🦴 Updated on July 15th, 2023
My Yorkshire Terrier is now probably the best-behaved member of my family, but I didn’t know everything I should have when I first brought her home. She was barking incessantly when we first got her as a puppy.
I wasn’t aware of why Yorkie dogs bark a lot or how to interpret Yorkshire Terrier barking. But I learned a lot, and most of it very quickly. So now, I can share some of that knowledge with you. So, do Yorkies bark a lot? Oh yes, especially before you train them right!
Do Yorkshire Terriers Bark a Lot?
Adding a new Yorkie to the family can be fun, but each dog is different. In addition to their individual personality traits, some behaviors are typical in certain breeds. You should be aware of these breed-specific behaviors to know how to handle your dog and what comes along with taking one into your home.
Not only is barking normal behavior for Yorkies, but they also tend to bark quite a bit. Generally, the answer to “do Yorkies bark a lot?” is simple: Yes, Yorkies bark often. It’s in their DNA as terriers.
Yorkshire Terrier puppies begin to vocalize or bark when they’re only two or three weeks old, coinciding with the first time they’re starting to open their eyes.
Their natural curiosity and high-energy temperament will kick into overdrive as they grow and develop. Yorkies always want to play, and everyone they meet is a potential partner. So, it’s a full-time job keeping Yorkies entertained.
Why Do Yorkies Bark So Much?
Why do Yorkies bark a lot? You may become perplexed if you find your Yorkie barking at nothing. But, many experts think that a large part of their urge to bark originates from their need to protect and their excellent hearing.
Due to the positioning and shape of a Yorkie’s ears, they are pretty sensitive to noises, even ones that we can’t hear.
Their natural urge to vocalize to assert dominance, combined with their excellent hearing, can lead to a lot of barking. If your Yorkie hears any unfamiliar sounds, they’ll want to bark, declaring their territory and dominance over it.
Keep in mind that overall, Yorkies aren’t very demanding or finicky dogs once you get to understand them and their needs.
However, you have to remember that they’re keenly aware of everything around them and are so energetic that they’re also very excitable, making them predisposed to nuisance barking behavior.
Even though these natural urges are pretty strong, you can work to teach your Yorkie better barking habits. Through consistency and high-quality training, you can get your dog to understand when it’s appropriate to bark and when it’s not.
How To Train a Yorkie Not To Bark
There’s a right way of training Yorkie to stop barking, and then there’s a wrong way. First, realize that as annoying as nuisance barking can be, some barking is necessary and good. Your dog barks for important reasons.
Your training shouldn’t make your dog fearful. Instead, you have to get their barking tuned to their environment and different stimuli.
Stop a Yorkie From Barking at Things: The Right Way
The best method for training your Yorkie is to teach them that constant barking won’t get your attention or please you. You reinforce that feeling by ignoring them when they bark and rewarding them when they don’t. Here’s how it works.
Choose a sound that makes your Yorkie bark, like the doorbell. Anything that’s easily reproducible, perhaps even with the help of a friend or family member. Then, have someone else reproduce the sound repeatedly, once every ten seconds or so. When the dog barks, reassure them that everything is ok in a firm tone.
You can also tell them to sit, reinforcing that all-important command. Then open the door for your guest. Again reassure your dog everything is ok.
Now, reward them each time they cease barking for at least five and up to ten seconds. If they bark, look away, and demonstrate that their inappropriate barking won’t get your praise – or any more treats.
When they hear the doorbell, they should give a single bark, like any good dog. And then, they’ll sit calmly and wait to greet your visitor. This technique will help teach your Yorkie to take its cues from you and to respond to the doorbell calmly because it pleases you.
Following this desensitization strategy will have your Yorkie acting just like the well-behaved dog you taught them to be in no time.
Yorkie Training Dos and Don’ts
There are other ways to train a Yorkie not to bark, but the desensitization strategy is probably the best for Yorkies. Here are some additional tips for what to do and not to do when training your Yorkie.
- Provide positive reinforcement and lots of socialization.
- Try to figure out what’s setting them off and teach them it’s not a danger.
- Keep them stimulated and exercised.
- Reward good behavior with belly rubs, petting, and sometimes small treats.
- Pay careful attention to your Yorkie’s barking pattern.
- Be alert to signs of distress that cause nuisance barking.
- Keep training positive and consistent, even when others interact with the dog.
- Don’t yell at your dog. They may think you’re “barking,” too.
- Don’t be aggressive or angry in training.
- Don’t let others allow inappropriate behavior.
- Only use negative reinforcement techniques as a last resort.
Why Do Yorkies Bark a Lot? Interpreting a Yorkie Barking
A barking Yorkie is sending some sort of message to you. When a Yorkie’s barking or making sounds, try to get in their head to understand their behavior. Not every sound is always in the form of a bark, but they all usually mean something.
Yorkies Barking in a Low Tone
When a Yorkie makes a low bark, it often indicates they often perceive a threat in their environment. They might sense something new or unfamiliar, and their bark is a warning sound, alerting you to it. For instance, if they hear someone walking outside, a motorcycle in the distance, or a helicopter overhead, they may bark due to the change in their environment.
It’s not necessarily dangerous, but their perception leads them to issue a warning. The more you can desensitize your Yorkie and let them become familiar with their environment, the better.
Yorkies Barking in a High Tone
High-pitched noises from a Yorkie, like short yips, might be their way of expressing a need. If you hear a high-toned bark, they might need a trip outside or think it’s time to eat.
Sometimes, it might sound like whining, and they could just be craving attention. But a high-pitched bark is different from full-fledged whimpering and whining.
It’s up to you to stay in tune with your dog, but high-pitched barks can tip you off when they need something.
Whimpering and Whining
Yorkshire Terrier puppies tend to whimper when they experience distress. Since they’re so young, they may just be nervous that they’re alone or lonely. However, as they get older, they may start whimpering instead, indicating emotional distress.
Older dogs tend to be more comfortable alone, but they may whimper if they sense you’re leaving them for a while or if they’re getting put away in another while you have guests.
Anytime another dog is around, your Yorkie may begin to howl. There are also some sounds, like ambulance and fire truck sirens, that set Yorkies into howling mode. This behavior is probably rooted in communication instincts that are inherent in all dogs.
Growling is like a low bark to the next level. Sometimes they go together. For example, if your dog starts to growl, they might follow it up with a low bark or two. When people, objects, or animals get too close, this behavior may occur.
All dogs may growl when they sense danger or a threat to their territory. However, remember that it’s their perception that counts even more than reality.
So, if you are dealing with a Yorkie who growls whenever the mailman approaches your home, you may be able to desensitize them by exposing them to the stimuli more directly.
My Yorkie clearly felt threatened by the sound of my neighbor’s door opening and closing. So, one day I arranged for a bit of show and tell. We sat together in our open doorway as my neighbor came in and out a few times, opening and closing their noisy screen door.
Since then, my Yorkie barks every once in a while when they hear that familiar rattle, but much less frequently and with no more growling.
Other Yorkie Sounds
Yorkies and other dogs make lots of different sounds. They may moan, yelp, howl, cry or bark loudly and rapidly in addition to all these other sounds. The more you can put yourself in their head, the easier it will be to understand what’s going on. Then you can deal with how to train them to stop barking so much.
Techniques to Minimize Barking
Do Yorkies bark a lot in general? Well, besides training, there are also some ways to help avoid nuisance barking.
- Ensure your dog has a comfortable bed that is their safe space to go when they feel nervous or anxious.
- Make exercise part of the dog’s daily routine. A tired Yorkie is a quiet Yorkie.
- Keep things mellow at home to avoid excitability.
- Allow lots of socialization, so long as your Yorkie maintains good behavior with people and other dogs.
Yorkies Barking: FAQ
If you still have questions relating to Yorkie barking, here are some of the most common questions others ask.
Are Yorkies loud?
Yorkies aren’t usually the loudest dogs on the block. But they can sure make a lot of noise for such a small dog. Plus, it’s not really the volume that gets to you. Instead, it’s the duration and frequency of the barking that can really fray your nerves and cause trouble with neighbors.
Why does my Yorkie bark so much?
Like most other dogs, Yorkies have a great sense of smell that’s much more sensitive than ours. Combined with the Yorkie breed’s skillful sense of hearing, they are keenly aware of their surroundings, perhaps much more so than some other dogs. Unfortunately, that leads to them barking at things we can’t even detect.
How to get a Yorkie to stop barking?
The best way to get a Yorkie to stop barking is through constant socialization, good exercise habits, and consistently patient training.
How to get a Yorkie to stop barking at night?
If your dog is restlessly barking at night, they’re either lonely or scared. So, you need to address their feelings by making their sleeping space a much more fun place for them. Then, during the day, reinforce the behavior of enjoying the sleeping area and bed, so your dog wants to go there at night and when they’re tired or scared.
Do Yorkies howl?
Yorkies do howl, just like other dogs do sometimes. It’s usually in response to the presence of noises made by another dog. But sometimes, they howl when they hear different sounds, like fire truck sirens.
Why do Yorkies cry so much?
All dogs are different, but a crying Yorkie may be in distress. If crying isn’t something they often do, you should check on them immediately.
My Yorkie doesn’t bark. Is something wrong?
If a Yorkie doesn’t bark at all, you should check on it closely. It’s possible that the act of barking is causing them some sort of pain or that they are stressed about something. Spend some time observing them closely, and try to see inside their mouth. If they’re suddenly not barking at all and you can’t find a cause, you may want to contact your veterinarian.
Are Yorkies Barkers?
So, do Yorkies bark a lot? The bottom line is that Yorkies are predisposed to nuisance barking behavior. They’re hyper-aware of their surroundings, energetic, curious, and naturally excitable. So, you’ll have to maintain a steady hand, reinforcing good behavior. It’s not always easy. But in the end, it pays off.
Start trying to get inside your dog’s head. See if you can use the desensitization technique and other tricks to solve your Yorkie’s nuisance barking problem. With a bit of consistency and patience, you’ll be able to enjoy some bark-free peace and quiet.