How do you crate train a Yorkie? And is it any different from crate training a shorkie puppy? Do you need a specific Yorkie crate? Or does that have nothing to do with the process? These are probably just some of the questions running through your head as a Yorkie owner looking to crate-train their pet.
Because while it may seem simple, crate training is a complicated behavior modification technique once you start thinking about it. And the multiple nuances attached mean that it can quickly go wrong.
To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, we’ve written this article. It has everything you will need to have a seamless training experience with the best outcomes. We’ll start with a basic description of what this method looks like and the multiple associated benefits.
Then we’ll go on to tell you exactly how you can crate train your Yorkie puppy and answer some miscellaneous questions like how long you can leave your dog in the cage. But before getting into any of that, there is one very important thing you need to know.
Yorkies are a bit more special than other dogs. While each breed loves its owners intensely, this breed wears its heart on its sleeve (or paw, perhaps). It’s also more rebellious than other breeds.
Both of these factors mean that your Yorkie may react negatively to crate training since it will take them away from you, and you need to be prepared for that eventuality.
Having said that, let’s get into the article.
Crate Training a Yorkie Puppy
Crate training a Yorkie takes advantage of any dog’s natural instinct to find a safe and familiar place. And many advocates for this practice argue that it provides comfort to the animals, especially in the absence of their owners.
However, crate training can go from increasing feelings of safety and security to causing long-term behavioral and emotional degradation very easily. So it’s essential that you properly learn how to crate train a Yorkie puppy before making any changes in their lifestyle.
Additionally, always remember that this is a behavior modification technique; it is not a punishment. And the point at which you start using it as a punishment or as a tool for negative reinforcement, your pet will start fearing the crate and refuse to enter it. You can’t reverse this harm and must avoid it at all costs.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Training your Yorkshire Terrier the Right Way
Benefits of Crate Training a Yorkie
Housebreaking Using a Crate
Everyone knows it’s super tough to housebreak a Yorkie. So, anything that makes the process easier is always welcome by owners, and crate training does precisely that.
Dogs don’t like to relieve themselves in any area they have to eat and sleep in. Not only does your puppy need to do these activities in the crate, but it is also a small area. And so they will do their best to avoid pooping in the cage.
After your Yorkie has spent some time in their crate, take them outside. Use phrases such as ‘potty’ or something more conspicuous like ‘porcupine’ as a command for when they go. Then you can award them a treat and establish behavior patterns.
Crate training a Yorkie won’t always go according to plan. And sometimes, your dog will relieve themselves in their crate, especially at the start. If this happens, clean up immediately – it needs to be a comfortable environment.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Considering Benefits of Crate Training for your Yorkie
Crate training your puppy also makes life a whole lot easier for you. Yorkies are infamously mischievous and get into all sorts of trouble. This trouble is often inconsequential, but sometimes it can cause severe damage and put you and the dog at risk.
For instance, if you’re cooking and they are under your feet, restricting movement, you could drop a hot pan. It’ll cause a mess and, in the worst case, hurt you or the Yorkie. In such instances, putting them in a crate can be quite beneficial.
And even if you puppy-proof your house, there is simply far too much potential for distance. For example, you can fence off the kitchen, but there are still tons of office utensils like erasers to ingest and furniture to tear.
Crate training makes it easier for you to leave them unsupervised.
Safe and Sound
Your entire house is a safe space for you, but your room stands out – it isn’t like all the other rooms. It’s special because it’s only for you, and that’s what a crate offers Yorkies. It gives them refuge in the chaos and uncertainty of a huge house.
This benefit is especially crucial in houses with children and other animals. A crate offers an escape and a space that is theirs and no one else’s.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Potty Train Your Yorkie and Teacup Yorkie
Boarding kennels are the doggy alternative to daycares. And if you ever find yourself in need of one, you’ll want your pet to be crate trained. Because if they aren’t, they’re unlikely to have a positive experience there.
Make sure your dog is comfortable with being independent, and they’ll be in a much better position to spend time at a Yorkie kennel.
Time outs are an important part of a Yorkie’s training, and while we don’t recommend using the crate for enforcing them, many trainers disagree. They believe that it is a great way to modify behavior, such as biting and whining excessively.
It can show your Yorkie that certain actions will lead to punishment and deter them from repeating it. However, you should know that you may harm crate training if you attach negative emotions to the crate.
This harm exists because the premise of crate training a Yorkie is creating a safe space. And using it to punish them will associate the crate with discomfort and animosity.
But if you decide to use the crate for a time out, place your Yorkie in it with a kind touch and a calm voice. Loud or uncomfortable tones will lead your dog to reject it as a safe area.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Control the Barking Behavior of a Yorkie
Traveling with a Yorkie Puppy
When traveling, it’s always easier if your Yorkie is crate trained. For instance, if you’re traveling in a car, they can distract you from the road if left to themselves in the back seat. And if you’re on a plane, flight attendants won’t let you keep your dog with you unless they’re in a cage.
Yorkies tend to get sick quite often. And in the case that your dog needs to go through an operation, they’ll be more comfortable with it if they’re used to being in a small confined space. After treatment, putting them in a crate can help deal with itching since they probably won’t want to move around a lot.
Holidays and Thunderstorms
Dogs find it difficult to deal with loud noises, so thunderstorms and holidays can be difficult experiences. A crate gives them an out in such situations, and in extreme cases, you can cover its cage with a blanket to make the dog feel safer.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How To Pee Pad Train Your Yorkie
Routine for Behavior
Routines are vital for Yorkies since they give them a sense of calm and comfort. Knowing when to play and when it’s time for bed is integral to that process. And since you can use crate training to establish nighttime regiments, they go a long way to ground your Yorkshire Terrier.
Setting up Your Yorkie’s Crate
The first step to setting up your Yorkie’s crate is choosing one. And Yorkie crate size directly affects whether or not your venture will be successful.
The ideal size gives your pet enough space to stand, stretch, and turn, and a 22-inch crate will work best for your situation. You can go bigger if you have space to do so, but don’t go too big, or you’ll lose the effect of creating a cozy and warm space.
If you are crate training a Yorkie that is still growing, get one to accommodate their adult size. But block off the excess space until they actually need it.
Additionally, you should also choose a crate with a double-door option. It can really help out in the initial stages of training, where you want the puppy to warm up to it. Not only do two doors give you flexible access, but it also makes the space inviting and spacious for the dog.
Several types of crates are available, but the most common ones are plastic, fabric on a collapsible frame, and collapsible, metal pins. Pick the variety best suited to your needs. For example, if you want to remove the cage when not in use, buy one with a collapsible frame.
After you’ve picked a crate, make it as comfortable as possible. Place a soft mat to increase warmth or your Yorkie’s favorite toy to add familiarity. If they’re teething, you can put a chew toy in the crate. Whatever you choose needs to be personalized to your dog, its likes, and needs.
The last thing you need to know about getting started on crate training a Yorkie is that you’ll need to spend a lot of time doing it. So take time off work or, at least, block off most of your free time and spend it with your dog.
While crates do eventually become safe and familiar places, they start off as unfamiliar territory, and you’ll need to be there for your Yorkie during this period.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Make Training of Yorkies More Rewarding
How Long to Crate Train a Yorkie Puppy?
If done right, crate training should only take three weeks. However, it will require a lot of effort, patience, and resilience on your part. Also, you should know that this estimate assumes the best conditions and ideal circumstances are in place. Any deviation or complication will extend this period.
For instance, if your Yorkie is unexpectedly attached to you and stubborn in this love, it will take longer than usual. And if there is even the slightest bit of inconsistency in training, your pet will take more time to get used to its crate.
You can use the same process when crate training a shorkie puppy.
How to Crate Train a Yorkie Puppy
Crate training a Yorkie is a delicate process. And if you don’t do it right, you’ll end up spending over a month on it only to start all over. So to make things easier for you, we’ve broken down the process into four steps. And if you follow each exactly as outlined below, you won’t have any problems.
Introduce Yorkie Puppy to Crate
Put the crate in a populated area of your house. For instance, if your family spends most of their time in the living room, put it there. However, if you live alone and tend to stay in your bedroom, place it there.
During the introduction period, leave the door(s) to the cage open. This allows your Yorkie to explore it whenever they want and become comfortable with it. And your puppy will eventually start sleeping in it without provocation.
However, if your Yorkie isn’t naturally curious and hasn’t opened up to the crate, do one of the following:
- take them over to the cage and speak in a kind tone, slightly gesturing toward it
- put treats and food around it
- place food inside it
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Considering Benefits of Crate Training for your Yorkie
The next step to crate training a Yorkie is feeding them regular meals inside the cage. All dogs love food, and any positive association will make them want to spend more time there. And depending on where your dog is, the process will determine how you feed them.
- Readily entering the cage: place the food at the very back
- Reluctant to go in: put the food at the entrance – they shouldn’t need to go in to get food.
As soon as your Yorkshire Terrier starts eating food comfortably inside the crate, shut the door while they eat. Open it as soon as they finish. Slowly increase the time the door is closed.
Independent Crate Time
The point at which your puppy can spend half an hour in the crate without whining or feeling scared, you can leave them alone in it. However, only do it for a short time in the start- gradually increase it.
Creating a safe experience during these independent crate times is vital. You can do so by leaving your puppy toys and blankets that they’re familiar with.
Additionally, change up the time you put them in the crate. Anywhere between five to twenty minutes before leaving the house is okay.
Lastly, always downplay departures and returns. You probably love your Yorkie and don’t feel entirely comfortable leaving them home alone. And while prolonged emotional interactions might make leaving easier, they aren’t healthy for them.
Keep your departure matter of fact. Give them a treat for getting into the crate as you would normally, and then leave. When you return, don’t be overly enthusiastic, or your puppy will develop anxiety.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: How to Calm a “Jumping” Yorkie
Night-time Crate Training
Lead your Yorkie to their crate at night and give them the regular treat upon entry. When starting this type of training, it’s always a great idea to keep the cage in or near your bedroom. This is especially relevant for puppies since they often need to relieve themselves during the night, and you won’t be able to hear them whine if they’re too far away.
You can eventually move the crate further away if you want, but any time spent with your dog is an opportunity to become closer. Also, your dog will always feel more comfortable closer to you than they would if alone.
How Long Can I Leave My Yorkie Puppy in a Crate?
The appropriate time depends entirely on your Yorkie. Their age, bladder control, and crate time influence the amount of time you can leave them in a crate.
For a two month puppy with only an hour of bladder control and one hour in the crate is all you can afford. But as they age, this time will increase. At five months with four hours of bladder control, anywhere between four to five hours should be acceptable.
After they reach the eight-month mark, you can leave your puppy in its crate for up to six hours. Going over this will have detrimental impacts on their health and brain function. In fact, even after eight months, don’t leave your Yorkie for more than this time. Also, try to avoid long periods in the crate as much as possible.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Coping with Chewing Issues of Your Yorkie
Yorkie Terrier Whining in the Yorkie Crate
Yorkies in crates whine for one of two reasons. They either need to relieve themselves or want to leave the cage. And it can be tough to determine which one is the real cause.
If you have followed our guide on crate training a Yorkie, your puppy won’t expect a reward for whining or leaving their cage. However, they might be testing you and your limits, so try to ignore the whining. Yelling or hitting the crate will not make it stop; instead, it will scare your Yorkie and make things worse.
In the case that the whining continues for a while, your dog probably needs to relieve itself.
Use your trigger phrase and if they get excited, open the door, and take the Yorkie outside.
However, if you are absolutely certain that they are faking the need to poop, the best course of action is to ignore them completely. Paying any attention will only enable them and teach your Yorkie that whining loudly will get them whatever they want.
If whining becomes a regular problem, you’ll have to start training from scratch.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Developing Potty Habits in Yorkies
Now that we’ve broken down all you need to know about crate training a Yorkie, you have all the tools necessary to become an expert trainer. From picking the best cage to choosing the right furnishings, there’s nothing you can’t do.
Remember to come back to this article if you’re ever confused about a particular aspect of the training procedure, and you’ll do great. Good luck.