It is important to teach your Yorkie and young dog some basic commands that are used in obedience training or just to have a well-behaved
dog no matter where you may choose to take your dog. These commands are simple and are not difficult for most puppies and dogs to learn
provided they are given lots of practice and time to learn. Remember that each dog, regardless of breed characteristics, is an individual. Each
dog or Yorkie will learn some things more quickly than others, and some dogs, regardless of what the breed is known for, may just not have
the characteristic or ability. Keeping this in mind will help owners from being frustrated with their Yorkie or dog. Look for the things that your
dog is good at or excels at and don't expect them to learn every other trick that you have seen a dog of their breed do.
Some of the basic commands are the easiest to teach as they tend to be naturally occurring behaviors in puppies and dogs. The "come"
command is one of the first commands to teach and most puppies are naturals at learning this basic command. As they get older they may
choose not to respond to "come" when they are out exploring, playing or busy doing something they like, but they still understand the concept.
If your Yorkie puppy or dog does not come on command, go back and re-teach this using NILF training or any other method until the dog or
Yorkie puppy is responding 100% of the time. Once this is under control you are prepared to move forward.
There are several different ways to teach your Yorkie or dog to sit. The first and most natural way is to simply watch for the Yorkie or dog to
sit without being commanded. If you are using a clicker give a click and a reward, if you are not using the clicker method simply say "sit" and
give the reward. The Yorkie won't catch on as to why they are being rewarded for taking a break, but they will figure it out with repetition.
Once the Yorkie seems to look at you for a reward when he or she sits, start giving the command and looking for the desired response.
Reward as soon as the bottom touches the ground in the sitting posture.
If the Yorkie doesn't seem to understand the verbal cue you can use their own natural instincts to help them remember. Have a very tiny treat
in your fingers, something that the Yorkie knows and loves like a healthy dog treat cut into small pieces. Hold this time just above the tip of
the puppies nose and slide it back towards the top of their head, saying the word "sit". As the Yorkie leans back with its nose to follow the
treat, his or her hind end will automatically go down, give the treat as soon as the Yorkie puppy's rump is in the ground. If the Yorkie puppy
jumps up you are moving the treat too slowly or your hand is too high above their head.
Never, ever, ever, push down on a Yorkie puppy or dog's hips to make them sit. This can cause serious problems with the hips on some
breeds and can also cause the Yorkie to snap if it is painful.
Once the Yorkie puppy has mastered sit, stay is the next command. Start by having the Yorkie sit, say "Stay" and take once step away. If the
Yorkie puppy stays in place for a few seconds, step back and provide a treat. If the Yorkie puppy gets up, simply have them sit and repeat
the process until they stay for just a few seconds. Always step back to the Yorkie puppy rather than call them to you at least until they
understand what stay is all about.
Gradually increase the distance and time you spend away from the Yorkie puppy before returning for the reward. Once the Yorkie
understands stay and can do so appropriately, you can then start having them come to you. Remember if you have the Yorkie puppy sit, stay,
then come and sit they will assume the reward is for the last action, which is the sit. They may not understand that they are being rewarded for
the whole sequence, this is why it is broken down into two different events for initial training purposes.
Teaching your Yorkie puppy to lie down can be done very much the same as the sit command. You can use the Yorkie puppy's natural
behavior to cue it to lie down, plus use their own natural movement to teach the command. First the Yorkie puppy must sit on command. Get
down on the floor with the Yorkie puppy and show them a treat in your hand at their nose level. Move your hand, with the treat, down
towards the floor and slightly to the front of the Yorkie puppy, about 2 to 8 inches depending on the size of the Yorkie puppy. The Yorkie
puppy will naturally move his or her head down and lower the front legs to a down position. As soon as the Yorkie puppy is starting to move
the front legs forward say down, then when they are on the floor completely give them the treat. For some puppies you may have to reward
close approximations until they understand what you are requesting.
As with sitting never pull a puppies front legs forward or attempt to push down on their shoulders. Remember to keep pairing the command
with the start of the action and the reward with the completion of the action.
To teach the Yorkie or dog to heel they must be comfortable with the leash and collar and understand the sit command. Start with the Yorkie
or dog sitting beside your left leg. Give a command such as "Fido, Heel" then step off with your left leg. The Yorkie puppy or dog will usually
stand and follow. Stop and praise immediately. Have them sit and repeat this command until they get up and move on command with your
verbal cue and the movement of your left leg. Never pull or tug harshly on the leash or try to drag the Yorkie puppy along. Remember for tiny
puppies you will need to start with tiny steps. Gradually increase the length of strides and time that you are walking before providing praise.
The leash should be loose but not dragging, and the Yorkie should be following your left leg. If the Yorkie puppy starts to go off the other
direction or starts to pull, simple turn and walk the other direction, stopping as soon as the leash pulls taunt. This is usually enough correction
and the Yorkie puppy will learn to watch your leg to know where you are going. If the Yorkie runs ahead, simply stop and don't move until
they stop pulling and are focused.
Never use a choke collar or correction collar on a Yorkie . Heeling is often a difficult concept for many puppies and the help of a trainer at a
Yorkie obedience class is often beneficial for both Yorkie puppy and owner.
CJ AND DEB SILLERS