The energetic, brave and loyal Yorkshire terrier is possessive of its people, so it's important that you maintain the position of pack leader to keep him well mannered. In addition to training your Yorkie, you'll want to properly groom and feed him, and provide for his good health.
Teach your dog the heel command: Have him walk beside you on a short leash. Practice stepping forward a few steps and stopping. If he obeys, give a treat. Once he can walk a short distance, include the command and continue to praise him. When he starts to move ahead, stop and gently bring him back to your side.
Teach your pooch to sit: Use a treat and call your dog to you. Let him smell the treat. Once he sits, give him the treat. Do this a few times and then add the sit command when he sits. He will soon learn to sit without the treat. Yorkshires think they are big dogs and think nothing of confronting a bigger dog. Teaching yours to sit helps you control him in adverse situations.
Teach him to stay. Once your pup understands the sit command, teach him to stay in that position. Hold your hand in front of you and use the stay command. Walk backwards two steps. If he holds the position for a few seconds, reward him. Continue to lengthen the time.
Health and Nutrition
Use a halter to walk your Yorkie instead of a collar. Yorkshire terriers are prone to collapsing tracheae, a condition in which cartilage rings flatten, making breathing difficult. Use a halter to protect the trachea.
Begin a flea and heartworm prevention program program. Talk with your veterinarian about possible products.
Schedule your pup for regular veterinary visits. Besides collapsing trachea, the Yorkie is prone to bronchitis, eye infections, fragile bones and disk problems that can cause paralysis.
Schedule your pup for his shots. Core shots include distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and rabies. Non-core vaccinations may be important, too, depending on your region and situation. If you are going to board your pup, he will need the vaccination against kennel cough. If you live in an area that is tick-infested, consider the Lyme disease vaccination.
Exercise your Yorkie daily. He should walk 30 minutes a day. If the weather is too cold, play games with him inside. Have him toss a ball or run around the house with him. Play hide and seek.
Feed your pup a quality kibble and wet food. The kibble will help control tartar and the wet food will help maintain his soft and shiny hair.
Brush your pup's teeth every day. Use a doggie toothpaste or a pretreated pad. Yorkshires are prone to tooth decay. Your Yorkie may need professional teeth cleaning at your vet's office.
Comb your pup's hair daily with a wide-tooth comb for his long hair. Use a fine-tooth comb around the face.
Shampoo your Yorkie's coat every two weeks or so. Apply a conditioner after shampooing and rinsing. Use a blow-dryer on a low setting to avoid drying the skin.
Clean the corner of his eyes daily. This prevents staining around the eye. Some Yorkshires tear more than others.
Crate your Yorkie until he has learned to potty outside. Take him out first thing in the morning, after he eats and after play time. Remove food and water two to three hours before bedtime.
Say a phrase for potty and repeat it throughout the exercise. Either carry him or put him on a leash. Take him out the same door and take him to the same spot. Let him sniff the area and give him time to potty. When he potties, praise him and play for a few minutes.
Repeat the process. If your pup doesn't potty, take him back to his crate. Wait 10 minutes and take him back outside to the same spot. Always use the same phrase when you take him out and when he potties.
- Enroll him in agility classes. Agility classes will focus his energy on the training and less on his owner.
- Avoid taking your Yorkie out in cold weather.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.