Yorkies are tiny, lovable dogs with colorful personalities and a tendency to bark. If you chose a Yorkie for its small size and high intelligence, you -- and your neighbors -- may be dismayed by the dog's territorial need to bark at every noise it hears.
Create a calm, consistent home environment for your Yorkie. Dogs often bark as a way of relieving frustration or separation anxiety if they are left home alone for long periods of time. Establish a routine for your dog, so it knows when to expect you home. If you have to work long shifts or unpredictable patterns, consider using a pet sitter, doggie daycare or dog walking service to provide routine and structure to your Yorkie's day.
Provide a range of toys to entertain your Yorkie, as well as regular opportunities for outdoor playtime. Refreshing the toy collection regularly with new items will give your dog something to do during the day, keeping barking from becoming a form of entertainment for your dog. Regular exercise will reduce the Yorkie's levels of stress and frustration, both of which can cause excessive barking.
Dissuade your Yorkie from excessive barking by squirting it with a water pistol at the onset of inappropriate barking. Most dogs hate being sprayed with water, especially around the facial area. Deliver a firm, clear command as you squirt the dog -- "Quiet" or "No" are commonly used for this purpose. Some dog trainers use a loud noise -- for example, shaking a soda can half-filled with pennies -- as a deterrent against barking. Another option is to use a "no-bark collar" that sprays a citronella mist every time the dog barks. Yorkies dislike the smell of citronella. However, this type of collar may be emotionally damaging to some small dogs, so consider it only if other methods of deterring barking have failed.
Reward and praise your Yorkie each time it follows your command and stops barking. As soon as the dog is quiet, give it treats, verbal praise and any form of physical reward -- tickling or hugs, for example -- that the dog likes. This way, the dog associates stopping barking with treats and other positive actions.
- Some barking fulfills a useful function -- for example, alerting you when someone is at the door -- so you should aim to curb only excessive barking, not all of your Yorkie's barking behavior.
- Never hit, shake or strike your Yorkie to stop its barking. Control your own frustration and understand that patient, consistent training is the only way to bring excessive barking under control.
Jae Allen has been a writer since 1999, with articles published in "The Hub," "Innocent Words" and "Rhythm." She has worked as a medical writer, paralegal, veterinary assistant, stage manager, session musician, ghostwriter and university professor. Allen specializes in travel, health/fitness, animals and other topics.