Dog Training

Do Yorkies Bark a Lot? Yes, Here’s How to Train Them

Do Yorkies Bark a Lot
Written by Abner

Yorkshire Terriers, or as we affectionately call them, Yorkies, are these cute and charming little canines that make for great companions. But one burning question for potential Yorkie parents is this: “Do Yorkies bark a lot?” 

The answer, as Megan Graham, a parent herself, is a resounding “yes.”

Yorkshire Terriers have a reputation for being pretty vocal. So, what’s behind their frequent barking? Let’s break it down.

First, they’ve got this strong protective instinct that makes them bark to alert their humans about potential dangers. Second, they can be quite the attention-seekers, resorting to barking when they feel neglected or left alone for too long. Plus, their social and territorial nature leads to barking when they spot a stranger or feel their turf is under siege.

Let’s dig deeper into the reasons behind these Yorkie barking tendencies and how to handle their vocal habits.

Why Do Yorkies Bark So Much? 8 Reasons 

Megan Graham gives us the lowdown on their barking behavior, revealing some unique challenges that come with these lovable little furballs.

One key point she makes is that these dogs tend to bark more when they’re in a pack. That means if you’ve got more than one Yorkie, their barking can quickly turn into a noisy choir due to a sort of “gang mentality.” 

When one Yorkie starts barking, the others join in, creating a lively and vocal household. If you’re thinking about having multiple Yorkies, get ready for some lively and noisy interactions among them.

Let’s dive into the reasons behind excessive barking to shed light on the various factors contributing to their chattiness.

1. Lack of Exercise and Stimulation 

Just like any other dog, this breed needs their fair share of physical exercise and mental engagement to stay content and well-behaved. When they don’t get enough exercise, their pent-up energy can lead to frustration, which often comes out as excessive barking. 

Many parents find themselves dealing with barking issues when their furry friends don’t get sufficient physical activity. Yorkies are known for their boundless energy, enjoying activities like playtime, strolls, and even agility training. 

Regular exercise helps burn off excess energy and can significantly curb their urge to bark.

2. Guard Dog Instinct

While Yorkies might not be the fiercest guard dogs due to their small stature, they’ve got a solid protective instinct. They bark when they sense an unfamiliar person or noise, trying to alert their humans to a potential threat. 

This protective nature comes from their history as rat hunters in the English textile mills.

When they detect a stranger approaching their territory or home, they can go into full alert mode, barking persistently to protect their loved ones.

3. Attention-Seeking Behavior 

Yorkies are often called “velcro dogs” because they’re incredibly attached to their owners. They thrive on human interaction and may resort to barking to get attention. 

If they feel ignored or are left alone for extended periods, they might bark excessively to grab their owner’s focus. 

Sometimes, owners unintentionally reinforce this behavior by responding to the barking with attention or even scolding, which the dog might take as a form of interaction.

4. Boredom and Loneliness

These dogs are social butterflies. When left alone for extended periods, they can become bored and lonely, leading to excessive barking. It becomes their way of expressing frustration or seeking companionship.

To combat this, it’s crucial to ensure your Yorkie has plenty of toys, mental puzzles, and perhaps a playmate to keep them entertained when you’re not around. Crate training can also offer a sense of security when they’re alone.

5. Learned Behavior 

Dogs are quick learners. If a Yorkshire Terrier figures out that barking gets them what they want, like attention, treats, or access to something they desire, they’ll keep on barking because it becomes a learned behavior. 

As mentioned by Megan, addressing this involves retraining and redirecting their focus to more desirable activities.

6. Territorial Barking

They are known to be territorial by nature. When they sense a threat to their territory, they bark. This behavior goes back to their history as watchdogs in textile mills, where they alerted workers to intruders or vermin.

7. Anxiety and Fear

Like many dogs, Yorkies can experience anxiety and fear in various situations. Separation anxiety, noise phobias, or unfamiliar surroundings can trigger excessive barking as a response to their emotional distress.

Identify the source of anxiety and work with a vet or a professional dog trainer to reduce barking caused by fear or anxiety.

8. Medical Reasons 

In some cases, excessive barking can be linked to underlying health issues. Just like other dog breeds, they may bark more when they’re in pain or discomfort. 

Dental problems, injuries, or other medical conditions can make them more vocal than usual.

When you notice a sudden increase in barking without an apparent behavioral reason, consult a vet to rule out any medical concerns.

Can You Train Yorkies Not to Bark? Managing Yorkie Barking

While it’s true that the breed is prone to barking, there are several strategies you can use to handle their vocal tendencies and maintain a peaceful home.

1. Provide Background Noise

Megan suggests leaving the TV on when you’re not home to create some background noise. This can help drown out external sounds that might trigger your Yorkie’s barking, like people passing by on the street.

2. Regular Exercise

One of the best ways to reduce excessive barking is to ensure your dog gets enough exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog, and a tired Yorkie is less likely to bark excessively. Take your dog on daily walks and engage in playtime to burn off their excess energy.

Here are some key tips for exercising your Yorkie:

  • Morning Walks: A brisk morning walk can help burn off excess energy and set a positive tone for the day.
  • Interactive Play: Engage your dog in interactive play sessions with toys or games like fetch and hide-and-seek.
  • Mental Stimulation: Mental exercises are crucial. Teach your dog new tricks, use puzzle toys, or engage in obedience training to keep their minds active.
  • Consistent Routine: Establish a consistent daily routine, including exercise, feeding, and rest, which can help reduce anxiety and excessive barking.

By giving your Yorkie proper exercise and mental stimulation, you’re already on the right track to reducing excessive barking. However, exercise alone may not be enough for all Yorkies, especially if the behavior is deeply ingrained. Training them is key.

3. Training 

Megan mentions she doesn’t go all out to stop her dogs from barking, but it’s essential to provide some basic training to your Yorkies. Teaching them commands like “quiet” or “enough” can be helpful when you need them to stop barking. Positive reinforcement techniques work wonders with Yorkies.

Here’s how to do it:

To address this behavior, follow a balanced approach, focusing on:

  • Correction: When your dog starts barking excessively, provide a clear and firm verbal correction. Stand tall, use a deep tone, and say “no” or “quiet.” Your correction should convey disapproval without causing fear.
  • Redirect: After the correction, immediately redirect your Yorkie’s attention to an alternative behavior. Ask them to sit, stay, or wait. This shifts their focus and reinforces the message that quiet and calm behavior gets rewarded.
  • Reinforce: When your dog follows your redirection and stays quiet, reinforce this behavior with praise, treats, or positive attention. By rewarding the desired behavior, your dog learns that being quiet and well-behaved brings positive reinforcement.

The Postman Analogy

To illustrate the importance of correction and redirection, think about a dog barking at the postman. In this scenario, the dog barks to let everyone know that the postman’s presence is not welcome. The dog barks, the postman leaves, and the dog learns that barking is an effective way to make the postman go away.

By using the correction, redirection, and reinforcement approach, you can gradually teach your Yorkie that calm, quiet behavior is more rewarding. Instead of barking at the postman, they can learn to remain quiet and composed. You can apply it to various situations where your pet gets a little too vocal.

4. Socialization

Introduce your pet to different people, pets, and environments from a young age to reduce their anxiety and make them less likely to bark out of fear or stress. 

It’s not just your dog’s relationship with others but also the one between you and your furry friend that encourages them to find peace.

So, another critical aspect of training your dog to stop excessive barking is to address the relationship between you and your dog.

Rebuild the Relationship

Dogs often bark to seek attention or to communicate their needs. To curb excessive barking, it’s essential to teach your dog to look up to you as a calm, assertive, and dependable leader. You can achieve it through a process of restructuring the relationship.

5. Bark Collars

Some situations may require more substantial corrections.

Bark collars are a somewhat controversial option, but some dog owners find them effective. These collars release a harmless citronella spray or emit a high-pitched sound when your dog barks, which can deter them from excessive vocalization.

You can also use tools like prong collars or remote training collars, but it’s crucial to use these tools responsibly and under the guidance of a professional dog trainer.

6. Consult a Professional

If your Yorkie’s barking becomes a significant issue, consider seeking the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide tailored solutions to address your specific situation.

Are Yorkies for you? Consider Your Lifestyle

It’s important to note that while these dogs are incredibly endearing pets, they may not be the best fit for everyone. As Megan mentions, if you value a quiet environment or have noise-sensitive neighbors, a Yorkshire Terrier might not be the ideal choice. 

These dogs have a natural inclination to bark, and suppressing their instincts entirely can be a challenge.

When it comes to barking habits, it’s essential to assess your lifestyle and preferences. If you’re looking for a quiet dog breed, a Yorkie may not be the best match. While some Yorkies bark less than others, their inclination to vocalize is a breed characteristic.

Yorkies as Watchdogs – Putting Barking To Good Use

On a positive note, the breed makes excellent watchdogs. Their alertness and tendency to bark at any unusual or suspicious activity can help keep your home safe. These little dogs have a strong sense of loyalty and protection, and their barking can be a valuable asset in deterring potential intruders.

However, as Megan points out, this protective nature can also lead to barking at everyday occurrences, such as other dogs, people passing by, or even the ringing of a phone. It’s a part of their charming, albeit sometimes noisy, personality.

Do Yorkies Bark a Lot? – Wrapping Up

Yorkies are naturally vocal dogs, and their propensity for barking is a distinctive trait of the breed. While there are ways to manage their barking habits, it’s essential to remember that you cannot eliminate this behavior.

If you are considering bringing a Yorkshire Terrier into your home, you should be prepared for a lively and occasionally noisy companion. Their barking may be a small price to pay for the love and loyalty they provide.

Ultimately, your decision should align with your lifestyle and tolerance for noise, and it’s important to recognize the unique characteristics of the breed.

Take care of yourself and your furry friend.

About the author


Greetings, I'm Abner, a dog trainer with 7 years of expertise, and I welcome you to PupsGuide, your premier resource for expert tips and knowledge to strengthen the bond with your beloved canine companion.

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