All dogs need plenty of mental stimulation and physical exercise to be their best selves and keep problem behaviors like excessive barking or chewing at bay. Yorkie puppies, in particular, are known for their spunky personalities and high level of intelligence, which means it’s very important to keep them engaged and active. Here are four creative ways to have fun with your Yorkie with things you already have around the house.
1. Smelling Games for Dogs
Yorkshire terriers were bred to sniff and flush out rodents from mills, which means they love to play games that let them exercise their sense of smell. Puzzle toys that let them sniff out which box has the treat are a great option, but you can also make things fun by taking a treat or a piece of dog food and dragging it along a path through the house and having them find it. Make it a challenge by doubling back or going across a small item like a shoe. If your dog struggles at first, start small and work up to longer paths. Another easy way to incorporate fun into the day is to have your dog sit and stay while you hide their food bowl before their meal. They get to have fun sniffing to find it and get the instant reward of eating.
2. Agility Activities With Your Puppy
Yorkies may be small, but they have plenty of energy and love going through tunnels and jumping. Take advantage of their natural inclinations with agility-style games. While enrolling in a class — and eventually competitions — can be a fun way to bond with your dog and cement obedience skills, you can also create an obstacle course right in your living room from everyday items. Soup cans can be agility poles, you can create a tunnel out of a chair and blankets and a cushion at the end gives your Yorkshire Terrier a specific place to stop and down for the grand finish.
3. Hide and Seek Games for Dogs
Playing hide and seek with your dog around the house gives them plenty of mental stimulation and does double duty by reinforcing the come and stay commands. Have your dog sit or lie down in a specific place where they won’t be able to see you hide. Give the stay command, and then go hide somewhere in the house. Once you’re ready, give an “OK, come!” and your Yorkie will be off and running to find you.
4. Teaching Your Yorkie the Place Command
Not all games have to be fun and exciting. It’s important to have that balance between running around playing and giving your Yorkshire puppy’s brain time to settle and be calm. Teaching your dog to settle in a specific spot — whether that’s a crate, dog bed or special blanket on the floor — is called the “place” command. This can be especially useful when you want your dog to settle when other people visit your house or when you have your dog somewhere else like a friend’s house or park. Start with just a few minutes and work up to longer bouts of a half an hour or an hour while you watch TV. You can make this game more interesting by moving the place spot around the house.