Yorkshire Terrier Instinct
Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred for ratting in the beginning. They were used by miners because they were small and could go anywhere to get the rats, including into small holes in the ground. Everyone always assumes we have so domesticated our dogs that they would no longer do what they were bred to do many many generations ago. Everyone assumes the Yorkie is just this little lap dog and not good for much else. Well let me tell you that is not true. Our parent club the YTCA has even notified AKC that they should be involved in the Earthdog Trials, where dogs go to ground for rats. They would be great at this sport as they are not afraid of anything.
I am just two blocks away from the start of country. At the corner of that area they are doing some major building. Well unfortunately it is driving some of the mice and rats up into the surrounding areas.
Recently I had just let my dogs outside to play. I went outside with them and was busy doing something else. All of a sudden I heard a commotion behind me and turned to see what was going on. I could see all the dogs crowded around so I went to investigate as they were acting a little excited. Well let me tell you I wasn't quite prepared for the sight before my eyes.
My Ch Goldenray Flamingo Dancer, AKA Flame had nailed a rat. Well I'm sure many people heard me screaming a block away. I am yelling at her to put it down, she is ignoring me because she knows if she does put it down one of the others is going to get the rat she just caught. Now this is her rat and she does not want to give up something she got all on her own. I run over and grab her with one hand and with the other trying to keep the other dogs out of the way and tell her to put it down. Somewhat hysterically I might add, as I'm not fond of rats. She does put it down and of course it has almost seen it's last days on earth, but it was still alive enough to grab for her neck when she finally put it down. I am so thankful that my cut downs wear neckscarfs as when it grabbed for her, all it got was the neckscarf. I kick the thing off the scarf & of course it can't move anyway at this point, thankfully. First thing I do is get all the dogs in the house and check to make sure Flame is ok and call my Vet anyway. She's fine thankfully, as she is also pregnant at the time of this feat.
Well I'm not about to touch this disgusting thing, so after I get all the dogs in the house and run next door to make my neighbor come pick it up but he's not home. I want it up now as the trash men are due within the hour so I get a shovel and manage to get this rodent in a box and then the box in a bag and get it out to the trash.
By the time I'm done with all this, I go in the house, still pretty tied up in knots and there is Flame sitting way up above all the others looking down upon them as though she is "Ms Queen Bee". She walked around all the rest of the day like she was so tough. I know she was rubbing it in saying "I'm bad, I got a rat!" Thankfully this did not disturb Flame as much as it did me.
Well needless to say everytime they go outside it's like a race to see if anyone can find a rat. Well a couple of months later I hear the dogs barking like crazy outside & at first just figured someone had the toy that everyone else decided they wanted right then. After a time and the barking still going on I figured I better investigate, as my dogs don't bark a lot. I go outside and there is Ch Goldenray Wind Dancer, AKA "Windy" running around with the toy & everyone right after her. Windy is just having the time of her life. As I look closer I realize she has a rodent in her mouth. I don't think Windy wanted to be outdone by her mother Flame. Well I'm not sure if it's a mouse or baby rat, but once again I'm screaming to put it down. She finally drops it in front of me & of course the rat killer, Flame is there thinking she'll grab it up. Well I'm prepared for that and manage to keep her and the others out of the way while I manage to get it up. Of course this rodent is dead now as they had a little longer with it than the last one.
Keep in mind also these dogs are not the least bit aggressive. Although my dogs won't be pushed by another dog, they never start fights, I have never had a dog fight, so it's not aggressiveness that makes them go after them, it quite obviously is Yorkie INSTINCT! So yes these are wonderful little affectionate dogs, but don't for a minute think your dog is so domesticated that it can't still do what it was originally bred to do, because when you least expect it your dog may bring you a surprise. Of course be prepared as they tend to think it's their own personal toy and that since they caught it, they shouldn't have to give it up. I do believe the new motto is: "Who needs cats when you have YORKIES?"
Article printed in TYT Magazine © 1999
by author Cher Hildebrand Goldenray Yorkies
Never forget that hunting instinct in the breed.
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