How to Stop Yorkshire Terrier Aggressive Behavior

Yorkie Barking

If your little Yorkie is acting up, no matter how cute your little friend is, you may be at wits’ end and need some advice on how to stop his aggressive behavior towards other dogs as well as people.

With the idea that this small dog can cause harm to children when it acts aggressively, we would like to give you some information that will be helpful in dealing with this problem.

With a usual unique personality of being lively, quick mentally and physically and inquisitive, aggressive behavior may have been started when your dog was just a puppy.


Some frequent cause of aggression include the following, according to DogAppy:

  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Health problems
  • Loneliness
  • Puppy taken from litter at a very young age
  • Confusion as to who is the leader

Fear – According to Cesar Millan fear of other dogs while on a walk is part of the fight, flight or avoidance response to danger.

The natural thing is to hide or run. However, if this is not possible, the dog will begin to be aggressive towards other dogs.

Millan mentions that:

“A dog in a constant state of anxiety can eventually stop trying to run or hide first because its internal energy is very high and very scattered, so they can progress to reacting aggressively to everything.”

Frustration and Loneliness – Your Yorkie needs exercise and stimulation.

Yorkie looking at the camera

If left at home by himself every day he becomes frustrated and lashes out. Alone in an apartment for twelve hours a day can be a cause of frustration that leads to aggressive behavior.

Health Problems – Before anything else, your dog should be examined by a vet to ensure that the aggression is not due to a health cause and its discomfort.

It should be assessed if your Yorkie is in pain, as that could cause him to lash out when touched.

Since Yorkies are prone to hypothyroidism, that condition could make your dog more aggressive, according to Cuteness.

Because an unwanted behavior becomes more prevalent the more it is rehearsed, you’ll want to start removing your dog from a situation that is causing the aggression, at least for the time being, so that the behavior does not become even stronger or more difficult to resolve.

Limited exposure to a situation, such as growling at a neighbor, is the first step in overcoming the issue.

Some Helpful Changes

By desensitizing your Yorkie and changing his emotional behavior, you can be on the road to overcoming his Dogzilla-like behavior.

Often behavior modification, such as giving him treats when he sees another dog, can be done after consulting with a professional.

Some steps that can be taken include:

  • Changing his emotions
  • Training for alternate behavior
  • Avoiding “cute dog” syndrome due to your Yorkie’s size

Changing the emotions in your Yorkie may begin by giving him treats on a walk, as you come upon other dogs.

In this case, fear turns to a happier emotion. Instead of looking at other dogs with fear, he may begin to stick by your side and look up to you.

Your dog can be trained and rewarded.

Picking him up as other dogs walk by only causes confusion; he should be trained to find an alternate behavior to fear when passing other dogs.

Yorkie laid down

You should make sure your Yorkie is socialized. “Cute dog” syndrome is the assumption that due to his size and cuteness, your Yorkie can cause no harm with his aggressive behavior.

Guidance at an early age will ensure that fear, frustration, and aggression are nipped in the bud.


With the background of the Yorkshire Terrier being that of a dog used in the mines to hunt rats, being aggressive is part of their personality.

For this reason, the Yorkie is still thought of as a brave dog, a trait that has remained in his character.

Therefore it is important to begin the process of socialization at an early age. The dog should learn how to relate to people as well as other dogs and objects around them.

It is important that from the puppy stage, your Yorkie is around people.

Before an aggressive Yorkie can be retrained, it is imperative that his surroundings be a quiet, stable and happy environment.

It will take about 30 days in this type of environment before your Yorkie is ready to be retrained.

Never force your Yorkie to interact with other dogs if he does not want to.

Finding an easygoing, social dog to walk with at a reasonable distance is a good step in training your dog to be more sociable.

Your dog should be sterilized to prevent “dominant” behaviors due to competition with other dogs.

Ensuring a healthier pet, sterilization allows dogs of the same sex to play together rather than be in a competitive mode.

Steps to Take in Treating

Here are some tips that can help in treating aggressive Yorkie behavior.

  1. Ensure a quiet and stable environment
  2. Do not scorn
  3. Practice obedience for your dog
  4. Avoid stressful situations
  5. Take your dog for good and suitable walks

Ensuring a quiet and stable environment allows your dog to relax and be calm. A calm family gives cues that promote a calm dog.

Yorkie puppy

Do not scorn; positive reinforcement works where scorning causes more anxiety. Give treats, hugs, and prizes to promote good behavior in your Yorkie.

At the same time, you should remain calm and positive to assure that the dog is happy while learning new behaviors.

Take your Yorkie for walks of at least 90 minutes daily. These can be two or three short walks. You can get several tips on how to walk your dog here.

Aggressive behavior in your Yorkie can be treated with some smart steps, good luck!

Marcelle Landestoy
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