You finally made the big decision and purchased or rescued your Yorkie. The next step is to train them to fit in and blend in with the family. This is undeniably the most important stage of raising any puppy. And the most challenging too.
As you research, you’ll realize there are a million ways to parent a puppy.
You can go all macho on them and teach them how to be obedient or go the modern way and bond with them.
The good news is you get positive results with both.
That being said, we advocate spending time with your puppy playing some bonding games as a way of training them. This way, they learn and get a chance to really understand how to relate with kids, humans, and other pets.
Here are 11 games to play with your Yorkie.
11 Fun Games to Play with Your Yorkie
Let’s dive right in.
1. What’s Your Name?
Many pet parents call this game the Name Game, but I’m extra so I came up with a better title. In this game, you really want to ensure your Yorkie knows their official name. This may seem like a waste of time, but some pets can take very long to learn their names.
This is especially true in households with kids who end up giving them cute nicknames like “Vivi” for Olivia, which is very cute by the way.
To play the game, all you need is some treats.
Call your Yorkie and give them a treat every time they look your way when you call their name. After they come to you each time you call their name, stagger it with excited baby talk. You want them to associate their name with something good but you don’t want them to think they get a treat EVERY time you call their name.
After a while, cut back on the treats, except maybe once a day. You don’t want a chubby Yorkie.
Oh, and when I say give them a treat, just break off a tiny bite of one. They will just be happy to get a treat.
2. If You Catch Me, It’s Yours
My Yorkies love this game because they always win! This game is also a great way to teach your Yorkie to run towards you on command.
Hundreds of dogs are involved in accidents when they slip away and run on busy roads. Teaching your Yorkie to run towards you might save their life one day.
To play this game, show your Yorkie their favorite toy or treats and let them chase you.
When they catch up, praise them with hugs and give them their reward.
You can use a cue like, “Come get me” to signal they should start running.
3. The Super Sitter Game
Sitting is the second thing that pet parents teach their Yorkie after learning their name. However, there is one glitch and it’s that most puppies only sit on particular occasions or environments.
It’s important that your Yorkie sits when they’re told whether they’re in the house or a busy street.
For this game, get some treats and give them to your Yorkie every time they sit on command.
If your Yorkie doesn’t know how to sit, simply move the treat towards their head, and they’ll naturally sit to eat it.
Repeat this game in at least three different locations every day until they understand the command in different environments.
4. The Touching Game
As your puppy grows, it’s important to know their touching limits and expand them as much as you can.
For example, some puppies hate when people touch their ears or paws. This can be risky, especially if they decide to show their dislike by biting.
When your puppy is still young, take time to play the touching game for a few minutes every day.
Be gentle and give them treats whenever they relax and let you do it. This will allow your puppy to bond with kids without feeling violated or infuriated.
5. Hide and Seek
This game is crucial if you plan to go on hikes with your Yorkie. It’s also a great game to help your Yorkie find you if they slip away in a crowded environment.
To play this game, simply go to a different room in the house and call out your Yorkie. Once they find you, shower them with praises, hugs, and treats. Try complicating this game by hiding behind an object and finding better places to hide.
You’ll love the look on their face every time they find you.
6. Tug of War
Playing tug of war with your Yorkie is among the best ways to bond when you’re indoors and not in the mood to run around. The best thing is that you’re not trying to teach your pup a lesson in a tug of war. It’s purely for fun.
All you need is their favorite toy (ensure it’s a toy designated for the game to avoid tearing).
Invite your puppy to pull until one of you wins.
Tug of war has a lot of backlash because some pet parents think it can make their puppies aggressive. However, studies actually show that dogs that play tug of war are more confident when interacting with people and other pets.
Some of the rules to follow when playing tug of war during the game include:
- Don’t indulge in the tug of war unless you start the game
- Teach your puppy to drop the toy when you want them to using a command phrase like “drop it!”.
- Your dog’s mouth shouldn’t contact you in any way during the game. If they do, take a break.
7. Fetch and Retrieve
While fetch is probably the most common dog game there is, it doesn’t get enough credit. It has many benefits; it builds trust between you and your dog and improves all your interactions. Fetch also helps relax Yorkies dealing with anxiety and boost their mood. You can tell from their wagging tail or their “smile.” Playing fetch can also help you relieve your stress after a long day at work by taking your mind off things.
Contrary to the belief, you can play fetch indoors too. The only difference is that you use soft toys to avoid breaking stuff while you can use discs outside.
8. Treasure Hunt
Playing treasure hunt is a great way to help satisfy your Yorkie’s animal instincts because they get to use their nose and dig.
A treasure hunt is playing hide and seek only with treasures involved. You hide your Yorkie’s favorite toys or treats, and they get to look for them.
When your get started, you can start with something as small as asking them to choose between boxes and place a reward in one of them. Once their skills improve, add more boxes to the mix.
The ultimate experience is burying some toys or treats in the sand and letting your puppy dig them out.
9. Puppy in the Middle
This is a great bonding game for days that your puppy hasn’t been out, and they’re “high” on their dog energy.
The puppy in the middle game involves two people and your puppy. Stay in opposite directions and throw the ball to each other. Your puppy will follow the ball, trying to catch it, which can help get rid of their extra energy.
To keep your puppy interested, drop the ball and let them have some time with it after every few minutes. It’s that win that keeps them going; otherwise, they’ll lose interest.
When it’s just one of my dogs and me, I use the wall as a prop, and the game still runs smoothly.
10. Chase Bubbles
Nothing makes an afternoon exciting than chasing bubbles. I use bubbles meant for kids because they’re safe and non-toxic. If your puppy has never chased bubbles before, start by catching some and encouraging them to do the same.
Yorkies are brilliant and will get it right in the first few tries.
This is a great bonding game, and it’s also a good workout exercise for your puppy.
11. Trust Games
Last but not least, the best way to bond with your pup is by making them know they got a friend in you.
Some of the trust games you can play with your Yorkie are the trust fall or just walking around them as they lie down. The latter is more uncomfortable for your pup than it sounds. Simply let your puppy lie down and walk around them, so their tail is between your legs. Reward them with a cookie every time they stay still.
For the trust fall, all you need to do is encourage your puppy to let go and fall on your arms when you’re behind them. For this game, start with short distances and increase it as you gain their trust.
The secret of any trust game you play with your puppy is to ensure they’re not afraid during the exercise. Listen to their inner doggy voice by reading their energy and assure them they’re safe when you sense their fear.
Let the Fun Begin
Now that you have 11 games you can play to bond with your puppy, don’t waste any time. Don’t overthink it, just select one and get started. Try a couple of these games until you find your puppy’s favorite games.
Choose the suitable toys for every game and prioritize your puppy’s safety. Lastly, be patient with your puppy as they learn every game; they’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Favorite Things for Puppies!
Dog Blogger, Former Dog Groomer
I have adored Yorkies for well over 50 years. As a young adult, I began to show and breed them. Now, I just write about them and have several in my little pack of small dogs.
I have had dogs all my life and have trained as a dog groomer. I also have been a kennel worker, worked in a pet hotel through PetSmart, and still am a pet sitter.
Check out my bio for more information about me.