkie will follow your lead. He or she will read your words and your actions Gently pat your dog , tell them that "All is okay"....And give praise whenever your dog is calm around others.
Remember that positive praise is the best method to show your dog what is expected. Good behavior = attention and treats, that bad behavior = no attention, no treats and life is generally a lot more fun when behaving appropriately.

Yorkies that growls or even try to nip at people will need focused training; this usually involves social isolation. Social isolation is the method of ignoring the dog to such a degree that he believes he is being banished by his 'pack'. And one should not confuse this with physical isolation, since simply placing the dog into another room doesn't really teach any sort of lesson at all. In fact, it can cause more stress and a higher level of aggression. 

In addition, all human family members should make clear rules to teach the dog that it is the humans that are in charge. This can be accomplished with strict feeding guidelines - the dog must obey the 'sit' command before any meal or snack is given, humans always enter and exit the house first, nothing but heeling is acceptable when walking and as long as the Yorkie is aggressive he is not to be on the same physical level of his humans.  Owners do not sit on the floor and the dog is not allowed up on the sofa, etc.

Extreme aggression involving biting which draws blood, it very rare for this breed. Training to resolve this may or may not be successful and should be conducted by a certified animal behavioral expert. 
What's in the most comprehensive Yorkie book that exists?
  • 24 Behavior Issues
  • 34 Health Issues
  • Seasonal Care
  • Puppy Care
  • Senior Care
  • Female Care
  • Feeding - Calories, Nutritional needs, Supplements, Under-eating
  • Exercise - Indoor, Outdoor, Alternative Activities
  • And so much more. Now in both Print & eBook. See what's inside.
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