Many Yorkshire Terriers love to dig and burrow. They are, therefore, notorious diggers. This is a genetic trait instilled over generations. It’s actually a refined and desirable trait because of their initial use as a hunting and ratting dog.
All terriers, not just Yorkies, have their name because of their ability to dig. So, it’s in their DNA to chase rabbits, moles, rats, mice and other burrowing vermin. Their paws and overall build lend themselves to this job. Therefore, they will do this as a natural aspect to their behavior.
Table of Contents
- Do All Yorkshire Terriers Dig?
- From Where Does a Yorkie Get the Desire to Dig?
- Can You Stop a Yorkie from Digging?
- What’s the Best Way to Reduce a Yorkie’s Digging?
- How Do You Control & Block Access to Reduce a Yorkshire Terrier’s Digging?
- How Do You Control & Block Access When the Yorkie Digs Indoors?
- How Do You Train a Yorkie to Distract It from Digging?
- Should You Reward a Yorkie When It Digs in the Right Spot?
Do All Yorkshire Terriers Dig?
While it’s true that many Yorkshire Terriers will dig their way to China if they could, not all of them will be incessant about it. But for many within this precious breed, it will be a dominant behavior they do proudly throughout their lives.
From Where Does a Yorkie Get the Desire to Dig?
During the 1800s, amid England’s industrial revolution, immigrants bred these adorable little dogs specifically for the job of keeping mills and mines free of vermin. But, during the Victorian Era, Yorkies became more desirable as house pets. Specifically, modern women and royalty of the time sought them out for more domestic purposes.
But, they have never quite managed to breed out a Yorkie’s innate desire to dig and burrow into things. To this day, they’ll dig anywhere that suits them. This includes your backyard, children’s sandbox, the dog park or anywhere there’s some good substrate to get into.
This comes complete with myriads of small holes in the ground or work on a larger hole. There are even some Yorkshire Terriers that will attempt etching their claws into the living room carpet or the comforter on your bed. This lends itself to Yorkies having a bad rep for destruction.
Can You Stop a Yorkie from Digging?
Unfortunately, there’s no one way to stop a Yorkshire Terrier from digging. However, you shouldn’t want to stop it altogether. After all, it’s part of who they are and how they like to explore their world.
But, if a Yorkie’s digging and burrowing is problematic, then you’re going to have to work hard to train the dog. You can achieve this, but understand this will take lots of love, patience and persistence on your part.
What’s the Best Way to Reduce a Yorkie’s Digging?
Before you can control a Yorkie’s incessant digging, there are three things you have to do:
- Block and control access to areas that are acceptable and unacceptable for the dog to dig.
- Develop a series of techniques that will distract and engage the dog upon command.
- Have plenty of treats to award behavior.
How Do You Control & Block Access to Reduce a Yorkshire Terrier’s Digging?
Yorkies often won’t burrow and dig when supervised and know it’s not permissible to do so. But, if you leave the dog to its own devices, it will surely dig. In the event you have to leave your dog in the yard during the day, train the Yorkie to dig in its own area that you provide.
You can cordon off a section of the yard and put sand, gravel or other substrate the dog loves digging into. Then, deliberately train the dog to dig there. When the dog starts digging in the yard, say “no” and temporarily ignore the dog. When the Yorkie digs in the correct spot, provide a treat to show that this is appropriate and good.
How Do You Control & Block Access When the Yorkie Digs Indoors?
In the event you have a Yorkie that loves to dig into carpeting, the bed or some other such item in the house, there are several things you can try.
- Create a Digging Spot: Use old blankets, clothes and other worn out materials. Put this in a box and reserve it for the dog in the same way as creating a special outdoor area. When you see the dog hacking away at the carpet, place the dog in the box. Give a reward when the pup digs in the box on its own.
- Stay on Top of Trimming: The most destructive factor in a Yorkie’s digging is its nails. Therefore, it’s important you keep them well-trimmed and blunt so that when the dog does burrow, it won’t destroy fabrics.
- Exercise Frequency: It may be that your obsessive little digger doesn’t get enough exercise. If you can add about 20 to 30 minutes, this will help the dog get rid of excess energy.
How Do You Train a Yorkie to Distract It from Digging?
The best way to train a Yorkie in an effort to distract it from digging is to understand what the dog loves more than digging. This could be anything from toys and treats to sounds and other dogs.
You can reserve a group of “special” toys versus the ones the dog interacts with every day. Every two weeks or so, rotate the “special” toy as a means of distraction. Whenever you see the dog go to town, present the toy. Chances are, the Yorkie will opt for the toy because it doesn’t spend time with it often.
But, the dog will become accustomed to playing with it. This is why you should keep the selection fresh and in rotation. Another option is using treats in a similar way as toys. You can reserve super tasty favorites as part of their distraction training. Alternatively, you could engage the dog with playing; either with someone in the household or another friendly dog.
Should You Reward a Yorkie When It Digs in the Right Spot?
You must always reward a Yorkie whenever it does a good job. This is going to be crucial in getting the dog to learn what’s appropriate and what’s unacceptable.
For instance, if the dog starts digging but stops upon your command, then offer a biscuit. But, when the Yorkie starts digging in its digging box or special area outdoors, give a bone or salmon skins.