Eric is a human who has been owned by a Yorkie for over six years.
Yorkie Puppy Supplies
If you decide to adopt a Yorkie puppy and make him a member of your household it's smart to assemble a checklist of all the items you’re going to need before you even bring him home. Essential items like food and grooming supplies are a no-brainer, but have you thought about what kind of leash you should use or how you are going to keep your new puppy safe when you are not around?
Yorkshire Terriers are tiny little dogs with feisty but sweet temperaments, and they have a very specific set of needs. Where do you start?
This article can help you figure it out. I wrote down most of these ideas back when we brought our new Yorkie puppy home. He’s six years old now, and he’s grown from a rambunctious little ball of energy to a slightly larger, occasionally calmer but certainly more disciplined ball of energy.
We made some good decisions when Yorkie was a puppy, and a few mistakes too. Hopefully, you can benefit from our experience and be ready for your new puppy from day one!
Here are a few of the things we learned.
Yorkshire Terrier Breed-specific Training Books
One of the smartest things we did was hunt down some books about our specific dog breed, so we could better understand his needs. While there are many generalities when it comes to dog training, there are also some quirks you’ll find inherent in certain breeds, and techniques that work better for them.
Sadly, there are also some medical conditions that are more prevalent in certain dog breeds. For Yorkies, we were aware of a knee condition called Luxating Patella that affects many Yorkshire Terriers. This is a good thing to know before choosing your pet, so you can decide if the potential complications are worth the (possible) heartache. Thankfully our Yorkie hasn't had this issue so far.
You can also find a lot of this information on the internet (though we found it more helpful to have a physical reference manual). In fact, no matter what kind of dog you choose, I’d bet there is at least one website and forum dedicated to that breed. These are great places to read up on the behaviors and needs of your puppy and find out what other owners are going through with their dogs.
Collar, Leash, and Harness
You can choose to go with a traditional leash, but I much prefer the retractable versions. The better ones go up to 16 feet or even longer, and you can lock them at any length. This gives your dog some freedom and lets you safely practice commands that require him to be at a distance.
We attach the leash to a Puppia soft harness rather than the collar. One thing our research taught us was in regard to our puppy's little windpipe, and how susceptible Yorkies are to damage when using a regular collar. Using a harness means when he pulls the pressure will be on his chest rather than his throat, and it’s generally harder to slip out.
Remember: Young puppies are prone to running off without remembering: A) They are on a leash, B) There is an end to the leash, and C) Bad things will happen when they get to the end if they are running at full speed. It's easy to see how a harness is better in such a situation.
A puppy will still need a collar so he can wear his name tag with your phone number on it in case he gets lost. When you bring him home it’s likely he never had to wear a collar before, so be patient with him as he adjusts.
Remember to think small! When our Yorkie was a puppy we went out and bought him a fancy retractable dog leash with a nice long lead so he could run around to his heart's content. It was the smallest size available for puppies, but every time he ran a few feet it pulled him right back to us. He just wasn't strong enough.
Solution: We got him a smaller retractable leash from the kitten supplies section, which he used until he got bigger and stronger.
Your Yorkie puppy will be an inquisitive little furball. He can and will try to eat almost anything a grown dog eats. We also found out our puppy will try to eat anything a cat eats, a bird eats, a person eats, and even some things nobody is ever supposed to eat.
Of course, that's not always a good thing. Just because he'll try to eat these things doesn't mean they are healthy for him. We started him off on good-quality dry puppy food. Puppy food is formulated differently than adult dog food, and the pieces are smaller. I think it is smart to choose a major brand you know you can trust, not something generic.
While he’ll earn some treats, weasel some table scraps and probably chomp down a bug or two, this dry puppy food should be the basis of his diet. Most brands say to feed 4-5 times per day, but because toy breeds like Yorkshire Terriers can sometimes end up hypoglycemic if they don’t eat enough we chose to always have dry food available for him when he wanted it. We even put a small tray of food in his crate in case he got hungry in the night. You'll want to consult your vet if you are concerned about this.
Advice from Eukanuba on Feeding Your Puppy
Water and Food Bowls
Of course, all that good food needs to be served properly. When choosing bowls remember that he’s just a little guy for now, and a water bowl big enough for him to bathe in may be overkill. If you can’t find something small enough in the puppy section of the pet store, check out the cats and kittens area where there may be smaller dishes.
You may also wish to consider getting stainless-steel bowls. Some experts have concluded that these are healthier for pets in the long run, as opposed to the plastic versions which can scratch and harbor bacteria, or ceramic bowls that might have questionable glazes and finishes.
You know you love treats. I do too! A Yorkie puppy is no different. But the problem is he has no idea what’s good for him, so he depends on you to give him healthy treats for the right reasons.
In the beginning, we used treats primarily for training purposes. He quickly learned if he came running when he heard his name there might be something good in it for him. Remarkably, even today there are few behaviors he won’t cease immediately if he thinks there is a treat coming his way.
Remember to consider the number of treats he's eating in his overall diet. Our vet mentioned that Yorkies have a trend toward being overweight because people misjudge their needs and overfeed them, especially with table scraps. We've been very careful about this and our little guy hasn't had any issues, even with free-feeding and treats throughout the day for good behavior.
The Puppy Playpen
Puppies need a lot of attention. Without their mother and littermates, they are relying on you for the stimulation needed for their proper development. This primarily takes the form of play, training, and social interaction.
Because I work from my home office I was available to interact with our Yorkie puppy on most days. However, sometimes I needed to put him in a safe place while I dealt with business.
In these times, the puppy playpen was a godsend. This was, by far, the most important tool we used in keeping our new puppy safe and under control.
You can buy them specifically for dogs, or do like we did and get a children’s play area. Ideally, it should be big enough for a Yorkie puppy to run around a little, play with toys, have a place for food and water, and a blanket or mat for sleeping.
We chose a playpen with removable sections. As a very small puppy, he stayed in a small square. As he got bigger I added more sections so he had more room. When he got even bigger I used one section of the playpen as a barrier at my office door so he couldn’t leave the room.
Once he was old enough and more trustworthy, we removed the playpen altogether and allowed him free roaming of the house.
Kennels, Crates and Crate Training
It is a good idea to purchase a travel crate for your puppy. If you decide to take a trip, or even just visit the vet, it is much safer for him in the crate than potentially getting underfoot in your car. There are different kinds, but we chose the hard-shell type just for the added protection.
You also may want to use it for crate training and as a sleeping area. Or, you may prefer to have a separate kennel-style enclosure for training.
It's natural to feel kind of bad about locking your puppy up in a kennel, but it really does help him learn about bedtime and where to potty. You can read up on crate training and decide if it is right for you.
As a puppy, our Yorkie slept in his crate and didn’t seem to mind at all. In the morning, sometimes he was so comfy in there he didn’t want to come out! When he did, he was taken directly to his yard to do his business. It did seem like that helped him to understand where and when it was acceptable to make a mess.
As an adult, he doesn’t have to sleep in the crate anymore, but we still occasionally use it for transport. Look for a crate that's big enough for him to stand up in, turn around and lie down comfortably as an adult. You can always block portions of it off while he's small.
Toys! Toys! Toys!
Some might say our Yorkie is spoiled with all the toys we’ve given him. I disagree and would counter that, as a puppy, having a variety of different toys kept his little mind working and growing and assisted in his development. As an adult dog, the same toys let him exercise and bond with his humans.
Also, I’m not sure it is possible to spoil a dog, as he’s pretty much going to be pampered his whole life anyway. It’s not like he’ll have unrealistic expectations of the world when he leaves college and enters the workforce or something if he has too many toys.
Our Yorkie loved Zippy Paws critters as a puppy and still loves chasing them around as an adult. They are small enough for him to carry and play fetch with, and some of them come as part of a puzzle toy package.
Toys keep dogs thinking, provide a medium for play between you and them, and just plain allow everybody to have some fun. You don’t have to go nuts like we did, but don’t overlook the importance of a nice arrangement of toys for your puppy’s growth and development.
You want your puppy to look good, but more importantly, you want him to be healthy. You don’t need to spend a whole lot on grooming supplies, and you probably don’t care if your dog is fit to enter a dog show. Doing the minimum is cheap and easy and goes a long way toward keeping him healthy.
Yorkies need to get used to being brushed from a young age. Yorkshire Terriers have long hair when it is left to grow, and their coat can become a mess if you don't take care of it. He may actually come to like being groomed after he gets past the stage where he thinks it’s fun to attack the brush.
Likewise, get him used to someone touching his feet so nail clipping is easier and safer. You may wish to have the vet do this when he’s little.
Shampoo and baths are important. Get a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs, as people shampoo is too harsh. However, some owners do use baby shampoo on their puppies.
It’s a good idea for a puppy to have a doggie bed or blankets that are specifically “his”. We put his blankets in his crate, in his playpen, and on the floor where he liked to play. This gave him a sense of security when he was around these objects.
Little dogs also appreciate soft surfaces like cushions and blankets for staying warm. They can disappear into a blanket just by fluffing it up with their feet. In fact, now that he’s an adult, he still likes to burrow under a blanket when he sleeps.
Additional Concerns for a New Puppy
Make an appointment to see the vet as soon as possible after you bring your Yorkie puppy home from the breeder. Even though he would have had some shots and hopefully at least one vet visit while in the care of the breeder, he has a long line of vet visits ahead of him before he’s in the clear.
Be prepared for this expense as well. The vet visits, shots, and treatments alone for a new puppy will be hundreds of dollars over the course of the next few months. But they are worth it to make sure he is healthy.
Think about ways to socialize your puppy with people and other animals. This first week our puppy was home he met about twenty new people, two dogs, and a cat. This helped him to be less fearful of people and other animals.
He still "defends the house" when strangers come around (or cats, birds, deer, squirrels, etc), but he warms up to people pretty quickly.
Some owners like to take their animals to dog parks, where other dogs run around off-leash. I’m not too comfortable with that, but you may be okay with it.
Your New Friend
Some people say you buy a dog, others say you adopt one. I think it’s more like you strike up a friendship. When you bring a puppy into your home his life is in your hands. It is a tremendous responsibility. You are the custodian of his wellbeing and the only force that can shape his little life from here on out.
If you do it right he’ll grow up to be a healthy adult dog. He will give you unconditional love, boundless friendship, more joy than you ever thought you could handle, and, yes, horrible heartache when he is eventually gone.
In return for his limitless devotion, he has the right to expect the same love and friendship from you, as well as a warm home where his needs are met and he doesn’t ever have to be afraid. That’s the contract if you choose to accept it.
The good news is you don’t have to be perfect. Dogs know where you’re trying, and if you approach the relationship with a good heart everything will be just fine.
Yorkshire Terriers are loving friends, curious explorers, eager playmates, devoted companions, and tenacious defenders.
Good luck with your new Yorkie puppy!
A New Puppy!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on December 12, 2015:
FIVE Yorkies! I just got a little dizzy reading that. My one Yorkie has me run ragged half the time. My wife has suggested we get another, but for now our little guy is enough to handle. They are wonderful dogs, though, and I bet five in one household is a lot of fun. Thanks for the kind words!
Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 11, 2015:
I have a relative with five Yorkies. They are spitfires with the older ones a little calmer. I don't know why they have so many, except that they love them so much. After the first one, they wanted more. This is an excellent tutorial on taking care of them with the recommendation of a book to help. Sharing. Blessings, Audrey
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on April 14, 2015:
peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 12, 2015:
good tips to follow, pups needed all these stuff. Voted up