How to Train a Yorkie 101: Before the Basics
How to Care for Yorkipoos
Yorkipoos are a delightful mixed breed dog. This dog which is a combination of Yorkie and Toy Poodle is fun, energetic, and easily trainable. Families with children or apartment dwellers find Yorkipoos a good choice since they don't require much exercise or space. Most of their exercise comes from playing with people and toys, although Yorkipoos always enjoy a brisk walk. Your Yorkipoo may favor either parent since they're known for having a variety of coat colors and body types.Regardless of how your Yorkipoo looks, he will make a great companion if you give the proper care and attention.
Training Your Yorkipoo
Commit to training your Yorkipoo.Start training your Yorkipoo as soon as you get your dog. You'll need to spend the time teaching your Yorkipoo house rules (like where to toilet), as well as any behavioral rules that are important to you (like no jumping on people). If you don't think you'll have time to train during the first three to six months that you own your Yorkipoo, rethink your decision to adopt one.
- One animal shelter study showed that 21% of the people surrendering their dogs gave them up because of the time, money, and effort required. The biggest reason dogs end up in animal shelters is because of bad behavior.
Socialize your Yorkipoo.Take your Yorkipoo on car rides, visits to parks, and short walks around the neighborhood. Just make sure he's had his first set of vaccinations before exposing him to others. He should interact with men, women and children in a positive way so he isn’t scared of a certain sex or size of people.
- You may want to enroll your Yorkipoo in an obedience training or puppy socialization class. Ask your veterinarian or local pet store to recommend one.
- Avoid bringing home a Yorkipoo if you have very young children. This is more to protect your Yorkipoo, which can be accidentally injured because of his small size.
Use reward-based training.One of the best ways to teach basic commands is to use the reward-based training system. To do so, reward your dog when he obeys the command or makes a move in the right direction. Try offering a small food reward for obedience. Make sure you're consistent in your expectations and rewards. Never reward bad behavior.
- Don't forget that verbal praise is also a reward for your dog.
Teach your dog basic commands.You'll probably want your dog to respond to simple commands like "stay", "sit", or "down". Choose a training time when you have your Yorkipoo's full attention. Show your dog a treat, work with him while stating the command, and immediately reward obedience or positive efforts.
- For example, to teach your dog how to sit have him stand in front of you. Make sure he's paying attention and sees that you have a treat between your fingers. Once he focuses on the treat, hold it a few inches above his head and slowly move it back between his ears. He'll naturally follow it back and begin to sit. Tell him to "sit" as he does this and immediately give him the treat, saying "good, sit" at the same time.
Keeping Your Yorkipoo Healthy
Talk with the breeder about your Yorkipoo's health.Make sure your Yorkipoo's breeder has had your Yorkipoo examined by a veterinarian at six weeks of age. Your Yorkipoo should also already have his first distemper shot and a dewormer to kill internal parasites.
- Ask for a bill or invoice from the veterinarian to ensure these were done and always work with a reputable dog breeder.
Get your dog regular veterinary care.Your Yorkipoo will need another dose of dewormer two weeks after his initial treatment. This will kill any residual worms. Your Yorkipoo will also need a distemper booster 3 to 4 weeks after the initial distemper shot. If your dog is over a year old, he'll need an annual exam and vaccine booster. Once he's 10 years of age, he'll need two exams a year. If your Yorkipoo is a puppy, make sure to follow this veterinary schedule:
- 8 weeks of age: Heartworm preventative (then once a month during heartworm season or depending on your veterinarian's recommendation)
- 9 weeks of age: Lyme vaccine
- 12 weeks of age: Lyme booster, Rabies vaccine
- 6 months of age: Spay or neuter
Get your dog used to teeth brushing.Place a small bit of dog toothpaste on your finger and let him lick it off. Place a little toothpaste on the toothbrush and wipe it along his gums. Once he's comfortable with that, place some toothpaste on the brush and rub it along the gums and outer surfaces of the outer teeth. Work your way up to being able to brush the outer surfaces of all the teeth.
- You don’t need to try to brush the inner teeth since most plaque attacks the outer teeth.
Get professional dental care.The veterinarian will check your Yorkipoo's teeth at his annual exam. Even with daily brushing, your Yorkipoo may need a professional cleaning to remove bacteria and plaque which collects under the gums. Consider taking your Yorkipoo for a professional cleaning once every year or so.
- When you brush your Yorkipoo's teeth, always check for any sores, growths in the mouth, or loose teeth. If you find any, take your dog to the vet for an exam.
Be aware of potential health problems.Since the Yorkipoo is a mixed breed, he's susceptible to the same health problems which affect Yorkie and Poodle breeds. Discuss any health concerns with the veterinarian. Keep in mind that your Yorkipoo may be prone to the following:
- Dental problems: Gum disease and bad breath are common since it's difficult to clean inside the Yorkipoo's tiny mouth.
- Injuries: Mishandling a Yorkipoo can cause injury because the dog is so tiny. Watch him around small children or larger dogs. Keep your Yorkipoo on a leash and by your side when you're out.
- Patellar (kneecap) luxation: The kneecap slips out of place in varying degrees. Some dogs are mildly affected while others are crippled and need surgery.
- Collapsing trachea: The trachea collapses in varying degrees. This is usually caused by pressure from pulling on collars.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: A problem with blood supply to the thigh bone where it meets the pelvis can cause limping and muscle atrophy. Surgery can treat this disease.
Feeding and Grooming Your Yorkipoo
Choose a high-quality food.Purchase a commercial dog food that lists meat as one of the first two ingredients on the nutrition label. Avoid products that are full of meat by-products or filler. Since Yorkipoo's are known for having dental problems, look for a food that's formulated to grind plaque and bacteria off the teeth. You can also ask your veterinarian to recommend the right food for your Yorkipoo.
- Always offer your dog fresh, clean water throughout the day.
- If you'd like to make your own dog food, consider developing a diet with an animal nutrition professional. This ensures that your dog is getting a balanced diet with all the nutrients he needs.
Offer treats sparingly.To keep your Yorkipoo a healthy weight, keep snacks to a minimum. When you do want to reward your dog, give him a few pieces of his normal dog food (especially dental foods), low-calorie dog treats, baby carrots, or a few low-sodium canned green beans. Keep in mind there are some human foods that you should never your Yorkipoo since they can make your dog sick or can kill him. Avoid giving your dog:
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Fatty meat scraps
- Cooked bones or chicken bones in general
- Onions, garlic and chives
- Yeast dough
- Xylitol (found in sugar-free foods, including some peanut butters)
Groom your dog's coat.Your Yorkipoo's coat will depend on whether he takes after his Poodle or Yorkie parent. Brush your dog's coat at least once a week to keep his fur clear of tangles and mats.If he takes after his poodle parent, you'll probably need to take him to a professional groomer every 4 to 6 weeks for a proper trim.
- Don't forget to check your dog's coat for fleas, ticks, lumps, bumps, cysts, scabs, scratches, or redness. Treat your dog for any fleas or ticks. Monitor any skin irritation and contact the vet if you're concerned.
Trim your Yorkipoo's nails.Look at your dog's nails every week to see if they're getting long. You'll probably only need to clip them once or twice a month.If they need trimming, clip just the tips. Take care to avoid cutting the quick (the part of the nail where blood vessels and sensitive nerves grow).
- The quick appears as a pink triangle on white nails. It may be harder to find on dark nails, so ask a veterinary technician to show you how to trim dark nails.
- Consider getting your Yorkipoo microchipped. This identifying chip will help you locate your dog quickly if he ever gets lost.
- Keep your Yorkipoo entertained with a variety of toys. Interactive toys that both you and he can play with together are good choices for this social little dog.
- Dental treats can help keep dental plaque to a minimum, but remember they add calories to the diet. Treat your Yorkipoo occasionally.
- If you'd like to make your own dog food, contact a veterinary college which will have an animal nutritionist on staff.
- Avoid giving hard bones to your dog. These bones can splinter, breaking teeth and causing mouth injuries.
- Never feed your Yorkipoo cooked bones or table scraps. They can cause stomach upset or make your dog very sick.
- If you decide to change your dog's food, do so gradually. Abruptly changing your dog's food can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Instead, gradually mix the old food with the new over the period of at least a week.
Sources and Citations
- The Merck Veterinary Manual. C.M. Kahn and S. Line (eds.) 2010. John Wiley & Sons.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual. C.M. Kahn and S. Line (eds.) 2010. John Wiley & Sons.
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