The Yorkie is an intelligent dog who loves to please. Yorkies are so full of energy and personality that lying down on command can be a challenge for this breed. However, consistent training with your Yorkie will have him lying down in a matter of weeks.
Teach your Yorkie the sit command. The Yorkie won't lie down on command without first learning the sit command. To have your Yorkie sit, hold a small easy-to-chew treat in front of her nose. Allow her to sniff and lick the treat. Say “sit” as you move the treat over your Yorkie's tiny muzzle and over the top of her head. Your dog will look up at the treat and sit to keep her balance. Immediately give the treat when her butt hits the floor and enthusiastically say “Good sit!” Repeat these steps several times per day before moving to the down command.
Give the sit command and then teach down from the sitting position. Hold the treat at nose level and move the treat down to the floor. In an “L” shape motion, move the treat across the floor away from your Yorkie. Her head will move downward as the legs slide forward to a down position. Once the front legs move forward, say “down” and give verbal praise as soon as the dog's belly is on the floor.
Practice the down command inside and outside. Once your Yorkie is lying down in one room, teach her in another room. Continue until she lies down in every room of the house. Then move to outside training, because your Yorkie needs to work through the distractions of life outside the home. Practice with your dog on a leash in the yard. After she's mastered that environment, give her practice sessions during walks.
- Be your dog's cheerleader during the training process. Training should be fun for both you and your dog. There is no such thing as getting too excited while training your Yorkie. Clap your hands, do a dance and talk in a high-pitch baby voice. Let everyone know you're the proud parent of a Yorkie who can lie down on command!
- Give small pieces of cooked chicken or cut-up turkey hot dogs instead of dry treats. Dry treats don't have the motivation factor that juicy ones do, and by the time your Yorkie finishes a dry treat, she may forget why she was rewarded in the first place.
- Stand up while giving the sit and down commands. The Yorkie is a tiny dog, but if you give commands only while sitting on the floor, she will respond only if you're on the ground too, advises the Humane Society of the United States.
- Never force your Yorkie's legs forward or push her shoulders down. This can lead to an injury or cause the Yorkie to bite.
- Say commands only one time. Repeating the command several times before your Yorkie responds is not effective training, and teaches her only that your words have no authority.
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.