Congratulations, proud new Yorkie parents! It’s easy to love the adorable Yorkshire terrier, and as one of the most popular toy breeds out there, it seems many people agree. Nowadays these little cuties can often be found in the lap of luxury with their furparents. But in ancient England where you can trace their roots, these eensy weensy puppers were on the payroll as pest control. They’d keep your abode rat-free, and they’d be adorable while doing it. But soon, Victorian royalty would find potential in these cuties as fashion accessories, and the rest is history. (1)
Even the cutest mini puppers need good manners, so now that you’ve made little Trixie part of the family, how can you help her be a really Good Girl?
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First things first: if your new furry best friend isn’t housetrained, you’ll want to get right on that. There is nothing worse than getting dressed for a jog, only to discover that your trainers have been used as a puppy pad. I’ve checked. So help her get oriented. She’ll need to know where to go, when she can go, and how to ping you with a message of “I gotta go”.
Start by setting expectations. Feed her at the same time every day and take her outside to go potty at the same time too. Take her to the same place every time, and tell her it’s time to do her doggy business. Use any word you like, just be sure to use it consistently. (2) When she follows the plan, tell her what a great job she did! Celebrate. “Good potty Trix!” Let her know she is probably the smartest Yorkie out there – because obviously she is.
Train Your Yorkie
There are all kinds of tricks you can train your Yorkie to do because terriers are highly trainable. It’s fun to be able to make them “shake” or “high five”, but I think one of the most important tricks isn’t really a trick. “Touch” is a handy command that can be the basis for other commands. It doubles for “come”, for example, so if you can master “touch”, you’ll get a two-fer.
The premise is simple: Get the furry one to boop your hand with their nose. You do this by putting something interesting in your hand. Treats always work, but if you’re concerned about ending up with a treat-motivated furbaby, try your car keys instead. Jingle the keys, or hold the treat, and say “touch!” When Trixie approaches and touches your hand, celebrate with a “GOOD GIRL!!!” or a “GO TRIX GO!!!” so she knows she did a great job. (3) Repeat several times until the behavior is second nature. As you grow together you’ll find it useful in many different situations.
As previously mentioned, “touch” can be used as a sub for “come”, a handy trick you’ll appreciate.
It can also be parlayed into a way of communicating between you two… “touch” is the basis for bell training, so if potty training is on your to-do list, you may end up with a three-fer with “touch”.
Train With Love
There is no one right way to train any dog. But I know from personal experience that the best foundation is a strong bond and an air of trust between you and your Boo. When they know you freely dole out the love, treats, and praise, they’ll do everything they can to make you happy.