Owners of Yorkshire terriers have different exercise expectations than owners of a high energy breed such as an Australian Shepherd. Even though the average Yorkie is fairly laid back, each dog is an individual and cared for differently, meaning that some of them will have higher energy than others.
What is the average Yorkie’s exercise needs?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) says that “…Yorkies will benefit from both moderate exercise, such as walks with their owner at a steady pace, as well as occasional short bursts of activity, such as chasing after a tennis ball in the backyard. A short walk twice a day will likely be enough for your Yorkie to see new scenery and burn off energy…”
In the scheme of all the dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, these exercise needs are very minimal.
Why is my Yorkie so Hyper?
The most common reasons that a Yorkie would be hyper are:
Lack of exercise.
If your Yorkie is never walked or played with and spends his or her time lounging around the house all day, they will become bored, which often turns into pent up energy that manifests as hyperactivity.
Sometimes the hormones that dogs have if they are not spayed or neutered can contribute to a more energetic nature.
Everyone reacts differently to pain, discomfort, or feeling off. If your Yorkie is not usually hyper and becomes hyper over a short period of time, there could be a medical reason for it.
Ensure that your Yorkie is seen regularly by a veterinarian, and that he or she receives care in response to any concerns that you may have.
Will my Yorkie ever calm down?
The good news is YES, your Yorkie will calm down eventually. Their energy level will be at its peak in puppyhood. Generally speaking, young adult dogs are still fairly energetic but have less energy than a puppy.
Most dogs become much calmer around age 7, though some puppies at heart may take longer to calm down.
Will neutering my Yorkie calm him down?
According to Embrace Pet Insurance, spaying female dogs and neutering male dogs may reduce their activity level.
However, decreased energy is not guaranteed; many professionals in the pet industry and many dog owners believe this is a myth. Every dog is an individual so this will vary by dog; in some cases it is true and in others it is not.
In my personal experience, all my dogs calmed down after being spayed or neutered.
How can I help my Yorkie calm down?
There are a few things you can do to help your Yorkie calm down, which also happen to be great bonding opportunities, such as:
A common mantra among experienced dog owners is “a tired dog is a happy dog“. If you provide your dog with daily exercise, such as walks and play time, he or she will have the opportunity to get their “ya-ya’s” out and be more calm as a result.
Play time is a great way to interact with your Yorkie and tire him or her out. The classic games of throwing toys or playing tug are popular for a reason, but now there are even more options to tire out your furry friend.
Food puzzles like the Trixie Activity Flip Board and Snuffle Activity Mats like the Piggy Poo and Crew Activity Mat are challenging yet engaging because food is involved. You can put your Yorkie’s dry food into these toys to offer a meal in a more intriguing way and to avoid adding excess treat calories to their diet.
Hide and seek plush toys like the FRISCO Hide and Seek Monkey Tree are enjoyed by most dogs and great for mental stimulation. They are also highly recommended for a dog the size of a Yorkie because the toys a dog seeks after are small, ideal for their tiny mouths.
Considering the Yorkie’s size, and your specific Yorkie’s health and age, a 10 to 20 minute walk several times a day is usually sufficient for the average adult Yorkie. Keep in mind that puppies may need a bit more and seniors might need slower, shorter walks.
Even if your senior is very slow, do not stop walks unless your veterinarian tells you to. If you need to pick up the pace for your personal exercise, consider purchasing a pet stroller; walk your Yorkie for a bit, then put him or her in the stroller for you to walk faster, then let them walk a bit again.
Keeping arthritic joints active can help prevent further pain and discomfort. Be sure to discuss your senior’s needs with his or her Veterinarian to keep them happy and healthy for as long as possible.
Training dogs provides them with a “job” and mental stimulation, both critical for reaching the goal of a tired and happy dog. Training is also important for general dog ownership; a well trained dog is a pleasure to live with while an untrained dog is poorly behaved and frustrating to live with.
To maintain a dog’s training, working on basic commands and any other commands you want him or her to learn for at least 10 to 15 minutes daily is recommended. Be sure to end on a positive note.
Working on training for less than a half hour can be more exhausting to some dogs than a half hour walk, which makes training a great indoor activity during inclement weather.
Dogs thrive when they have a routine to follow. Follow a routine as closely as you can daily; your Yorkie will appreciate the routine and it will make it easier for you to remember to do walks, play time and training.
Change the Scenery
Sometimes just getting out of the house is enough to zap some of a dog’s energy. If the weather is prohibitively hot or cold for walking outside, take your Yorkie to a dog friendly store to walk around.
Going outside or to a dog friendly store offers new sights, sounds and smells that are mentally stimulating. A 10 minute walk around a new place can be more stimulating than a 20 minute walk around a familiar place for most dogs.
If you encounter people who want to pet your Yorkie, even better! This offers an opportunity for socialization and mental stimulation. Be sure your Yorkie has positive experiences with everyone he or she meets to properly socialize them.
Every dog is an individual, but energy generally decreases with a dog’s age.
Consider what your days are like compared to what your dog’s day is like; you go places and do things while he or she spends most of their time in the house with a minimal change of scenery. If that was what your life looked like, you would probably be bored and as a result, hyper.
By following the tips in this article, you can help your Yorkie calm down and cultivate a stronger bond with him or her.
Do you have a hyper Yorkie? Share a story in the comments below to help other owners of hyper Yorkies.
I have always loved Yorkies and got my first on when I was 19. I bred and showed them back in the 80’s. Though I love other breeds too, Yorkshire Terriers will always be my first love. I have lived and worked with dogs all my life.