Although Yorkies are best known for their intelligence and big personalities, they also have an athletic side they like to explore. Remember, they were initially bred to be used to hunt down vermin. As such, they need mental stimulation, regular exercise, and high-intensity surges.
We’ll go over various exercise requirements that cover these three needs and other essential tips to keep your Yorkie healthy and active.
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Ways to Meet Regular Physical Exercise Requirements
Here are some great ways to exercise your Yorkie while keeping them safe and engaged.
Short Walks Daily
Yorkies require approximately 30 minutes of walking each day, so one or two walks will work. For example, one walk for 10 minutes in the morning and another for 20 minutes later in the day. Walk at a brisk pace such that it’s comfortable for them. Don’t make it so intense that they start panting. Allow them to take their time and unwind.
Like other dogs, Yorkies like routine. Walk at the same time on a daily basis to make it a habit. Consistency helps them prepare mentally for exercise and may also reduce frequent toilet breaks. Keep in mind that Yorkies have a smaller bladder, so they need several pee breaks.
Another important tip is to walk the Yorkie before you leave for work or other errands. Doing so burns off excess destructive energy.
Naturally, Yorkies are agile dogs. Therefore, they’ll be dull if you let them sit on the couch throughout the day.
When it comes to cardio exercise, do it at least once a week. It should be short but more intense. You can achieve this by engaging Yorkies in games that require them to respond and accelerate rapidly. Some games include:
Fetch and Catch
Yorkies love toys and balls, so this is an easy way they can burn up all their pent-up energy. Make it more interesting and intense by using an automatic ball launcher. Since Yorkies are highly intelligent, they’ll learn how to use it in no time. As a result, they can play by themselves when you are away.
This is not the usual game where dogs chase and catch balls. It requires a little bit of timing, coordination, and skill. Once you roll the Frisbee toward the dog, it’ll want to grab it in the mouth. Try tossing the disc at low levels first and proceed to higher ones as it gains experience.
This is a fast way to burn that excess energy. In addition, the acrobatic skill of your Yorkie will amaze you. [See the best dog frisbees including small dog recommendations]
How about involving your Yorkie in some outdoor sports? For instance, you can enter competitive games either for fun or to win. Examples of such sports are racing or going through tunnels trying to locate rats. Other ideas are water and obedience sports.
Stair Sprints [If you must…]
How do you go about this exercise if you have stairs at home? Well, throw a ball at the top of the stairs and instruct the Yorkie to go for it. Avoid injuries by allowing the Yorkie to go after it at a moderate pace. Personally I do NOT take the risk of knee and limb injuries and just avoid stair runs.
Tug of War
You may not believe it, but Yorkies find this game quite interesting. They will love a tug of war – and it is okay to let them win sometimes!
Make your pet pull back to burn off that excess energy. Ensure the game is controlled by training them to release every time you instruct them to do so.
There are many types of toys that roll, shake, or rattle on their own. Such self-moving toys are a great pick. Yorkies use a lot of energy on these exercises, leaving them feeling refreshed and happy.
Build some agility courses in your compound. You don’t have to buy professional items, so use what you have in the house. Your creativity is the only limitation. Some games to play with dogs include hurdle jumps and jumping through hoops.
Mental Stimulation for Yorkies
Find various ways to challenge the mind of your Yorkie. If you don’t do that, they engage in destructive and bad behavior such as escaping and barking unnecessarily. Let’s have a look at practical ways to provide your Yorkie with mental enrichment and stimulation.
Chewing is one of the most effective ways to keep a Yorkie fully occupied. Besides, it stimulates the production of endorphins that helps dogs relax. Remember, dogs hold stress in their jaws, so chewing toys is an effective way of releasing it.
Trying something challenging not only engages the brain but also helps it grow. We recommend this method because it tests the ability of your Yorkie when it comes to solving problems. Since this breed is naturally intelligent, look for puzzles that are a little bit more engaging.
Kongs are also a creative way to challenge the mind of your Yorkie.
Nose and Scenting Games
Nose-based games are a great way to keep dogs mentally stimulated. Did you know that they have 220 million olfactory receptors while humans only have five million? Their brain can identify various scents up to 10,000 times better than humans.
Now that you know how accurate their sense of smell can be, challenge them with various games. Yorkies need these types of games to stay happy, well-behaved, and calm. The games also help them strengthen bonds and develop relationships with people around them.
We recommend games such as hide and seek, selecting items hidden in one hand, laying a scent trail, or looking for food.
How about mentally challenging your Yorkie during mealtimes? Try out various activities that let them work for food instead of placing it in a bowl directly.
Benefits of Exercise
The following are perks of exercise in Yorkies:
- A healthy heart
- A restful sleep
- Proper muscle development
- Improved bonds and relationships with people
- A healthy digestive system
- Helps let out pent-up energy
How Do You Know Your Yorkie Isn’t Getting Enough Exercise?
You might be exercising your pet but still, notice some strange behavior that could be a recipe for something else. If you notice any of these signs, engage them in more mental and physical exercises:
- Poor sleep schedule
- Chewing of clothes, furniture, or shoes
- Excessive barking
- Joint stiffness and muscle pain
- Digestive issues
- Early heart problems
- Vomiting or gagging
As you’ve seen, Yorkies are an adaptable, energetic, and intelligent breed. It’s important to keep them active by engaging them physically and mentally.
Since they are low-profile breeds, they don’t need a lot of space to exercise. Even if your schedule is tight, you can easily meet their exercise requirements because they need a few minutes of your time.
If you cater to the three exercise types we’ve discussed here, you’ll have a happy and well-mannered Yorkie that will impact your life positively.