Tiny but mighty.
That is a good way to describe Yorkies.
But “mighty” does not refer to physical strength. Instead, it refers to a huge personality and stubborn braveness.
That can easily lead to aggression. Of course, not all Yorkies are aggressive.
But do they tend to be more aggressive than other dogs?
And if so, is there anything you can do to reign in that aggression?
Keep reading to learn if Yorkies are aggressive in comparison to other breeds, what can cause aggression in dogs, and how to handle an aggressive pup.
- 1 Are Yorkies Aggressive?
- 2 Why Yorkies Are Aggressive
- 2.1 Reasons Yorkies Are Aggressive With Other Dogs
- 2.2 Reasons Yorkies Are Aggressive With Humans
- 3 Dealing With Aggressiveness In Yorkies
- 4 Yorkies Are Aggressive: Final Thoughts
Are Yorkies Aggressive?
The Yorkshire terrier was originally bred to hunt down vermin, like rats. Because rats are very aggressive, Yorkies had to be fearless and stubborn.
Even today, they retain these qualities. That means that Yorkshire terriers as a whole can be more aggressive than other breeds.
That said, aggression comes from the environment. If you provide your pup the right environment, chances are high it will not develop into an aggressive dog.
In order to do that, you first need to know what types of things can cause dogs to become aggressive.
Why Yorkies Are Aggressive
We generally identify aggressive dogs as ones that growl or bark a lot or that bite people or animals. Some even kill humans or other pets. It is always very particular reasons that trigger these types of behaviors in your Yorkshire terrier.
To combat this, it’s advisable to put your pup through socialization training when it is still very young. It will learn how to relate to people, objects in the surrounding environment, and other dogs.
Such positive contact on a constant basis teaches your dog how to react to daily situations. However, there are some dogs that will still show aggressive behavior, despite such socialization training.
Some things that cause such aggressiveness in a Yorkshire terrier include:
- Health problems
Aside from that, it’s important to take into consideration that Yorkshire terriers were used as hunting dogs. Yorkies were used to drive away rats, most commonly in miners’ houses. Rats are very aggressive and that is the reason for the bravery inherent in Yorkies.
Reasons Yorkies Are Aggressive With Other Dogs
The Yorkie is a small dog, that’s for sure. However, despite its tiny size, it is a brave and curious dog whose temperament can go to unexpected extremes.
In order to know the best way to deal with your dog, it’s important that you analyze and observe the dog’s behavior over a given period of time.
Anxiety And Stress
Unfamiliar situations and confinement are major reasons for anxiety and stress in dogs. Keeping your Yorkshire terrier in a kennel, for example, could cause it to feel anxious, stressed and insecure.
That is because locking up your dog breaches at least 5 of its freedoms. Also, when you confine a dog, it doesn’t get the chance to undergo proper training, because it never gets the chance to experience training in the best way possible.
It’s quite common for some dogs to exert dominance over others. This mostly happens to dogs that have not undergone sterilization.
Sterilization of your Yorkshire terrier can come with a whole load of benefits. Besides reducing the onset of some diseases, it makes interactions between two male Yorkies much smoother.
This is common with dogs that have suffered a negative experience at some point. Such a dog could either end up barking a lot or portray aggressive behavior when it feels fear.
In such a case, you don’t just wake up one day and force your Yorkie to interact with other dogs. First of all, you must give it space to start interacting gradually.
You can consider taking walks around parks with sociable dogs but maintaining a safe distance in order to avoid any conflicts.
Poor Socialization Skills
Just like in humans, socialization is a very crucial part of every dog’s life. It helps dogs relate well with each other.
A dog with poor socialization skills may not realize that its time to stop playing when another dog growls. Or it may not understand the natural hierarchy of packs.
High Level Of Reactivity
You’ve probably seen a very sociable dog bark aggressively at another dog. Well, not all dogs that are highly reactive actually intend to attack. You’ll be surprised that some of them are actually very sociable. Some of these reactive dogs have only formed this habit over time by repeating it time and again.
Reasons Yorkies Are Aggressive With Humans
When a Yorkie is very aggressive to humans, it can be an incredibly complicated problem to deal with. Are Yorkshire terriers dangerous? Obviously, they are tiny dogs. This means that they can do very little harm to humans.
However, living with an aggressive Yorkie can still be worrying, and even harmful. And if you have small children in the house, even a small Yorkie can present a danger.
Most aggressive dogs have a traumatic story behind their aggressive behavior. Dogs become aggressive when they receive physical scorning or any other forms of ill-treatment.
This means that you should never hit your dog or it may end up biting you. You can say that people who hit dogs deserve to get bit (and we won’t argue), but it is always the dog that gets blamed and not the human.
Protection Of Their Resources
Your dog might bite or growl, if you get anywhere near its toys, food or bed. If your Yorkshire terrier depicts such behavior, don’t admonish it. This may just make the situation worse.
If your Yorkie is showing you that it doesn’t want you near its resources, it’s best that you comply. You could also try offering your dog food directly from your hands. This way, your pup will understand you are the one that provides the food in the first place.
In dogs as in humans, what triggers fear is previous negative experiences. Therefore, if your dog has had negative experiences with strangers or people in its environment, it is likely to be aggressive.
This is a long term problem that needs a very careful approach for your dog to improve. Your main focus should be making your Yorkie feel more comfortable and confident around people.
Most dogs that have undergone training to attack or defend could show extremely aggressive behavior. If an inexperienced or incapable trainer did the dog’s training, it could be hard to treat the negative behavior. This may be not be a common occurrence with tiny Yorkshire terriers, but it could still happen.
Sometimes a dog could be barking aggressively at another dog and then turn around and bite you or someone else. In most cases, this is a spontaneous situation that is likely caused by extreme anxiety.
It is probable that the only reason the dog bit you is because your leg was there and that’s where the dog saw fit to redirect the attack. It is therefore important that you keep a safe distance when your dog is extremely anxious.
Dealing With Aggressiveness In Yorkies
To deal with aggressiveness in your Yorkshire terrier, it’s always important that you first identify what causes the aggressiveness in the first place. In the sections above, we have analyzed some of these reasons although we still have many more.
That is why, at some point, you might need to seek professional assistance from an ethologist. These professionals in depicting animal behavior, will offer you proper guidelines on how to deal with your furry friend. In addition to professional help, you can follow these basic tips to improve your dog’s behavior.
Provide A Quiet And Stable Environment
This should be the first step in improving your dog’s temperament. It’s important that you provide a safe and comfortable environment for your Yorkie.
Dogs learn from the families they live with. Being part of a relaxed and calm family results in the dogs being calmer and less aggressive, too. It is the only way a Yorkie can be a good family dog.
Don’t Admonish Your Dog
If your dog is suffering from extreme anxiety or high-stress, the last thing that you should do is admonish it. Bad treatment only makes the problem worse.
If you want to promote the desired behavior, you must do it from a point of positive reinforcement. That is the only way to eventually get your pup feeling more comfortable relating to both people and other dogs. Learn how to stop a Yorkie from biting the right way.
Train Your Yorkshire To Be Obedient
A dog will always comply better when accustomed to receiving orders. That’s why it is a good idea to have training sessions of about 15 minutes every day. After a while, you begin to notice your dog becoming more obedient.
During the training, don’t forget to give your small rewards when it does well. This could be a tasty treat, or effusive praise that makes it clear you’re happy with whatever your dog did.
Ensure that you have a calm and positive attitude during training, so that your pup adopts the same attitude. When your dog embraces a positive attitude, it becomes easier to teach it new behaviors.
Keep Stress Levels To A Minimum
There are some dogs that will portray aggressive behavior due to high-stress levels. If your dog reacts badly when under a lot of stress, it’s important that you avoid any situations that may induce stress. In the end, your dog will end up being less aggressive.
You can try to engage your dog in something fun like playing chase and catch games, walks, and many more activities. This will keep your Yorkie focused on engaging in play, rather than stress.
Take Walks With Your Dog
Your dog needs to take walks on a daily basis for at least 90 minutes. This helps burn off the excess energy that may at times lead to aggressiveness. Try to take a long early morning or late evening walk every single day.
However, you need to be watchful of the common mistakes people are prone to make when walking their dog.
Avoid The Small Cute Dog Syndrome
Just like many other small dogs, Yorkies are very likely to experience developmental problems due to their small size. Many dog owners tend to overlook these problems because they consider them cute.
But just like any other dog, Yorkies need to undergo extensive training and socialization. They need guidance on what they can do and what they can’t.
The training should commence when your Yorkie is still very young. That minimizes the chances of aggression, fear, and frustration.
Don’t let your Yorkie get way with aggressive behavior just because you think it seems cute when it behaves that way. Start your Yorkie off on the right foot and you’ll have a much happier future together.
Be The Pack Leader
Yorkies are highly energetic dogs with a fair share of cleverness. If not kept in check, they are likely to hoist themselves onto the throne and become king of your household.
Then they suddenly have everyone else at their back and call. Don’t let this happen.
As the dog owner, you need to be the pack leader. This will ensure your furry friend remains tightly reined in. In the end, your Yorkie will learn and accept its place.
Yorkies Are Aggressive: Final Thoughts
If you own a Yorkshire terrier, you need to understand that assertiveness and dominance are part of their temperament. It is a trait they are known for. You’ll need to put your Yorkie through training so that it learns how to socialize. Otherwise, your pup might end up being aggressive toward people and other animals.
It’s important to understand that treating your dog’s aggressiveness will take time, dedication and a lot of patience. It not a matter of waking up one day and boom! Your dog is okay.
Follow through with your training patiently, follow the tips in this article, and in the long term, your Yorkie will learn to behave in the correct manner. Good luck!
Very informative. If a Yorkie is very aggressive at times at 14 weeks old will they grow out of it
Mike Kelsen says
Hard to say. They generally calm down with age, but some do stay aggressive their whole lives.