The Morkie has become a prevalent choice for those that want a cute little companion dog that doesn’t require much space or exercise. They are so adorable that family members of all ages will want to pick them up, cuddle them, and play with them for hours. But does a Morkie want all this attention? Are they good family dogs, or are there issues with their temperament that could cause problems?
Are Morkies good family dogs? Morkies have the potential to be great family dogs. They can grow up to be sweet dogs that get along with all family members, but only if you are prepared for some intensive socialization training. These dogs are terriers at heart and very small, both of which can lead to some aggression.
Yorkshire Terrier Aggression
Many of the risks of aggression come from the Yorkshire Terrier side of the family.
There are plenty of reports of Yorkshire Terriers being a bit aggressive and bad-tempered towards people and other animals. This tends to happen with pets that are poorly trained and are fearful of those around them. This is a small dog that can lash out to defend itself if it feels threatened.
Yorkies’ additional issue is that they were bred to be feisty ratters before they were companion dogs. They are terriers with great determination to seek out their prey, please their owners, and put in a good day’s work. This desire has decreased with further domestication into a companion role, but those instincts can remain.
That defensive side can come out, and you can end up with a dog willing to stick up for itself.
Furthermore, this can lead to issues with the Yorkshire Terrier prey drive. These terriers love to play and chase small toys around the yard. This relates to that role of seeking and hunting down vermin.
Therefore, if there are any small animals in their territory, these could be mistaken as potential prey.
This is terrible news if you have small mammals as pets.
Small Dog Syndrome
The Morkie can also develop issues related to Small Dog Syndrome.
The fact that the Morkie is a hybrid of a Maltese dog and Yorkshire Terrier can reduce some of the risks related to the Yorkie’s temperament. You may end up with a more gentle dog that takes after the Maltese and doesn’t have the same short temper or prey drive.
However, the Maltese is still a small dog that can have issues about its size and feelings of inferiority or insecurity.
There are cases of Maltese dogs acting similarly around strangers and small children. They can feel threatened by people that they don’t trust or if children play a bit too rough. The dog’s obvious response is to retaliate, often through biting, to get the aggressor to stop.
This can also lead to aggressive tendencies towards bigger dogs to exert some dominance and try to get their way.
As a result, you can end up with a Morkie puppy that wants to exert itself around other people and showcases this in a more aggressive or boisterous way than you would like. They may tend to bark at people they don’t know, especially strangers in the house. This could also be a sign of possessiveness if they don’t like new people getting too close to their pack members.
Or, they may develop a habit of jumping up at people or getting onto the furniture.
Properly Training a Morkie
The Morkie still has the potential to be a great family dog with proper training.
Thankfully, there are also positive traits to the Yorkie and Maltese that can allow them to be great family pets.
Therefore, you can find that Morkies are trainable and capable of fitting into the family with ease. Morkies can grow up to be deeply devoted to owners and cuddly companions.
As long as you deal with any of those possessive traits and ensure they understand their place in the pack, this can be a rewarding relationship. Also, Morkies can be playful and able to enjoy games with responsible children.
How to train Morkies to be Good Family Dogs
Morkies aren’t born as perfect family dogs, and these traits above could be influential.
So, the sooner you work on training your Morkie puppy, the better the results.
In addition to general obedience training and housebreaking, it is crucial to work on socialization for better relationships with other people and animals.
You can also work on biting and barking training when necessary to help them change their responses to triggers.
Whatever form of training you work on, you must use positive reinforcement at all times. This is because Morkies are sensitive dogs that could respond poorly to negative reinforcement.
Negative approaches include:
- Scolding the dog.
- Forcing them into a different position.
- Making a point with exposure to a negative stimulus.
This can add further stress and anxiety where the animal either retreats and becomes more distrustful or lashes out further and gets more aggressive. Positive responses, such as praise and treats for corrected behavior, go a long way.
Socialization training from an early age can reduce the risks of any aggressive tendencies.
This type of training is essential as this allows the dog to get comfortable with other people and animals.
The first step is getting the dog used to being with other people. It isn’t enough for companion dogs like this to latch onto a single caregiver. They need to be comfortable being around other family members and any strangers that enter the home.
Teach them appropriate responses and how to remain calm and friendly around those they don’t know. Train them not to jump up at people and minimize barking as much as possible.
It’s all about making sure that the Morkie knows its place as a small dog in the “pack.” Small Dog Syndrome will build into something disruptive if you don’t nip the traits in the bud early on. Get the dog comfortable in a more submissive role by making sure they don’t jump onto the furniture or start attention-seeking behavior.
Training Morkies to Get Along with Other Animals
Then there is the issue of getting the dog used to being with other animals.
It helps to introduce a Morkie to as many animal playmates as possible early on. Bring in friendly larger dogs that know how to play nicely so your Morkie can get used to being the smaller dog. Take your time with any interactions between your Morkie and other animals in the house, such as your cat.
If you are worried about your Morkie developing a prey drive, pay attention to the types of toys you give them.
Chasing fake versions of small mammals won’t help.
Training Humans on Interacting with Morkie Puppies
It’s easy to focus on how to train a Morkie to be a great family pet.
But, we also have to do a little training of family members.
This is a two-way street.
For example, you need to teach other adults to be respectful of the pup’s needs and explain that they are still learning.
Your partner and kids need to follow your lead on positive reinforcement and refrain from forcing the dog into submissive positions where they feel at risk.
Also, it’s essential to teach children to play gently and respect the dog’s space.
A common issue is Morkies growling or biting at small children because they picked them up without warning, handled them too roughly, or made them feel trapped.
Other Issues to Consider
Other issues to consider when dealing with possible Morkie aggression and bad behavior.
Morkies may have a more challenging time becoming the perfect family pet if they have experienced trauma from a past relationship. Rescue dogs that were mistreated often have the instinct to keep their guard up. They may struggle to trust another family, and it could take longer to learn not to bark or bite.
Be patient with them.
Then, there are cases of sudden aggressive tendencies in otherwise calm and sweet Morkies.
If you go to pick up your Morkie and they lash out, having never done so before, this could be a sign of a deeper physical or mental health issue.
Something may have scared them, or they may be dealing with pain or an illness.
Keep an eye on them and talk to a vet where necessary.
Final Thoughts – Are Morkies Good Family Dogs?
In short, you should find that your Morkie becomes a good-natured family dog with the proper training and the right attitudes from family members. Just be extra careful if you have very young children or tiny animals in the home. The risks of rough play and retaliatory biting may mean that a Morkie isn’t right for a very young family. It will take some work to get these dogs to trust everyone they meet and deal with Small Dog Syndrome symptoms that they may struggle with. Older families that are ready to commit to this should do fine.
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