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Do you have a biting Yorkshire Terrier? Don’t fret, you’re definitely not alone! Many owners have fallen victim to a nip to the ankles, fingers, or pant legs, and it can be not only irritating, but painful too!
To rectify this troublesome out-of-control behavior, it’s best to first understand it. Does it come from their territorial nature? Or are they afraid? Perhaps there is an underlying medical issue, such as agitating pain. Or has their nuisance biting simply become habit?
It can be tricky to find the culprit behind the behavior, as it can be a mix of more than one culprit.
If your Yorkshire Terrier is still a puppy, then it’s likely they could be going through teething, and need to chew on toys and human fingers to soothe the pain and irritation in their gums. But this process can soon become habit, and even after their troublesome teething has long passed, they can still continue to bite.
It will be more obvious to you if your Yorkie is biting out of fear. If a stranger or visitor comes over for a cup of coffee, watch for signs of fear by seeing if they avoid eye contact, hold their tail between their legs, or display cowering.
If your Yorkie is showing signs of aggression, it could be a mix between wanting to protect their territory, and that they may also be afraid.
If you think that there could be a medical issue that is causing undue irritation to your Yorkie, which in turn is causing irritability, it’s best to take your pup for a visit to the vet just to rule out any possible issues.
What Causes Yorkie Puppy Biting
Yorkshire Terrier puppies usually bite because adequate boundaries have not been established. The important thing is to address the biting before it become a serious issue. It’s one thing for a puppy to nip, but a full-grown Yorkshire Terrier can cause a nasty bite on an unsuspecting victim.
The best time to address a biting issue is in the first 6 months of their lives, before the biting becomes a habit, and when they are learning their social boundaries. The effort that is required to fix the behavioral issue at this stage is far less than if you were to attempt to stop the biting later on in their life.
It’s also worth noting that biting should never be tolerated at any age. It might seem like a fun game to a pup and their nips aren’t painful, but these sort of playful biting games must be avoided at all costs.
Why do Yorkshire Terriers Bite?
Yorkies can be very territorial and without proper training, this trait will run rampant. Letting them go unchecked can result in unwanted behaviors such as biting.
Their territorial nature will have them guarding their most favorite toys, bed, treats, and of course, their owner.
It’s important to establish who is boss early on and always maintain a level of superiority.
If you allow your Yorkie puppy free reign, then they will take full advantage of you and before you realize it, they will be running the house.
Of course, it’s also worth saying that their biting doesn’t always come from a place of “I’m boss!” Sometimes Yorkies are just a little too vigorous and high spirited.
But luckily for Yorkie owners there are ways to address their biting and nipping.
Here is a list of what you can do to put a stop to your biting Yorkshire Terrier puppy:
How to maintain who’s boss
Never allow your puppy to lead the way into or out of the house. You must lead the way and show who is top dog.
Always ensure your Yorkie puppy obeys the “Sit” command before receiving anything to eat. That means mealtime, treat time, or any time food is given.
Give solid boundaries to your Yorkie. Perhaps it’s your bed, or a lounge suite, or a room. There should always be a place that your dog is not allowed to go in your home.
Crate training can also help in this, as it not only gives them a safe space to sleep, but also gives them a clear boundary to their sleeping quarters and yours.
And this doesn’t just go for you. Any members of the household should also maintain a level of superiority.
By following through with the above rules for maintaining leadership, your puppy will always know who is boss and will show you more respect when you need to pull rank.
Dogs are pack animals and will respect their pack leader. If other family members also follow these rules, then your dog will keep getting knocked down the ranks until they become the follower of the pack.
When a bite or nip occurs, you can respond with a training aid that will deter the behavior. One such thing is an empty coke can with some coins or marbles inside. When the unwanted behavior occurs, shake the can and say “No biting” or “Gentle!” in a low dominant voice without shouting, while maintaining eye contact.
When you receive a nip or bite, shriek “Ouch!” in your best highest pitch. Follow this again with, “No biting,” in a low dominant tone, but again, don’t shout. You don’t want your pup to become afraid of you.
Another thing you can try is when the bite occurs, place your thumb down under their tongue and again say, “No biting.” It will not cause pain but can be uncomfortable and can deter the behavior.
If the above methods don’t work, you can try a time-out area. A gated area is perfect for this, and when your Yorkie starts biting, place them into time out. They should still be able to see the family, but once there, you must ignore them so they feel temporarily ostracized from the family. Nothing should be said to them during this time.
If you are using the time-out method with a puppy Yorkshire Terrier, then 5 minutes may be adequate. After this period of time, being them back into the situation they were in when they were biting. If you were walking through the house, do so again and wait and see if the behavior shows itself again. If they begin biting again, then take them back to time out and do it all over again.
The time out method can take several attempts, and may last a couple of weeks, but eventually they will rectify their behavior so they can stay in contact with their loved ones.
Like the time out method, but on a smaller scale, if your pup starts biting during play, then immediately stop playing with them and tell them “No biting.” and/or shake the can.
Follow this up with ignoring them, no petting, no talking. When they are calm, you can resume play.
Remember that whenever your Yorkshire puppy shows positive behaviors, such as calm play, or not biting when they normally would have, you should reward them with treats, pats, and positive talking.
When Will My Yorkie Stop Biting?
The length of the process will depend upon their age and how ingrained the habitual biting has become. However, following the above remedies, you will have your Yorkshire Terrier eating out of the palm of your hand in no time. It could take days or weeks, but the most important thing is to stay consistent.
If you sometimes allow your pup onto the sofa that they’re never usually allowed on, or to sometimes eat from your plate, then you will undo all your good work. Consistency is key!
Marie started HoundGames with her husband, Geoff. She is a life long dog lover and always wanted to start a business around dogs, and she's finally living out her dream. They hope to launch more products in the future!