Why does my Yorkie growl so much? (5 reasons)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Why does my Yorkie growl so much? We will explain what your dog’s growl means, what you need to pat attention to and what to do and not to do in certain situations. 

Why does my Yorkie growl so much?

A Yorkie’s growl is a form of canine expression, that is often referred to as the most obvious signal that a dog gives before biting or attacking, but it must be taken into account that a Yorkie can also growl in other more friendly contexts.

Some dogs growl when they play and it is not because they are looking for a fight. Others emit a kind of growl when they are comfortable or seek, for example, that we continue to caress them. In these cases, the growl would express a sense of pleasure or demand on the part of the dog.

However, outside of those contexts, the growl is par excellence, the signal that anticipates an attack. That is why you have to be very careful when it comes to knowing what to do if your Yorkie growls at you.

Yorkshire Terriers are seen as very friendly, affectionate and calm. But in reality, many classify it as “a beast”. Sometimes their mood and temperament are not pleasant at all, and this intensifies when they had a few hours without eating. 

Besides, they are aggressive when faced with other races. This breed is very troublesome. You have to watch them constantly, as they tend to be aggressive with other dogs of different breeds. It is without a doubt a point that must be taken into account. 

If you notice in your beloved pet that behavioural changes emerge, such as aggressive behaviours at home with your loved ones, with strangers or with other dogs, you will have to immediately start a re-education process to prevent the matter from getting worse, since it will be more difficult to eradicate later.

The growl as a sign of aggressiveness

We are going to put aside the growling in play contexts or pleasant situations and we are going to focus now on talking about the growling as a sign of aggressiveness.

I would like to clarify that, when we talk about canine aggressiveness, we are not only referring to dogs that attack and bite. It is considered “aggressiveness”, also, all those auditory and visual signals that a dog emits in front of something or someone that he interprets as a threat or a rival. Therefore, the growl YES is a sign of aggressiveness, even if the dog does not bite.

Specifically, the growl is a warning signal that the dog sends to signal his rival to move away and to warn him that he is willing to fight to protect himself or what is his.

What if we scold our dog when he growls?

In reality, and although our instincts, many times, drive us to do the opposite, the logic is overwhelming: we must not correct the grunt because …

If we scold a dog when it growls, it will learn that this warning signal is useless and will eliminate it. The next time he will feel threatened or will want to protect something he considers, the dog may bite without warning, which will leave us at a clear disadvantage because it will catch us off guard.

The most intelligent strategy in the face of a growl is not to take it for granted and analyze the situation well to understand why our dog is growling at us, why it feels threatened at that moment or why it considers us a rival in that situation.

What can I do if my Yorkie growls too much?

The objective is to prevent the dog from growling at us again and, above all, to eliminate from the map that conflictive situation that causes aggressive behaviour to emerge.

Not yelling at the dog when it growls does not mean tolerating the growling and pretending “nothing happened here.” That would be a big mistake.

Therefore, the guidelines to follow to solve the problem are:

  1. Make a mental note in which situation the growl has occurred 

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What was the target of the growl? I mean, who was it addressed to?
  • In what context did the growl occur? What was the dog doing and where was it as it growled and what were we doing and where were we positioned?
  • In what position was the dog? Did he show an offensive or defensive posture?

This way can know if the dog felt threatened and was afraid or if, on the contrary, it showed an offensive and competitive attitude to defend something that is considered its own (a ball, a bone, a plate of food, an area of the house, a person you like, etc.)

  1. Plan a strategy to make that conflictive situation for the dog be seen, from now on, as a positive or, at least, neutral situation. To understand it better:

If, for example, our dog growls at us when we approach his food bowl because he sees us as a threat since he thinks we are going to take it away, our strategy should be oriented to: make the dog understand that we are not going to steal the food and it doesn’t need to scare us away.

  1. Do not put the dog back in the same conflict situation until we are sure that it has already understood that it should not feel threatened.

This is achieved by making progressive approaches to the conflict situation that caused the growling and aggressiveness to emerge. 

Continuing with the same example as before, we would not go to his plate full of food again without first having done a series of exercises aimed at explaining to the dog that we are not a threat when it comes to eating. For more details, you can see this post on what to do if your dog growls at you when you approach his food bowl.

How to educate an aggressive Yorkshire

Another important issue regarding overt aggressiveness in Yorkshire Terriers is their origins and past. And it is that this small breed was used as a hunting dog and this past can sometimes play a trick on us and bring out aggressiveness.

It is also very important to emphasize that most of the behavioural problems generated by aggressiveness in Yorkies are usually our fault as owners. Being overprotective or constantly giving in to your dog’s wishes are the most normal cause of these unwanted behaviours.

This problem is easier to redirect in puppies than in adults, although we can always treat and correct it, no matter how old the dog is. You just have to train it for it.

So we will have to watch out for the following signs:

Stress and anxiety

If your pet does not adapt well and does not find her place at home within the family hierarchy, or you treat her with shouts and blows, or ultimately, suffers from stress or anxiety, it will end up generating behavioural problems. In this state, the animal will not be able to be properly trained or related to other dogs. 

Lack of socialization

I will never tire of repeating that socialization is essential for dogs to be able to relate well with others. If your dog is unfamiliar and does not know how to interact with other dogs and in new and varied situations, he will end up with stress, anxiety and aggressive behaviours.

Excess of zeal

Many dogs become dominant with others in times of heat. For these specific cases, we can sterilize our Yorkshire. This will allow us a good relationship of our pet with other dogs of different sex or in heat.

Aggression towards other people or your family

Here we are presented with the biggest problem of aggressiveness in dogs when they are mean towards members of your family or other people. It is more difficult to fix this situation. Especially if there are small children at home. We will have to be very attentive to issues such as:

Defending his things and space – If our Yorkie growls or bites when we approach his food, his toys or his bed, try not to punish or hit or yell at your beloved furry pet.

We will have to educate our friend through positive reinforcement techniques and basic obedience. This is the correct way. It is also interesting to try at the beginning to give the food us by hand so that it values where it comes from, that it is you who gives it.

Fear – A bad experience suffered from someone by your pet can cause the dog to become aggressive towards strangers or a member of your family. You will have to use obedience training so that your dog accepts others and overcome her fears caused by a specific person. Here I tell you how to do it.

Bad treatments – If you punish, yell or hit your pet, it will end up with behavioural problems of aggressiveness towards you and yours. DO NOT EVER DO THAT!

Inertia – Sometimes it happens that your dog is barking very nervous at another dog or person and that stress and anxiety end up in the form of a bite to your leg since you are there by his side and at that moment he has not known how to channel those nerves.

It is similar to a reflex action in high states of anxiety. You will always have to avoid these situations. If your Yorkshire terrier gets violent with another person or animal, walk away and avoid these bad dynamics.


In this article, we answered the following question: Why does my Yorkie growl so much? We explained what your dog’s growl means, what you need to pat attention to and what to do and not to do in certain situations. 

I will never get tired of saying this: dogs do not speak with words but that does not mean that they do not know or cannot communicate with us. In reality, the secret to a good dog education always lies in mutual understanding.

The growl, like so many other signals that our dogs emit, is a form of expression. If we learn to respect and understand it, everything will be better than if we simply worry about correcting it.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Why does my Yorkie growl so much?

Why does my Yorkie growl?

Your Yorkie growls either because he is anxious, frightened or aggressive because of territorial issues. Some dogs growl when they play and it is not because they are looking for a fight. Others emit a kind of growl when they are comfortable or seek, for example, that we continue to caress them.

How do I stop my Yorkie from being aggressive?

To stop your Yorkie from being aggressive, you need to be calm yourself. Avoid stressful citations for your pet and practice obedience. 

Why does my dog growl at me for no reason?

Your dog growls at you for no reason because he is trying to communicate with you. Growling, after barking, is the one of the ways dogs communicate with us humans and other animals. So, next time your dog is growling at you, try to understand what is happening. 

Are Yorkies good pets to have?

Yorkies are considered good pets to have and they are very popular dogs. They are great family pets, are hypoallergenic and believed to be very sociable and affectionate.





How do I solve these aggressiveness problems?

Provide your pet with a calm and stable environment.

Do not mistreat or despise.

A stressed dog should never be abused. You only make things worse.

Teach your Yorkshire Terrier basic obedience techniques.

Use positive reinforcement and don’t forget to reward your pet every time she learns something and does it well.

Let us always have a very positive and calm attitude with our dear canine friend. These healthy habits will allow you to train your pet and give him a calm state of character and action in the face of training.

Always avoid stressful situations as much as possible where they can become aggressive towards others. And don’t forget the daily walks; It should be two or three and more than an hour or 90 minutes in total. And avoid whenever you can conflicts with other animals that in themselves also involve problems of aggressiveness or simply daily stressful situations.

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