Yorkies are affectionate and excitable, but they also tend to be a bit clingy. So, can Yorkies be left alone? As it turns out, this breed has some very stringent attention requirements that you’ll want to follow. Today we’ll tell you all about leaving them alone, potential issues, and training that can help you to make your Yorkie a little less codependent.
Let’s talk about the cute little dogs that hate being alone!
Can Yorkies Be Left Alone?
Yorkies don’t take well to being alone, as they can quickly before frightened and confused. Puppies should be left alone for no more than 2 – 3 hours at a time and adults (18 months or older) for 4 – 6 hours at a time.
Are Yorkies Prone To Separation Anxiety?
Yorkshire Terriers are very prone to separation anxiety. If left alone for too long, they tend to get destructive and act out due to the buildup of stress from the separation.
How Long Can You Leave A Yorkie Alone?
Your Yorkie is extremely social, so how long you can leave them alone is really going to depend on your dog’s age. It breaks down like this:
- Puppy (18 months and under) – Puppies should only be left alone for 2 – 3 hours a day.
- Adult puppies (18 months to 8 years) – Adults may be left alone for 4 – 6 hours at a time.
- Senior Yorkies (8 – 12 years) – Senior Yorkies may be left alone for 2 – 6 hours, depending on the Yorkies overall health.
How Can You Train Your Yorkie To Be Left Alone?
Your best bet when it comes to desensitizing your Yorkie to being left alone is going to be crate training. Crate training involves creating a den-like enclosure in which your dog feels comfortable spending time alone. This gives your dog a little sanctuary to go to when stressed and also gives you a place to put them when you are not present.
This can help minimize damage from acting out and, if done correctly, may help extend the amount of time that your Yorkie feels comfortable spending alone. We’ll touch briefly on the overall advantages and then tell you exactly how crate training your Yorkie is done.
Note: Know your dog’s potty schedule. A Yorkie can wait exactly 1 hour for every month of their age, and they also need to go on a potty break 15 – 20 minutes after every meal. When setting up crate sessions, you will need to plan for this, or your puppy may have potty accidents.
The Advantages Of Crate Training Your Yorkie
Crate training is ideal for any dog, but especially for Yorkies. These little furry balls of love absolutely HATE being alone, so it’s imperative that we try to make your dog just a little less codependent. They will still love you unconditionally; of course, we just want to teach them that if you aren’t there that you are always coming back!
The advantages of crate training are as follows:
- Crate training protects your Yorkie from potential pitfalls in the house (chewing on electrical wires, knocking something heavy over, etc)
- It also protects your home from chewing or from your dog eliminating on the carpet or furniture
- Crate training helps to teach your dog to wait for potty breaks
- It can prepare your dog for kennel visits in case of emergencies
- Your dog will be more comfortable with carriers, assured that you will let them out because you always let them out of the crate
Purchase Your Crate Supplies
Crates come in a few varieties, basically boiling down to basic plastic/dog carrier types, fabric over metal types (not recommended as these are quite chewable), and our favorite type, wire enclosures with a door area in front.
You’ll want to acquire one of these wire-type enclosures if possible, or you could even repurpose ‘baby gates’ if you have children and are no longer using them. We want to create a square enclosure that is not huge but enough to give your dog just a little space. We’re going to populate the inside with the following items:
- A food and water bowl
- A sleeping blanket
- Some favored play toys and chew toys
- A puppy pad or a faux-grass square (for potty emergencies)
- An old sheet to drape and pin to the back
We are fastening a sheet to the back because momma dogs like to have and keep their pups in a den, so this makes the enclosure just a little bit more comfortable. Be sure to put the puppy pad/faux grass in the opposite corner away from the food, as dogs aren’t comfortable going potty where they eat.
Arrange the items inside, and we are ready to introduce your puppy to their new crate.
Note: We want to make sure that the crate is placed somewhere that your dog can easily see you. The living room is ideal if this is where you spend your most leisure time. This will help them to feel reassured, as they can see you if crated during this time.
Leave The Crate Open For A Few Days To Get Your Dog Comfortable
You’ll want to leave the crate unused at first, with just the door open so that your Yorkie will explore it naturally. It helps if you leave a treat or two inside so that they are prompted to check, and these first few days, you can randomly leave a treat inside to lure them for multiple visits.
This will let them get used to the crate area, and if you are lucky, they might even try out a blanket to take a nap with you safely in view nearby. Don’t close the door yet, as we’re working up to that.
Feeding Your Yorkie In The Crate
After a few ‘crate inspection’ days, we are ready to get your dog used to small amounts of crated time. Specifically, we’re going to spend the next 3 days feeding your dog in the crate. Put your dog’s food and water inside and call them over, saying ‘Crate’ so that we can establish this command. When they go in to eat, wait until they are distracted and quietly close the gate.
Wait until your dog finishes eating and then comes up to the gate before opening it and giving them a treat and some praise.
Leaving The Room For Half An Hour
After a few days of feeding in the crate, try leaving for 15 minutes to half an hour and then coming back to let them out. You can run to the convenience store for an errand or simply leave the room, but if you do, the latter is important NOT to respond to whining. You don’t want to teach your Yorkie that this behavior will make you come running.
If your Yorkie is taking well to the brief cratings and is at least 2 months old, then we are ready for 2-hour errands. Call your dog over and use the ‘crate’ command to get them to go into their crate. Give them a treat when they comply and then give them a pat to reassure them that everything’s okay and go on a 2-hour errand.
When you return, greet your Yorkie enthusiastically and give them a treat before letting them out.
Overnight Crating Your Yorkie
After about a week of 2-hour errands, you are ready to give your Yorkie an overnight crating. You’ll want to keep in mind the puppy schedule, as you are going to need to set some alarms to make sure that you are taking your dog out for potty breaks on time so that there are no accidents.
Put a minimal amount of water in the bowl but not food, as you don’t want them to need another potty break or to get used to midnight feedings. If your dog whines (and they probably will), you’re going to have to be strong and ignore it, as long as they have had their potty breaks.
Over time, they will get used to the crate and the typical time for crate training is approximately 3 weeks, so hang in there. You’ve got this!
(Want to know whether Yorkies are easy or hard to train?)
What Happens If You Leave A Yorkie Alone Too Long/Without Being Trained
Leaving a Yorkie alone for too long (more than 8 hours) can cause a number of behavioral issues. Yorkies are very social, and when left alone, they get very confused and frightened, and this can lead to separation anxiety and behavioral issues. These issues include:
- Chewing furniture
- Eliminating on furniture and the carpet
- Howling and barking
While it doesn’t work with all dogs, sometimes leaving the television on during crating periods can help a little. They’ll see the people on the television, and this may calm them. As we’ve said, though, this doesn’t work with all Yorkies, so your mileage with this tactic may vary.
A Yorkie that is left alone for too long is also at risk for depression. This can manifest in a number of ways, so if you’ve had to leave your Yorkie alone for long periods, then keep an eye out for symptoms like these:
- Weight loss – If your Yorkie seems to be eating less or just losing weight for no reason, then it could be due to depression. You can try switching up their diet a little with different foods and treats to see if it helps. If they seem fine but they’re losing weight, however, then a vet checkup is a good idea as it could be parasites.
- Oversleeping – Yorkies are little balls of supercharged energy most of the time, so if you have been crating them recently for longer periods and they start taking a nap immediately after you let them out then your dog might be depressed and may need some extra attention.
- Reluctance to go on walks or play – If your dog seems to lose the desire to play or to take walks and it seems to be after crating sessions, this is another depression sign. A little one-on-one nudging for playtime and some treat/praise treatment at this time is a good idea.
- In worst cases, refusal to eat at all – In very extreme cases your little friend may become so depressed that they do not want to eat at all. In a case like this you’re going to need to bring in the vet, as they can help with medications and techniques to stimulate appetite to get your Yorkie back to feeling okay.
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 Do If You Have To Leave Your Yorkie Alone All Day
Sometimes it’s unavoidable. You have to go to work, or you need to leave the house, and you simply cannot bring your little best friend along. There are a few things that you can do to help your Yorkie and to help your own peace of mind for these times when you simply must leave them on their own. Here are a few tips and strategies that can help:
- Install a puppy cam – A good, night-vision equipped videocam is a great way to keep tabs on your Yorkie if they are roaming alone around an enclosed area of the house or if they are crated. This lets you look in at any time to make sure that your little one is okay and not getting themselves into trouble in your absence.
- Exercise – Take your Yorkie out for a long walk and play session before you leave for the day. This means getting up a little earlier but if you tire your Yorkie out in the morning then they are more likely to take it easy and relax while you are gone. Over time, your dog will also learn that long walks like these mean that you will for a space and they may be more receptive to it.
- Lunchbreak visits – If at all possible, take your lunch at home with your Yorkie. They’ll appreciate the visit and it can become a bit of a special daily thing that the two of you share. Visiting on your lunchbreak helps to break up the time that they have to spend away from you and can help immensely, so it’s worth your consideration.
- Consider doggy daycare – Some doggy daycares are fairly social, with different mild-tempered dogs playing together and with your dog getting walks and attention throughout the day. In a pinch this can work wonders or even if you have a regular schedule and just want to make sure your Yorkie doesn’t feel alone.
- Medication is possible in severe cases – Medications such as Clomicalm or Alprazolam are available through your vet and may be useful with extremely codependent Yorkies. Check with your vet to see if they believe that this will be useful and practical in your case if nothing else seems to be working.
- Another dog might be a good idea – The presence of another dog may help quite a bit but you don’t necessarily have to get one. If your neighbors have a dog that your dog plays with then the two of you may be able to work out a schedule where your dogs spend time together while you and your neighbor work.
- Hire someone to house–sit – If there is someone you trust in your home (either a friend or a professional) then you could hire someone to make a few daily visits to your Yorkie while you are at work. This will help to calm them a bit, once they know the person, and breaks up the day into easily digestible chunks for your lonely Yorkie.
Entertainment Options For Your ‘Home-alone Yorkie’
A little extra entertainment might help your Yorkie. Just like with humans, distraction can really help to take down stress levels and to make them more manageable. A few options that can help your Yorkie to pass the time are as follows:
- The ‘Going away’ present – Take a box with no lid and inside it, place newspaper-wrapped treats, a loaded Kong toy, and treat-packed cardboard toilet-paper rolls. Wrap it up in newspaper like a present with some holes poked in the top so that they can smell the treats. Cleanup won’t be fun but this will keep your Yorkie occupied.
- Doggy music – We mentioned using a television, but did you know that there is also music specially designed for dogs? Do a Google search on ‘dog music’ and you can find some great examples. Alternately, you can just put on the radio, so that it isn’t completely quiet at home.
Some Closing Commentary On Leaving Yorkies Alone
While it’s heartbreaking to have to do it, sometimes you just have to leave your little one on their own. We hope that these tips will help to make things easier for both you and your furry best friend. Be sure to practice crate training and consider some of the strategies we’ve suggested to help pass the time if your Yorkie takes poorly to alone time.
Beyond that, just don’t forget when you get home to give them treats, praise, and a whole lotta love. Your Yorkie is going to be just fine!