Yorkshire Terriers are cute little terriers that can be just a little “quirky”. Trying to determine if the Yorkie is just “being a Yorkie” or is obsessed can be relatively simple, and well… fun! That crazy, quirky behavior could also be due to serious medical problems. Here are some tips to help you understand Yorkie behavior.
Known Yorkie behaviors include digging or scratching at the ground or floor. This is a common Yorkie behavior. Although if may look obsessive, a Yorkie is a member of the terrier family and was bred to hunt rats. When a Yorkie is digging at the floor, he is simply following his instincts and looking for a rat… or whatever else he thinks is down there.
Licking everything in sight, from his own paws to the furniture to you is enough to drive a sane Yorkie dog owner crazy. This Yorkie behavior can stem from something as simple as dry itchy skin or bad teeth. Yorkies are known to have dental problems, even when they are young. Good dental care is very important for Yorkies.
Becoming overly excited to the point of hyperventilating, even shaking is a common Yorkie behavior. The Yorkie is known to be the most people oriented breed and doesn’t like being alone. This behavior could be just from being over excited or from a serious condition called “collapsing trachea”. Collapsing trachea happens if the airway (trachea) flattens out; this can block the airway and cause hyperventilation. The lack of oxygen from collapsing trachea can cause shaking and hyperventilation. Your Yorkie should be checked by a vet if these symptoms continue or last longer than a few minutes. Calm the dog before the muscle spasms of the airway become worse.
Barking and yapping constantly is attributed to Yorkies, but this is only bad behavior and not specific to the Yorkie. Some Yorkie owners reward this bad behavior unknowingly by picking up the dog when it barks. The dog thinks being picked up is a reward, much like a dog treat. Simply train your Yorkie with one word, either “No!’ or “Quiet!” and the yapping stops.
Obsessive Yorkie behaviors are based in fear. Attacking the vacuum cleaner or broom is a common obsession. Since a Yorkie is usually seven pounds or less, the Yorkie is keenly aware of large objects in his territory. We humans don’t help this behavior- because chances are we will chase the Yorkie with the broom or vacuum, because it really is funny. Unfortunately, we are just reinforcing bad behavior.
Circling the area where food is served to him is an obsessive behavior. This is especially true if your Yorkie was the runt of the litter, as he’s probably had to fight for his fair share of food. You can help your Yorkie get over this fear by giving him his dog treats at his food bowl. He will soon learn to associate the food bowl with a reward instead of a fight.
Doing anything repeatedly for unknown reasons can be common in the Yorkie. For example, a Yorkie may refuse to walk in a certain area suddenly, after walking there for months. The Yorkie may suddenly start hiding when its time for food. Try to figure out what could be bothering him so you can remove the object of his obsession. If you cannot figure it out, try to ignore the obsessive behavior and it will probably change to a new obsession in a short time.
* Carry dog treats in your pocket to reward good behavior
* Remember a Yorkie is high spirited and quirky – expect and enjoy his quirkiness
* If your Yorkie has trouble breathing or swallowing, take him to a vet immediately; it could be life threatening for him
* If your Yorkie appears confused or weak, take him to a vet immediately; these are signs of lack of oxygen to the brain