Yorkies can be very vocal and quite yappy, so it is always a good idea to train them young to know when to bark and when not to bark, and ensure they are adequately socialised, experience new activities, and are introduced to as many different sounds and shapes as possible. This advice actually applies to all breeds of dog.
Firstly, we must remember that barking is a natural form of expression for our dogs. If we try to stop it completely it is not good for our dog, healthwise or from an humane point of view. Your dog will generally bark when it is experiencing the following things : Boredom, Frustration, Fear. Spending time with your dog, you will also begin to recognise the different barking sounds and what they mean. Quite separately, problem barking can be sorted out with the right actions and, if not completely prevented, can be kept under control.
Boredom Barking – you may not even know about this until your neighbour mentions that your dog barks when you go out. It could be separation anxiety or simply a way to amuse themselves – they just like barking. To reduce the amount of times they bark, make sure your dog has plenty of exercise then they will be sleepy when you aren’t there. Leave them plenty of toys to keep them occupied and try to alter your “leaving the house” routine, if you do the same things each time you are about to leave, they will recognise and become fired up and be ready to bark when you go – the “leaving the house routine” applies more to separation anxiety than boredom, but is a good action to follow anyway.
Fear Barking – stress causes your dog to bark, something unknown, a strange noise, another dog barking. Their barking is basically saying “stay away” to whatever is making the noise! With this type of barking you have to de-sensitise your dog to whatever is scaring them. Say, for example, they bark at someone wearing a hat. Have a friend wear a hat but stand some distance from you. When your dog isn’t barking praise them, when they are calm move a little closer to the “hat”, still praising when they don’t bark. Keep repeating this, until eventually you and your dog should be able to walk right past without so much as a backward glance at the offending article. If your dog barks at something they are unlikely to see again, they won’t need desensitising, but don’t make a fuss of them when they do bark as this will confirm in their mind that they are right to be scared. Simply distract them with something nice to eat or a toy and carry on with whatever you are doing – only praise them when they stop barking.
Frustration Barking – when they want something they can’t have. We have all experienced this one, when your dog wants you to throw a toy for the millionth time for them to retrieve, or they want a piece of what you are eating, or they want the toy that their doggie friend is playing with and won’t let them have it.
See our simple tips below to prevent general barking:
- A confident, happy dog is less likely to bark as much as a dog that has confidence issues;
- To ensure your dog is confident, you must keep them physically and mentally stimulated;
- Socialise your dog with as many different aspects of life, new people, new shapes, new noises and new places. When your dog comes up against new situations, your dog will be less likely to be unsure and therefore less likely to bark;
- When your dog doesn’t bark at new experiences, praise them as positive reinforcement of the right behaviour.