The Yotkshire Terrier Personality
Yorkshire Terriers, more commonly known as "Yorkies", are first and foremost terriers. All terriers were bred to control, hunt and kill vermin, and many retain the feisty nature and high prey drive, meaning they love to chase things and can be aggressive toward other animals. Despite weighing 4 to 7 lbs., a Yorkshire Terrier is scrappy enough to challenge much bigger dogs. Like most terriers, they should be trained and socialized to avoid snappy, yappy behavior. They are very devoted, intelligent and affectionate little dogs. Yorkies can also be stubborn and hard to train (they are notoriously hard to potty-train), but they will learn to behave if you use consistent training methods and have patience.
How Yorkshire Terriers Learn to Behave
Like all dogs, Yorkies learn to behave through operant conditioning. In a nutshell, dogs repeat what works and brings pleasant consequences, and they don't repeat behavior that doesn't get them what they want. For instance, if you pick up a Yorkshire Terrier, give him a treat or otherwise pay attention to him every time he barks, he learns to bark a lot. If you were to leave the room every time he barked, he would learn that his barking makes his owner walk away, and he would eventually become quieter. The bottom line is to reward good behavior and ignore or gently correct unwanted behavior. Be consistent and patient.
Training a Yorkshire Terrier
Although Yorkshire Terriers can be stubborn, training should be fair and consistent. Avoid harsh corrections and never hit your Yorkie. They are playful and inquisitive dogs, so if you make training fun and incorporate play by rewarding them with a thrown toy, a game of tug or a treat, they will learn faster.
Potty-Training Your Yorkie
Potty-training a Yorkshire Terrier can be challenging and may take months. Crate-training may be very helpful. Take your Yorkie out to go potty when he wakes up, after he eats and at regular intervals. Give him praise and treats when he potties outside, and watch him carefully inside. The minute he looks as if he needs to go--as exhibited by circling or sniffing--take him right out and encourage him.