Bringing out the Diamond in the Ruff
Alright. So YOU know that your Yorkshire Terrier is the cutest, smartest, and overall best dog in the world. But whenever you have company over, or you meet another dog on the street, it’s as though he becomes a completely different dog, barking, growling, even hiding behind your legs. So what can you do?
Here are five tips to help socialize your Yorkie so that everyone can meet the pooch you know and love.
1 – Go For Daily Walks.
Dog experts agree that this is the number one method for socializing. To ensure a good experience, make sure that you are not tense or anxious whenever the two of you meet a new friend, human or canine. Among dog breeds, Yorkies are particularly sensitive to their human’s emotions, so walk tall, proud, and friendly, and your dog will follow.
2 – Reward the Good, Ignore the Bad.
Yorkies, especially males, want to please their humans. However, because they are sensitive to your emotions, negative behavior as punishment can have an adverse reaction, causing your pup to withdraw. A better approach can be to ignore unwanted behavior as much as possible.
For example, if your dog barks every time the door rings, try to ignore him and instead answer the door as though nothing unusual is happening. Your Yorkie will learn both that barking elicits no reaction from his human, as well as that you are not afraid of the door, so why should he be?
3 – Keep a Treat Stash Handy.
On the flip side of that, desired behavior should always be rewarded. When you walk by another dog and your Yorkie walks up curiously, sniffs, and allows you to lead him away without barking or growling, make sure you have a treat on hand.
You might also use this as a pre-emptive measure with new dogs. If you see something your pup might get upset about, try using the command “Watch me!”, and then giving your dog a treat when his attention stays on you.
4 – Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Age.
Is your Yorkie just a couple of months old, overactive and curious about everything? Or is he already an adult, with learned behaviors (both good and bad) and a more subdued manner? Age can definitely be a factor when it comes to socializing your dog.
Puppies up to about 16 months of age are at the perfect age to start socialization. They can and should be played with often and even encouraged to play in groups of other friendly dogs. On the other hand, even the most well-adjusted older Yorkie may not be keen on playing in large groups.
This is not the same as being anti-social, and is in fact quite common for older dogs of all breeds. If this is the case, perhaps forgo the dog park, and focus your socialization on one-on-one playdates with a friend’s dog instead.
5 – Take Training Classes.
When in doubt, seek professional help! An obedience or training class, taught by a respected professional, can be an ideal way to socialize your Yorkie with other people and dogs. Your pooch will be engaged in the lessons, and therefore less likely to be bothered by the other dogs, plus, in case an incident does arise, the instructor will have additional suggestions on how to help the situation. You might learn a few tricks yourself!
Yorkies can be overexcited dogs, but they can also be loyal and loving. No matter what stage of life your Yorkie is in, it’s never too late to help him show the world his best self!
Have questions or comments? Let us know below!