Though small in stature, the Yorkshire terrier has a giant personality. However – as any Yorkie owner will tell you, that delightful personality can be accompanied by a single-minded stubbornness that one would only expect to find in small children or politicians.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems Yorkie owners face is a runaway dog. Originally developed in the 19th century to catch rats in clothing mills, Yorkshire terriers have an incredibly strong prey drive.
This means your Yorkie’s natural instinct is to chase small animals – squirrels, cats, birds, etc. The thrill of the chase alone is reward to your dog and no amount food you supply will quash your Yorkie’s urge to hunt.
Dangers in the form of moving vehicles, various poisonous substances, and wild or aggressive animals means our world isn’t safe for wandering pups. Luckily there are measures you can take to keep your pooch safe – even when they are determined to run free.
Keep Training on Track
Training a dog is no easy task, especially an obstinate Yorkie. It’s always challenging to teach your dog to fight against their instincts, but with a little persistence it can be done.
The main issue to deal with is recall. When training a Yorkie to return on command, it’s important to do so in areas of low distraction. Start training with your dog on a lead and offering a food reward; you can use a longer line as the training progresses.
Visualize an invisible circle around you and your dog. Your Yorkie will return on command within this circle if you are using an appropriate reward. At some point your dog will reach a physical distance where it will no longer heed your calls.
It’s your job to learn this response distance and keep the dog within it or on a leash. With Yorkie’s in particular, it’s important to remember that consistency is key.
An Ounce of Prevention
If you’re looking for ways to keep your Yorkie safely within the confines of your home or yard, start with a good fence. A wooden (or vinyl) privacy fence is a safe choice for most dogs. However, if your Yorkie burrower or fence jumper, you may be better served by a wireless dog fence.
Another great preventative measure is neutering your male dog. Although it’s not a cure-all, neutering is one of the best ways to lessen the chance of roaming.
One of the most important steps in keeping your dog from running away is by making home the most rewarding place to be. There are a number of easy ways to do this:
- Provide your dog company while you are away.
- Make sure your Yorkie gets plenty of exercise, both at home and away.
- Feed sensible meals and offer low fat treats.
- Ensure there are plenty of safe, “busy” toys to keep your dog stimulated.
If all else fails and your little buddy escapes, make sure he or she is properly identified with an ID collar, tags or a microchip to guarantee a safe return.
By focusing on the tips listed in this article, you can help keep your Yorkie where they belong – safe and happily at home.
Adam Holmes enjoys a good bout of roughhousing with his two dogs. He campaigns against animal cruelty (especially in training methods) and currently writes on behalf of Havahart Wireless, a provider of wireless pet fences.