Some Yorkies are just aggressive and growl all the time.
But most are not.
That makes it all the more alarming when your dog suddenly growls at you.
What did you do to deserve that?
And do you need to worry that your dog might do more than just growl?
Unfortunately, the answer to the latter question is yes.
A growl can often lead to a nip, or even a full bite.
It just depends on the reason for the growl.
Keep reading to learn why a Yorkshire terrier might grow at you and what you should do about it.
Why Is My Yorkie Growling At Me?
The most common reasons your Yorkie might be growling at you is if it is frightened, has aggression issues, or is feeling pain, possibly from teething or some other underlying health issue.
Some Yorkies also growl when they are playing. You often see this when two dogs play. It can be a sign of a healthy play session and does not indicate aggressive behavior.
Another reason Yorkies grow is to protect their possessions. For example, if you try to take your dog’s bone or favorite toy, it might growl at you.
If your Yorkie is growling as a form of aggression, it will likely display other signs of aggression as well. Yorkies are not naturally aggressive dogs, though. If your dog is showing any of the following signs, there is probably an underlying issue.
Snapping is usually a warning sign. This form of aggression is not actually a full bite, but it can still break the skin. Yorkies snap to let you know that you should take a step back and leave them alone.
Nipping is a lighter form of snapping. Here, your Yorkie will give you a quick, light bite that won’t break the skin.
Biting is the most severe form of dog aggression. If your Yorkie bites you, then you should treat this in a very serious manner.
You dog will need to undergo training to rectify the issue. And if your Yorkie has bitten another person, or even a child, it could potentially be put down.
If your Yorkie barks in a deep tone, then this can be considered another form of aggression. Your Yorkie is being vocal with its aggression and using it as a loud warning, telling you to keep away.
As mentioned, growling in this context is also a form of aggression. It means that your dog is thinking about snapping, nipping, or biting. In other words, it is letting you know it will escalate the situation, if needed.
This means something is disturbing your Yorkie, or it feels threatened or vulnerable, and it can see there is a need to be defensive.
If your Yorkie is between the ages of four and ten months, then it could be growling at you because it is teething. During this stressful time, your dog has constant irritation in its mouth and gums.
This can include soreness, itchiness, and heaps of discomfort. This irritation is what can cause your Yorkie to growl or nip at you.
A teething Yorkie can easily be in a foul mood because of the discomfort in its mouth. This form of aggression should only be temporary.
Your Yorkie should start to relax once it is out of this nasty teething stage.
You can help to alleviate some of the discomforts that come with teething by giving your Yorkie special teething toys or foods that it can chomp and chew on.
If your Yorkie has recently become injured then this could also be the cause of its sudden growling. It could be feeling particularly vulnerable after its injury, especially if the injury is hindering it in some way, for example if it can’t walk.
Your pup may growl at you if you try to pick it up, because it could be worried that you will grab it where it is injured and potentially hurt it even more than it is already hurt.
If your Yorkie goes from being completely normal to showing signs of aggression out of the blue, it could potentially have an underlying health issue. This is true for any type of sudden change in your Yorkie’s behavior.
It could be feeling pain on the inside, or disorientation, which can lead to it becoming snappy. If you feel this could be the case then you should take your dog to the vet for a check-up, so that they can determine the issue and provide any necessary treatment.
Yorkies often growl when they are scared. For example, this can manifest when they meet a stranger for the first time. Their automatic response is to growl at them. It’s their way of saying to back off.
Yorkies may growl at you when you try to touch their possessions. This can include food, a toy, or a bone.
To them, it looks like you are trying to take their food or toy without their permission, so they growl to let you know to leave their possession alone and back off.
How To Respond If Your Yorkie Growls At You
Whatever you are doing to cause your dog to growl at you, you should stop it immediately, even if you consider what you’re doing to be showing your dog love. It means your dog could be close to biting you, so you want to stop right away.
Once you have put yourself at a safe distance between you and your dog, try to figure out why it is growling at you. If it has come on suddenly, then it could be due to a change in environment or because it is not feeling well.
How To Stop Your Yorkie From Growling
There are certain things you can try to curb your Yorkie’s aggression and stop it from growling at you. First, you’re going to want to make sure your Yorkie is living in a relaxed and stable environment. This should help it to be calmer and become less aggressive.
You should try not to scorn your dog unless it is absolutely necessary. And it rarely, if ever, is, to be honest. If your Yorkie is anxious or has high-stress levels, then scorning it will make it more likely to lash out.
You can also take your Yorkie to training sessions. These sessions will teach it to be obedient and should help with any unwanted aggressiveness.
Make sure you’re taking your Yorkie on plenty of walks. Exercise is a great mood lifter and can help to keep stress levels at a minimum. Your Yorkie will start burning away all of that pent-up energy that can cause it to be snappy.
Should I Punish My Dog For Growling At Me?
It isn’t the best idea to punish your dog for growling at you. This could have the opposite effect and may only add fuel to the fire.
The growling could lead to other forms of aggression such as snapping or biting. For your own safety, you should not punish your dog for growling.
Instead, you may want to treat your dog when it is relaxed. If you give it a treat, or simply affection, when it is relaxed, you show it that this is the behavior you want from it.
You don’t want to add punishment on top of an already unpleasant feeling. This is only going to make your dog feel worse.
Make sure that instead, you are addressing the issue at hand, providing your dog with training, keeping it relaxed, and rewarding any good behavior.\
With all of these combined, your Yorkie should soon stop showing aggression and you can go back to loving it without having to worry about any growling or nipping.
Why Does My Yorkie Growl At Me: Conclusion
In general, it is not a big problem if your Yorkie growls occasionally. There is usually a good reason behind it.
You just need to determine if your dog is growling because it is suffering. If it has a health issue that is causing discomfort, you should take it to the vet.
Of course, if your dog growls at you, or other people, all the time, then you may just have an aggressive dog on your hands. In that case, you should get it some training sessions.