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Terriers/Cairn Terrier Yokie Mix - Fear Aggression


Hi, I am looking into adopting a dog, and I came across a yorkie/cairn terrier mix.  The foster mom says he is very mellow, quiet and cuddly-- exactly what I am looking for!  However, he snaps and growls at strangers.  I feel confident that I can help him overcome this fear by a) vocal interruption before his fear/aggression escalates and b) reinforcement with treats for being non-aggressive as strangers come closer.  With you experience with terriers, is this a common problem?  Is this a good course of action to help him overcome his fears?

Hi Danielle,
This is a somewhat common problem for small dogs. That being said, if the dog is going to be around children AT ALL, your training is going to take all your time and energy. Should children come at any point later the behavior may return. If you are certain your lifestyle can accommodate this personality by all means every doggie deserves a chance, but more than the 2 things you suggested, take a class and get this doggie socialized. You will have to spend every waking minute working with this little fella until he gains trust in you and he may never stop anyway.
Yes it can be a problem- do you want it to be yours? The goal in Rescue is not to have dogs returned if thing become difficult because it just compounds the personality so be very sure.
Good luck!


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ElizaBeth CRONK


I am an expert in terrier grooming and have been the expert on the dog grooming site for well over a year. While I am trained as an all breed groomer my true expertise is in the art of terrier grooming. Hand plucking for pets, to be specific.


23 years as a professional pet groomer, 20 of them specifically working with wire hair breeds. Private residential business in Manhattan with over 250 client and have done over 30,000 groomings.

Twin Brooks Kennel Club, former Board member Metropolitan Dog CLub, regular contributer to Groomer Talk at

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NY School of Dog Grooming, apprenticed with major professional show dog handlers and breeders.

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