Wondering how to get a Yorkie to stop biting?
A lot of people think that a small dog’s biting habits aren’t really anything to worry about.
However, after being on the receiving end of a Yorkie’s nips, I beg to differ!
There’s nothing cute about a dog biting, no matter how big or small they are!
Check out these Yorkie training tips to nip the bad behavior (pun intended!)
How to Get a Yorkie to Stop Biting
Like all dogs, Yorkies bite for a myriad of reasons ranging from playfulness to aggression.
As I said, too many Yorkie owners think, “What’s the harm? It’s not like she’s a Shepherd or Pit! Those teeth can’t do much harm.”
Look, I’ve been bitten by big dogs and small dogs alike (usually during play time, but once in the face by a big dog that I startled as a kid).
Let me tell you, those toy breeds can cause some serious pain!
My aunt had a teacup poodle, of all things, that hurt me more than that big dog bite (and that one required a stitch!).
Plus, it got infected, which can happen with ANY dog bite.
So, no, it’s not cute when your Yorkie bites and yes, she can do some real damage.
Please, if your Yorkie bites, keep reading for some tips to nip the behavior!
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1. Figure out why your Yorkie is biting
The very first thing you absolutely must do to get a Yorkie to stop biting is figuring out why she’d doing it in the first place.
That, more than anything, determines which direction you’ll need to take with your training strategies.
Perhaps she thinks she’s just playing and doesn’t realize that her sharp little teeth are causing you pain.
Maybe she’s teething and your hand feels oh-so soothing on her aching gums.
Perhaps she’s just plain mad that you keep stuffing her in a purse! No, I’m kidding…sort of. 🙂
She could be reacting out of fear, irritation, or even from a place of joy. Keep track of what’s going on when she bites and go from there.
2. Play with your dog the right way
While this tip works for all ages, it’s particularly helpful for those who need to know how to train a Yorkie puppy not to bite.
Regardless of whether your Yorkie bites because she’s happy or mad, playing with her the right way is the first step in nipping her nipping.
First, you’ll want to remove “aggressive games” from your routine.
While I don’t necessarily think games like tug-of-war breed aggression (and the AKC agrees with me), for now, remove it from the equation.
Although it doesn’t create aggression, if you already have a fairly aggressive Yorkie, it doesn’t exactly help matters.
Likewise, remove your hand from playtime. Instead, always use appropriate toys.
The goal is to avoid giving her an opportunity to view your hand as a fun plaything.
3. Invest in proper chew toys and bones
Speaking of appropriate toys, you’ll definitely want to have a decent selection of chew toys and bones on hand to satisfy your Yorkie’s urge to chomp.
For chews, I like Bully Sticks. They’re expensive, but one stick will last a while with your small dog.
Whenever your Yorkie starts gnawing on your hand, swap it out with a toy instead.
Eventually, she’ll learn that hands=”no chew zone” and her toys or treats = “acceptable for chomping.”
4. “Hand-train” your dog
I couldn’t think of a catchy subtitle for that one, but basically this is what we do with all of our dogs.
The moment they come into our homes, we feed them out of our hands.
Then, we pet them and put our hands in their food bowls while they’re eating.
With this method, we’ve never had a dog bite us because he was mad that we went near his chow.
Does that make sense? It teaches them that our hands are not for biting, and also that our hands are no threat to their meal.
This is especially important to do if you have children. When I was little, I could take food right out of my German Shepherd’s mouth and he wouldn’t even bat an eye.
5. Consult a professional
If you determine that your Yorkie’s biting stems from a place of aggression, consider consulting a pro trainer.
I promise you, there is zero shame in admitting that you’re not cut out to train your own dog.
Think about it this way- if everyone was an expert, professional dog trainers would be out of work!
The fact that they exist at all proves that a lot of people need their help.
Seriously, just call them up and say, “”Help! I need to know how to stop my Yorkie from biting!” They’ll know just what to do!
Never Use Punishment to Get a Yorkie to Stop Biting
Please, for the love of all things furry, DO NOT use punishment as a “deterrent” to get a Yorkie to stop biting.
I put that in quotes for a reason. Punishing dogs does absolutely nothing to deter bad behavior.
In fact, yelling, screaming or hitting your Yorkie will actually cause aggression.
It could very well turn a pup that bites for playful reasons into one that bites out of fear and anger.
Let me be blunt- if you think striking a dog is an acceptable form of training, please don’t get one.
Hitting isn’t “training,” it’s abuse. Period, end of discussion.
What about shock collars?
It may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t see much of a difference between hitting a dog and shocking him. Sorry.
Most experts tend to agree– shock collars make dogs more aggressive.
Several countries and states have even banned them, so that should tell you something.
How about “aversion” training?
Aversion training is basically a method of conditioning your dog’s response to certain stimuli by creating an unpleasant experience.
For the most part, I find it an awful way to train a dog, and Preventative Pet seems to agree.
In terms of biting, the ONLY “aversion” technique that I can get on board with is the “negative punishment” technique.
It’s not what it sounds like, don’t worry. Basically, you remove something your dog finds pleasing to stop an unwanted behavior.
In this case, that “something pleasing” is you. HOWEVER, rather than just using negative punishment and calling it a day, combine it with positive reinforcement.
Say you’re playing with your Yorkie and she starts biting you. Firmly say “no biting,” then give her one of her toys instead.
This way, she learns that biting ends fun time with you while ALSO learning what things are okay to chomp.
Learning how to stop a Yorkie from biting isn’t terribly difficult, but you will need to be patient.
Follow the tips above and consult a professional trainer if you need an extra hand.