I have been thinking about adopting a yorkie for as long as I can remember.
I grew up in a family that traveled a lot, though, so it never happened. Instead, I got a gecko.
Not quite the same, but appreciated nonetheless.
When I married a total dog person, though, I started to think about adopting a Yorkie again. Then, when I started working from home, I knew that it was time.
I scoured the internet for Yorkies for adoption in our area for months. Finally, I found Winston.
We adopted Winston directly from his previous owners. They loved him dearly, but simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to taking care of a dog. So they knew it was time to find him a new home.
If you are looking at Yorkie breeders or local adoption sites for the perfect pup, I want to let you know what you can expect when adopting a Yorkie. We experienced some unique struggles when adopting Winston we weren’t expecting. And I want to share them with you today.
1. You will experience a huge roller coaster of emotions when adopting a Yorkie.
I had wanted to adopt a dog since I was 8 years old. That’s 14 years desperately wanting a dog without being able to have one! Finally adopting a Yorkie was an emotionally-charged experience for me.
But on top of the joy that I felt, there’s a lot of anxiety that comes with adopting a Yorkie. Am I really the right person to take care of him? What if I do something wrong? Is this a good decision, or have I bitten off more than I can chew?
Let me just say this: if you love your dog and are dedicated to learning how to best care for him, you’ll do a great job. People make bad dog owners when they aren’t prepared to change their life to fit the needs of the little fur-ball they just adopted. But recognize that if you’re willing to take some time and learn how to take care of your Yorkie, you’re already in a great position to be a fantastic dog owner.
2. Realize that your dog may exhibit weird stress responses
As you’re experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, remember your dog is going through his own emotional roller coaster!
Even if your Yorkshire Terrier comes from an abusive background, moving from his previous home to yours is stressful. Many dogs will exhibit stress responses such as peeing in the house, showing aggression, or losing their appetite for a few days.
When we brought Winston home, he barely ate for the first week he was with us. I think he averaged around 30 calories a day (which is far too few). But he seemed perfectly happy otherwise, and we recognized that it was a stress response that would likely fade away.
One of the things that helped us relax a bit about the strange eating was the fact that almost immediately, Winston started sleeping flat out on his back around our house. He felt safe with us, but was just stressed about the change.
3. Throw out everything you think you know about your dog
Winston, although he came from a lovely family, acted much like a rescue dog would. We didn’t realize how stressful of an environment he came from right away, but after a few weeks of having him we noticed signs of emotional neglect.
Our Yorkie was incredibly aggressive towards other dogs, suffered from extreme separation anxiety, and had a serious alpha-dog complex.
What was most strange, though, as that Winston didn’t seem to miss his previous owners.
In fact, Winston didn’t cry or whine at all the first night we brought him home. He just hopped into his bed and went to sleep quite happily. After just two walks, he knew which house was ours and made no efforts to run away. It was as though he had forgotten his previous owners completely overnight.
His previous owners also complained that he didn’t listen, didn’t come when called, and was a real handful to take care of. Within a week of being with us, though, he came when called, learned multiple obedience tricks (he’s really quite intelligent), and settled into a nice routine of walks, feedings, and cuddles.
We realized quickly that this dog had never bonded with his previous owners, despite living with them for four years.
But he bonded with us in two weeks.
Winston had never been given the time and attention he needed to feel secure and confident in his previous home. As a result, he was not fully house-trained so we caught our dog peeing in the house a few times, he had a matted coat and hated being brushed, and he had virtually no dog social skills. We quickly threw ourselves into obedience training. We created a routine for Winston and he quickly adjusted. He became more secure, and less anxious. We’ve had him for over a year now, and almost all of his behavioral issues are a thing of the past.
4. Adopting a Yorkie means completely changing your everyday routine
Many people adopt Yorkies because they want a fluffy companion. But they don’t always consider what the dog needs to thrive! The truth is, having a Yorkie is a lot of work! You will need to walk your Yorkie multiple times a day, do obedience training, and socialize your dog like you would with any other breed.
Keeping your dog on a tight walking and feeding schedule gives him security. It also increases his or her confidence, since then the dog knows what is expected and when. When looking to adopt a yorkie, remember that owning a dog is about more than taking cute instagram photos of your pup (although that definitely is a perk!).
5. Adopting a Yorkie means giving a dog a fresh start
One of my favorite parts of adoption is that you’re giving a dog a new chance for happiness. Whether your yorkie was abused, abandoned, or surrendered, you are giving him a new lease on life.
Winston didn’t have a horrible life before we adopted him. But he didn’t have a great life, either. Looking at Winston’s anxiety levels, behavior, and general disposition, it’s easy to see that he is much happier now than he was even a year ago. Giving a dog the gift of a reliable, secure home is a blessing both to you and your dog. And watching the years of insecurity or mistreatment wash away is amazing.
Adopting a Yorkie has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Although dog ownership is a challenge at times, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
We’ve had ups and downs over the last year, but one thing’s for sure:
I wouldn’t trade my Yorkie for anything!