Are Yorkies Easy To Train? (And The 6 Basic Commands)

Affectionate and feisty, Yorkies are smart little dogs that want nothing more than your attention. One thing we get asked all the time is ‘are Yorkies easy to train?’ In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the subject of Yorkie obedience training to give you the answer to this question and more.

Let’s take a closer look at Yorkies and what you need to know about training them.

Are Yorkies Easy To Train?

Actually, yes. Yorkies are intelligent dogs and they respond well to consistency. Eager to please, they enjoy spending that extra time with you that you spend training them and they love to learn new tricks to please you. There is one exception, however.

Are Yorkies Easy To Potty Train?

Potty training is that exception. Yorkies have small bladders and so they need to go out a little more frequently than other dogs. You’ll want to remember with puppies that they can ‘hold it’ for about 1 hour per month of their life and that they also need to go out 15 – 20 minutes after meals.

Are Yorkies Good For First Time Owners?

Yorkies are great for first-time dog owners, as they require very little exercise and they love spending time in your lap. These smart little dogs learn your daily routine quickly, as well, so as far as a low-maintenance best friend, you could do a lot worse than a Yorkie!

How To Train Your Yorkie

Training your Yorkie takes a little time but goes surprisingly faster than it does with many other breeds. These smart little dogs are eager to please and receptive to learning anything that is going to make you happy. Today we’re going to teach you how to train your Yorkie 3 basic tricks and 1 fun trick:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Lay Down
  • Roll-over
  • Dance
  • Speak

Sit

Teaching your dog how to sit isn’t very hard, you’ll just want to be sure to be consistent and to keep treats on hand so that your dog will practice what you’re teaching them throughout the day. We’ll break it down into steps below.

Isolate Your Dog

You’ll want to take your Yorkie somewhere where there are not going to be any distractions. Turn off the tv, if you’ve got it on, stick the cat in another room if your Yorkie is eyeing it. It should just be you and your dog.

Whip Out A Doggy Treat

Doggy treats are the key to successful training and to teach your dog how to sit we’re going to employ a little treat magic. Hold up the treat where your dog can see it and if they aren’t the type to snap at your fingers, you can let them get a quick whiff but don’t give it to them yet.

Now, say ‘Sit’ a few times as you hold the treat above your dog’s nose and then move it slowly over the top of your Yorkie’s head. They will shift their weight and attention and naturally adopt a sitting position.

As soon as your dog sits down, praise them with a ‘good dog!’ or ‘good sit!’ and give them the treat. This is the easiest trick to teach and your Yorkie should pick this up very quickly.

Stay

Once your dog has learned ‘sit’ then it’s easier to teach the ‘stay’ command. This one is quite easy and like ‘sit’, is just going to take a little repetition and practice.

Tell Your Dog To ‘Sit’

Give your Yorkie the sit command and when they sit down, give them a treat. Next, you’ll want to stand up and walk slowly away, holding your hand palm-out as if to signal ‘stop’ and you’ll want to say loud and clear the word ‘stay’.

If Your Dog Gets Up, Repeat The ‘Sit’ Command

Your dog will try to come to you at first, so firmly repeat the sit command and then walk slowly away, hand out, and saying ‘stay’. When you’ve made a it a few steps with your dog staying in the sitting position, then you can toss your dog a treat.

Stay is another command that your dog can pick up fairly quickly, but consistency and practice are important, otherwise your dog won’t know what you are trying to teach them. It also gives you an excuse to teach them ‘go get it!’ as a way to reinforce the power of the command.

This is something that you do once they’ve got the ‘stay’ command down, just to make the command a lot stronger. Tell your Yorkie to ‘sit’ and then put a treat just a few feet away where they can see it and then tell them to ‘stay’.

You may have to repeat it 2 or 3 times and you’ll want to make sure that you are squatted down next to the treat.

This way you can take the treat if your dog does not comply. When your Yorkie successfully stays still, instead of running for the treat, then you can point at the treat and say ‘go get it! Go get it!’ in an excited voice. Your dog will typically get the cue and rush over to get their treat.

Be sure to pet and praise at this time and to practice this often. It’s an impressive first display of complete obedience and hey, two commands for one session!

Lay Down

‘Lay down’ is another command that is easy once your dog has learned how to sit. To teach this to your dog it just takes a few easy steps which we have listed below.

Start With The Sit Command

Tell your Yorkie to sit and pull a treat out of your pocket where they can see it. Hold the treat in front of your dog’s face, at nose level, and say ‘lay down’. While you are saying this, pull the treat slowly down and to the floor, pulling the treat across the floor away from your dog.

Your dog should move his or her head down, following the treat, and will typically slide their legs in front of them so that they are on their belly. Repeat ‘lay down’ and give your dog the treat.

Practice Until You Don’t Have To Move The Treat

You’ll need to practice this one a little longer than the other tricks that we’ve outlined so far, but you’ll know that your dog has got it down when they lay down without even seeing a treat.

Keep some handy in your pockets, of course, as this is going to definitely take some treats to reinforce but usually in a week or two your dog will have it down.

Roll-over

Now that your Yorkshire has learned to lay down, we can build on that and teach your dog how to roll-over. Ready a treat and we’ll show you how it’s done!

Tell Your Dog To Lay Down

Give your dog the ‘lay down’ command and once they comply, take the treat and move it behind your dog’s neck. Your dogs want that treat and what we are trying to do with it, is to get your dog to move their head backwards, following the treat, without getting up.

You may have to make them lay down a few times to get there, so bring your patience for this session.

Executing The Roll

When your dog is craning their neck back, move the treat down a little and say ‘roll-over!’. As your dog moves their hand down, give them a very gentle lift so that your dog does a roll. Tell them ‘good dog’ and give the treat.

Rinse And Repeat

The rolling itself may be a little confusing for your dog at first, so some repetition is in order. Try this a few times for 10-minute sessions, targeting 3 sessions a day. This is another trick that can take a week or two, so just be patient and consistent and wants your dog figures out what you want then they will learn the trick.

You can also teach your dog ‘belly scratch’ if they like having their tummy rubbed or scratched. This just takes the same steps, but with the ‘belly scratch/belly rub’ command and a half-roll nudge. They may learn ‘belly scratch’ a little more quickly since most Yorkies really love getting their belly rubbed!

Dance

‘Dance’ is a real crowd-pleaser when it comes to commands. Seeing your adorable Yorkie jump up on their hind legs to please you is really a treat and it’s not that hard a trick to teach your dog. Just follow the steps below and practice, practice, practice!

Tell Your Yorkie To ‘Sit’ And Ready A Treat

Give your dog the ‘sit’ command and hold a treat at nose-level in front of your dog’s face. Next, move the treat over their head and start raising it slowly. Your dog wants that treat and we want to hold it high enough that they stand on their hind legs to get it.

Give your dog the treat and practice until they get in the habit of going straight up onto their hind legs.

Stage 2 – The Circle

Once your dog has got standing up down, you’re going to want to use that treat for some motivation magic to teach them the second part of the dance trick. Move the treat in a slow circle above your dog’s head, saying ‘dance!’.

Your dog is going to follow that treat and when they bounce on their hind legs in a little circle, give them the treat and some praise.

Repeat this trick a few times in 10-minute sessions, 3 times a day until your dog gets it. The ‘dance’ trick is an easy one to teach your Yorkie and you’ll get a lot of mileage out of it, as it’s hard to tire of the spectacle of your furry best friend dancing for treats!

(Want to know how long yorkies live for?)

Speak

Our final trick is ‘speak’ and it’s another show-stopper. Getting your dog to ‘talk’ on command is not only impressive, but it’s kind of fun. Yorkies are a particularly vocal breed, so it is easier to teach this trick to them then it would be with quieter breeds, but you’ll still need a little patience. Stick with the steps below, however, and your Yorkie will learn it!

Get Your Dog In An Excited Mood

The first thing that we need to do is get your dog excited. You can do this by adopting an excited tone of voice or by playing with them for a minute or two before the official training begins. Once your Yorkie is worked up, tell them to sit, and here comes the hard part.

Move The Treat Around Just Out Of Reach

Your dog really needs to know the sit command well to stay still for this, but if they’ve got it down then here is what you do. Wave the treat around, out of reach, until your frustrated dog gives a ‘gimme!’ bark or a whine.

Reward And Repeat

Once they have barked or whined for their treat once, repeat the process, but this time say the word ‘speak’ while you do it. After your dog speaks-up, give them the treat, and repeat the process until they learn it. For fun, you can use ‘what do you think?’ instead of ‘speak’ but that’s all up to you. Congratulations, you’ve now got a talking Yorkie!

Want To Train Your Yorkie With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Yorkie properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Yorkie completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

What To Avoid Doing When Training Your Yorkie

Training is tricky and if it’s your first time to train a dog, then there are some pitfalls which you should be aware of. We’ll list these items out and then elaborate a little on each. Here are some tips about training mistakes that you can avoid:

  • You should re-evaluate strategies that aren’t working
  • Don’t give negative associations to commands
  • Don’t forget to practice all the time
  • You shouldn’t repeat commands if your dog isn’t responding
  • Never train when you’re in a bad mood

You Should Re-evaluate Strategies That Aren’t Working

If you are trying to teach a new trick to your Yorkie and they don’t seem to understand you, even though you are following the recommended steps, then stop. Repeating a command and gesturing wildly just confuses your dog and it will end with both of you being frustrated.

If your dog isn’t learning a trick from a method that you’ve found, look for another method to accomplish the same thing. Every dog is unique and you can get a wide range of responses to the same stimuli, so try something new and see if you get better progress.

Don’t Give Negative Associations To Commands

Until you’ve established a new command for at least a month, you don’t want to give it any negative associations. For instance, if you’ve just taught your dog to come to you then don’t use the command to trick them into going into their kennel for a vet visit.

They’ll get an awkward visit and probably a shot for their trouble and your dog is going to remember this.

The next time that you tell them ‘come’ you’ll be lucky if they don’t flee into the next room. Once your dog is used to a command and has a lot of positive associations with it then you can occasionally use it for things that the dog doesn’t like. Just be very careful how you use those commands when your dog is just learning them.

Don’t Forget To Practice All The Time

Another common mistake that Yorkie owners make while training is failure to practice. You need to do your training sessions and then reinforce them throughout the day with practice. Give them the command that you are teaching them and when they do what they are told, it’s time for a treat and some praise.

Consistency is important if you want your dog to learn those commands, so be sure to practice in between those training sessions for best results.

You Shouldn’t Repeat Commands If Your Dog Isn’t Responding

If your dog isn’t responding to a command that they’ve just learned, don’t keep repeating the word. When your dog has fully learned a new command, saying it once should be enough. If you just keep repeating the word with no response then your dog will stop listening.

Try to get their attention with a treat and then say the command once. No obedience, then no treat. Period. Your dog will get the message and learn to respond immediately to your commands.

Never Train When You’re In A Bad Mood

Our final entry in this of ‘doggy-don’ts’ is very important. Don’t try to train your dog when you are in a bad mood. It’s frustrating for both of you and your dog can smell when you are stressed. This will make them nervous or anxious and you aren’t going to get far with training.

Worse, you are more likely to get upset, and the training session will be a complete waste of time that might even result in making your dog nervous about sessions to follow. If you are having a bad day, just spend it winding down instead. Yorkies are little lapdogs and they excel at comforting their owners, so take advantage of this and pet your stress away.

Training will wait until you are in a better mood.

(Find out what to do if you have an aggressive Yorkie.)

Some Parting Words On Yorkie Training

As you can see, there are a number of easy tricks that you can teach your Yorkie. These feisty and intelligent little dogs just love to please and if you are patient and consistent with the training sessions then you will get results. Just be sure to avoid the pitfalls, like training in a bad mood or neglecting to practice new commands.

Before you know it, your Yorkie will be performing tricks like a pro!

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