Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)
Yorkshire Terriers are a fantastic breed for first time dog owners. They are adventurous and outgoing, are a manageable size and have a wonderfully pleasant demeanor. They respond very well training and, despite their small stature, have a loud yappy bark making them suitable watchdogs. They are often remembered for their shaggy head of hair but don’t be deceived by their cute appearance, Yorkies can be quite demanding and jealous if suitable boundaries aren’t put in place.
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Stories From Real Life Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) Owners
My Yorkie Happy Jack!
I always wanted a Yorkie. They are one of the most expensive toy breeds, but my husband surprised me with one for my birthday. I’ll never forget the day that I got Jack. He was one of two in the litter. I got to pick him out from our local breeder. I felt like a new mom as I carried around my furry friend. Right away, I knew Jack was the pup for me because of his sweet demeanor. While his sister preferred to nip and chew on me, he was content just to lick me and snuggle. I guess he was an anomaly when it comes to Yorkshire Terriers as they are pretty hyper dogs.
Potty Training A Yorkie
Wherever I go, Jack was always by my side. While typing on my computer, he laid at my feet. To this day, he still follows me from room to room longing for affection and closeness. We started the potty training journey with the crate method. I will tell you that due to Jack’s yearning to be close to me, all he did was cry and yelp inside that cage. I couldn’t stand being away from him any more than he could from me. We tried the next best thing, puppy pads.
Because Jack is male, he likes to hike his leg up on things, so the puppy pads didn’t work well. He preferred my trash can in the bathroom or the one in the kitchen. Six months into this venture, I was still cleaning up messes one after the other. Since we live on 15 acres, he grew to love the outdoors. As the weather began to change, he wanted to be outside more. I was lucky in that I didn’t have to use a leash to walk him. He could roam outside, and he always stayed nearby, which was something my other dogs had problems with.
Jack to this day doesn’t get me when he has to use the restroom. He will pace back and forth to the bathroom and run through the house. I must read his behavior and ask him if he needs to go. If I say “do you have to pee, pee?” I almost always get an excited behavior, and he runs for the door. I will say that potty training with him has been difficult. He doesn’t communicate with me well, and I must remember to take him out on a schedule. If it’s raining outside, I might as well forget it. He refuses to go out when it’s too cold or pouring the rain.
Yorkshire Terrier Temperament - The Little Ear Nibbler
Many people worry about the temperament of the Yorkshire Terrier because they tend to be high strung and one person dogs. I can honestly say that Jack doesn’t meet a stranger. In fact, if he likes you, he climbs up on your shoulder and sits like a parrot. He loves this position so he can lick your ears. We always call him the “little ear nibbler” because he is always trying to get to my ears. I don’t know what he finds so attractive about them, but he loves them.
He is a licker by nature. He loves to lick anything coming or going. Our vet told us that excessive licking is another sign of anxiety, so it seems our poor guy is just a ball of nerves. Sure, he will bark when you come in the door, but give him a minute and he will be on your lap and making his way to your shoulder.
Yapping for Days
Now, I will say that Jack is a bit more laid back than most Yorkie pups. However, he loves to yap. If someone comes within five feet of the front door, he barks for 10 minutes it seems. He barks when the phone rings, he barks when I open the refrigerator, and he barks just to hear himself bark. I know that this is his only way of communicating, but sometimes I wish he would “talk” less.
I mentioned to our vet that the barking gets kind of annoying, and he seems on edge all the time. She told us that Jack had anxiety. She recommended that we use a calming collar. I was willing to try anything. Traveling with him became a nightmare and we saw more than one hotel manager regarding complaints about our little friend.
The calming collar did help a lot. I had no clue that dogs were prone to anxiety like humans, especially these toy breeds. He still barks when someone comes to the door, which I like. However, the excessive barking has calmed down significantly.
One Protective Pup
I already mentioned that Jack was quite protective of me. When we adopted our first child, his protective nature seemed to escalate to new levels. He didn’t want our little girl around me. He would charge her if she came near me or tried to hug me. If I was lying on the couch and she came to lay beside me, he would hop up on my chest trying to get closer. His protective nature became quite troublesome when he took a stance that I was his possession.
After all, his threatening behavior, he started biting. Now, I know that most people think that biting from a toy breed isn’t so bad. However, it’s not acceptable for any dog to bite. His bites hurt, and he would draw blood. Confusingly enough, he would not only bite our little girl, but he would also bite me. If I was paying attention to her and not to him, he would get so mad he would bite my foot as he ran off. His bad behavior seemed to escalate, and the jealousy was out of control.
Obedience Training for Him and Me
The first place I went for help was to the vet. She recommended that I use training classes. I didn’t want to spend the money for classes, but I loved Jack, and I wanted him and our little girl to get along. Though it was expensive, we enrolled our Yorkie in obedience classes. I think I felt horrible the entire time we took him. I felt like a parent being called to the principal’s office because their child wasn’t behaving.
As all the pups lined up for training, there was “Happy Jack.” He was spoiled rotten, oblivious to why he was there, and just wanted to find something to hike his leg on. Training was two weeks, and we left him. It was the longest two weeks of my life. I missed that dog just as I would a child.
Jack did well, and he graduated. However, the course instructor had some rather harsh guidelines for me. She told me to quit coddling him like a baby. She told me that I had created a little furry monster who didn’t know his place in the home. I gave him the superiority complex that he has because I didn’t have children. Jack was my baby for many years before we adopted anyone. When my husband worked third-shift, it was Jack that protected me and alerted me to danger. Now, I am being told that I taught him this unruly behavior. It was a bitter pill to swallow.
I will say that obedience training was very eye opening for both of us. I tried to change things when I brought him home. He was not allowed to sleep with me anymore, and I bought him a bed. Also, I was not to use baby talk and greet him with hugs and kisses the minute I walked through the door. It was hard to re-train myself, but I did it. Now, Jack is no longer biting and also enjoys playing with our little girl.
The Wiry Haired Monster
The haircare for our Jack was not near as bad as it was for our other breeds. A Yorkshire Terrier doesn’t get really long hair, but it does get tangled. We brushed him daily to ensure he didn’t have massive knots in his mane. We groomed him about every six months. When bathing, our groomer told us never to let Jack’s hair dry naturally as his little body gets chilled to the bone. Instead, she told us to use the hairdryer on low and a brush to keep it from tangling.
Jack was prone to dry skin, which we used lotions to treat. So we try to bathe him about once a month because of his skin. Sure, he could have used a bath a bit more, but it would dry him out so bad. We could never use human shampoos on him, and most dog shampoos caused more harm than good. We had to use a particular moisturizing soap that would soften his hair and help with dandruff.
Our Little Garbage Disposal
When Jack first came home, I didn’t want him to have any table scraps. However, it was my husband that started giving him little bits here and there. My husband couldn’t stand eating in front of the dog and having him watch every move he made. He began giving him chicken and some veggies, which isn’t too bad. Nevertheless, it soon developed into a love for cream cheese and popcorn. Don’t ask me how this pup could smell the cream cheese on my bagel from a mile away, but he did.
It wasn’t long until I noticed a fat roll appearing around the chin area of our pup. I knew he was gaining weight because he was eating our food and his dog food too. I dreaded the next vet appointment because I knew she was going to say something about his weight, and she did. Our little guy had blossomed up to a whopping seven pounds. These dogs should never weigh more than four pounds.
The Battle of the Bulge
Jack was put on a diet. A controlled diet was harder on me than it was for him. We had to start putting him in another room when we had dinner to keep him from begging. In the past couple years, we welcomed another child into our home. Jack was the perfect place to dump extra food that the children didn’t want to eat. So he was banished to exile while we ate. However, he did lose two pounds, and the vet was pleased.
He was able to run faster, seemed to have more energy, and was allowed two small bites each day of human food, which we made sure was protein. Two pounds doesn’t sound like a lot of weight, but when you are only supposed to be about four pounds total, it was a huge deal.
One Happy Life
Jack is now ten years old, and his health is starting to fail. Since the average expectancy is 12-15 years, I know that my time with him is limited. I’ve had many family members ask me why I am so in love with this dog. To me, he is not a pet, but he is a hairy child. He is a member of my family. He has the best personality and doesn’t meet a stranger. He is not the best with children, but in time he grew to love ours. Though he tends to gravitate to me as his “person,” he certainly has enough love in his heart for everyone.
He developed alopecia in his old age, and diabetes. We must give him a shot every day for his sugar. It kills me when I must put the needle into his tiny body. His steps have gotten a bit slower, and he sleeps a lot more. I don’t know how I will ever live without my “Happy Jack,” but I know one day I will face his passing. If someone asks me if I would ever have a Yorkshire Terrier again, my answer is always without a doubt yes. He is the best dog I have ever owned.