Yorkshire Terriers are small but strong-willed dogs with a temperament of a big dog. They require consistent and patient training to ensure they are well-behaved pets. Here are the top 10 behavioral training techniques for Yorkshire Terriers:

Key Takeaways:

  • Consistency is key in training Yorkshire Terriers.
  • Positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, is effective in shaping their behavior.
  • Using a lightweight harness during walks prevents strain on their neck.
  • Avoid punishment and instead, distract your Yorkie from bad behaviors.
  • Consider crate training to assist with house training.

Get to Know the Breed

Yorkshire Terriers, also known as Yorkies, are a popular breed of small, long-coated terriers. They originated in Yorkshire County, England, and were initially bred for their courage and tenacity in hunting and killing vermin. Despite their small size, Yorkies have a feisty and determined nature, often described as having the temperament of a big dog in a small dog’s body.

Yorkies are known for their intelligence and quick learning abilities, although some individuals may be slower to grasp new commands. Therefore, patience and repetition are key when training a Yorkie. It’s important to stay consistent and practice exercises multiple times to reinforce desired behaviors.

Understanding the breed’s temperament and intelligence is crucial in successfully training a Yorkshire Terrier. By taking into account their natural instincts and characteristics, you can tailor your training techniques to suit their needs and ensure a well-behaved and happy companion.

Temperament and Intelligence

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their confident, bold, and assertive personalities. They are curious and love to explore their surroundings. However, they can also be sensitive and may become anxious if not properly socialized or when exposed to new environments.

When it comes to intelligence, Yorkies are generally considered smart dogs. They possess a keen ability to learn and can quickly pick up on new commands and tricks. However, their intelligence can sometimes lead to stubbornness, so it’s important to remain patient and use positive reinforcement techniques to motivate and encourage compliance.

Temperament Intelligence
Confident Keen ability to learn
Curious Quick to pick up new commands
Assertive Sometimes stubborn
Sensitive Requires patience and positive reinforcement

Choose a Lightweight Harness and Use Positive Reinforcement

When it comes to walking your Yorkshire Terrier, using a lightweight harness is highly recommended. It helps prevent any strain on their delicate neck and ensures a comfortable and safe walking experience. Attach the leash to the harness instead of the collar to maintain better control and reduce the risk of injury.

Positive reinforcement is a key training technique that works wonders with Yorkies. Rewarding good behavior with treats and praise motivates your pup to repeat the desired actions. Make sure to use small, tasty treats specifically designed for small breeds like Yorkies. Gradually reduce the number of treats as your Yorkie becomes more proficient in the behavior you are training.

Clicker training can be an effective tool for Yorkies as well. By using a clicker, you can mark the exact moment your Yorkie exhibits the desired behavior, making it easier for them to understand what you are asking of them. The clicker serves as a signal to indicate to your Yorkie that they have done something right, and a reward is coming their way.

Avoid Punishment and Distract from Bad Behaviors

When it comes to training Yorkshire Terriers, punishment is not an effective method. Negative attention, such as scolding or yelling, actually reinforces the behavior by giving your Yorkie the attention they seek. Instead, it is best to ignore bad behavior and redirect their attention to more appropriate activities. Distracting your Yorkie from self-rewarding bad behaviors is key to discouraging unwanted actions.

For example, if your Yorkie starts chewing on something they shouldn’t, calmly remove the object and replace it with an appropriate chew toy. This will redirect their attention and prevent them from receiving gratification from the undesired behavior. Yorkie-proofing your home is also essential to limit access to potential trouble areas, reducing the likelihood of engaging in behaviors you wish to discourage.

Remember, consistency is vital when attempting to distract your Yorkie from bad behaviors. Be patient and persistent in redirecting their attention and providing suitable alternatives. With time and repetition, your Yorkie will learn what behaviors are acceptable and which ones should be avoided.

Table: Common Bad Behaviors and Distraction Techniques

Bad Behavior Distraction Technique
Barking excessively Redirect their attention with a puzzle toy or interactive game
Jumping on guests Teach them an alternative behavior, such as sitting or lying down, and reward them for performing the desired action
Pulling on the leash Train them to walk calmly by your side using positive reinforcement and reward them for loose leash walking
Chewing on furniture Replace the furniture with appropriate chew toys and engage them in interactive play to redirect their chewing behavior

By avoiding punishment and consistently redirecting your Yorkie’s attention, you can effectively discourage bad behaviors and foster positive habits. Remember to be patient and provide alternative activities that engage and stimulate their minds. With time and effort, your Yorkie will become a well-behaved and happy companion.

Consider Crate Training and Remain Consistent

Crate training can be a valuable tool in the process of training your Yorkshire Terrier. As den animals, Yorkies naturally seek out enclosed spaces for comfort and security. Introducing a crate as their own personal space can aid in house training and prevent destructive behavior when you’re unable to supervise them.

When crate training your Yorkie, it’s important to create a positive association with the crate. Start by making the crate inviting with soft bedding, toys, and treats. Gradually introduce your Yorkie to the crate by encouraging them to explore it at their own pace. Avoid forcing them into the crate as this may create negative associations.

Consistency is crucial when crate training your Yorkie. Establish a routine where your Yorkie spends short periods of time in the crate throughout the day. Gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable. Remember to provide potty breaks, exercise, and mental stimulation outside of the crate to prevent any negative associations with confinement.

By remaining consistent in your crate training approach, your Yorkie will learn to view the crate as a safe and comfortable space. This will not only aid in house training, but it will also provide them with a sense of security and help prevent separation anxiety.

crate training

Tips for Successful Crate Training

  • Choose an appropriately sized crate that allows your Yorkie to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
  • Introduce the crate gradually, making it a positive and rewarding experience.
  • Use treats and praise to encourage your Yorkie to enter the crate voluntarily.
  • Start with short periods of confinement and gradually increase the duration as your Yorkie becomes more comfortable.
  • Never use the crate as a form of punishment or timeout.

Remember, crate training should always be a positive and comfortable experience for your Yorkie. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can successfully crate train your Yorkshire Terrier and provide them with a safe and secure space of their own.


Training Yorkshire Terriers requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. By implementing the top 10 behavioral training techniques mentioned in this article, you can ensure that your Yorkie becomes a well-behaved and obedient pet.

Firstly, establish a designated area for housebreaking and stick to it. Consistency is key in teaching your Yorkie where they should do their business. Remember to follow the 15-minute rule and take your Yorkie outside regularly.

When walking your Yorkie, use a lightweight harness instead of a collar to prevent strain on their neck. Practice positive reinforcement by rewarding good behavior with treats and praise. Avoid punishing your Yorkie, as negative attention often reinforces bad behavior. Instead, distract them from self-rewarding bad behaviors and redirect their attention to more appropriate activities.

Consider crate training as a helpful tool for house training, but never force your Yorkie into the crate or use it as a timeout spot. Finally, remain consistent in your training approach. Set clear boundaries and rules for your Yorkie and enforce them consistently. Mixed messages can confuse your pup and hinder their progress.

With proper training and consistent application of these techniques, your Yorkshire Terrier can become a loving and well-behaved companion. Enjoy the journey of training your Yorkie and watch as they learn and grow into the best version of themselves.


Can Yorkshire Terriers be trained easily?

Some Yorkies are quick learners, while others may be slower. It is important to be patient and repeat exercises multiple times when training your Yorkie.

Should I use a harness or collar when walking my Yorkie?

It is recommended to use a lightweight harness instead of attaching the leash to their collar to prevent any strain on their neck.

What training method works best for Yorkshire Terriers?

Yorkshire Terriers respond well to reward-based training. Use positive reinforcement by rewarding good behavior with treats and praise.

Is punishment effective in training Yorkies?

Punishment is not an effective deterrent for Yorkies. Negative attention in the form of scolding actually rewards the dog with attention. It is best to ignore bad behavior and instead, try to distract your Yorkie from self-rewarding bad behaviors.

How can I prevent my Yorkie from chewing on inappropriate objects?

If your Yorkie is chewing on something it shouldn’t, distract them with a toy and remove the inappropriate object. Yorkie-proofing your home is also important to prevent access to potential trouble areas.

Should I consider crate training for my Yorkie?

Crate training can be helpful for house training your Yorkie, as they are den animals and are more likely to hold their bladder. However, it is important to never force your Yorkie into the crate or use it as a timeout spot.

How important is consistency in training Yorkshire Terriers?

Consistency is key in training your Yorkie. Set clear boundaries and rules and be consistent in enforcing them. Mixed messages can confuse your pup.

Are there any other tips for training Yorkshire Terriers?

In addition to the mentioned techniques, remember to choose one area for housebreaking, follow the 15-minute rule, and remain consistent in your training approach.

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