Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM
Yorkies are an energetic, feisty, affectionate breed that makes for an ideal apartment pet.
However, as you may already know through research or firsthand experience, they’re also quite vocal dogs that like to communicate their needs and emotions.
As a current or soon-to-be dog parent, knowing what to expect regarding your pet’s barking behaviors might save you from a lot of stress, worry, and headache in the long run.
Yorkies bark a lot. Most dogs of this breed are loud and energetic. They can bark for several reasons, including fear, happiness, anxiety, boredom, and need for attention. The shape and positioning of their ears might also contribute to their vocality.
If you’re looking to better understand what to expect when it comes to a Yorkie’s barking behavior, keep reading.
In this article, I’ll be taking you through some of the most common reasons behind their vocal nature, how their barking habits vary by age and gender, how to differentiate between aggressive and playful barking, and lastly, some of the best ways to keep your Yorkie from crying and woofing at the slightest noise or inconvenience.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Before diving into Yorkies’ specific behaviors, it’s essential to understand why dogs bark in the first place.
Dogs bark to call out to other dogs, grab your attention, express their emotions, or express pain or another physical state caused by external stimuli. Barking is a dog’s primary means of communication, which is why most of them are very vocal throughout the day.
Barking is normal behavior for all dogs, which is why, as I’ll further explain in one of the following sections, attempting to train your pet out of vocalizing their needs and emotions will end up causing more harm than good.
Most dogs bark because they are:
- Wanting to grab your attention
- Experiencing fear, anxiety, or pain
- Being territorial
- Reacting to external stimuli
- Suffering from a health-related issue
As you can see, barking by itself doesn’t tell us much regarding a dog’s emotional and physical health.
Therefore, when trying to decipher what your pet is trying to communicate, always consider their body language.
Why Do Yorkies Bark?
Even though all breeds bark to communicate their needs, Yorkies seem to be especially vocal.
The reason behind this trait boils down to genetics.
Yorkies bark a lot because they tend to be much more lively, reactive, and communicative than other, quieter breeds. Moreover, due to the specific shape and positioning of their ears, they can pick up on even the most minuscule sounds, which often triggers a vocal response.
In short, Yorkies are a generally loud dog breed due to their personality traits and extra sharp hearing.
Barking Behavior by Age
As your Yorkie grows, you might find that their barking habits change and evolve.
While age isn’t the most significant factor affecting a dog’s vocality, it can still impact your pet’s barking loudness and frequency.
Yorkie puppies won’t start to bark until a few weeks after their birth.
While their first loud vocalizations will usually begin two to three weeks after birth, the real barks might not kick in until they’re about 6-8 weeks old.
Most barks are cries, signs of discomfort, hunger, or other needs throughout puppyhood.
As time goes by, the vocalizations will become louder and much more frequent.
You’ll also find your pup barking to express excitement and other positive emotions.
As your Yorkie puppy grows, the barks will become more frequent.
By adulthood, your dog will start to experience a much wider range of needs and emotions, which they’ll want to communicate through barking.
As your pet matures, they’ll also become more aggressive and territorial, prompting them to become even more vocal when necessary.
Most Yorkies are louder than your average dog, so some excessive barking is to be expected.
However, if your pet doesn’t seem to enjoy a second of silence, there might be a deeper issue at play here.
Therefore, if you’re worried about your Yorkie’s barking behavior, it’s always a good idea to consult your vet.
Barking Behavior by Gender
Even though many male and female Yorkies share a wide range of personality traits that make them equally lovable pets, there are a few biological differences at play that might affect their unique barking habits.
Male Yorkies tend to be a bit more territorial than their female counterparts, which, as previously explained, is a quality that often triggers barking.
Pet parent circles have a common belief that male Yorkies are a bit more aggressive than females; however, many believe this to be a myth, as it isn’t a research-based fact.
Some claim that males are less moody, which makes them less prone to boredom and anxiety-related barks.
However, specific behaviors can widely vary depending on your pet’s unique personality traits.
Female Yorkies are just as sharp-eared and attention-seeking as their male counterparts, making them just as prone to barking.
However, if your female Yorkie is unspayed, their heat cycle might cause them to undergo hormonal changes that inevitably affect their mood and aggressiveness.
Therefore, if this is the case, your pet might be a bit more vocal than expected due to the wide range of emotions and physical states they’re experiencing.
What Can Cause Excessive Barking in Yorkies?
Even though barking is a natural behavior that is to be expected from all dogs, especially Yorkies, there’s a point where the loud vocalizations might be indicating a deeper issue.
Therefore, if your pet seems to be barking excessively, there are a few considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when trying to address the issue.
Excessive barking in Yorkies can be caused by changes in the environment or surroundings, health-related issues, separation anxiety, hormonal changes, or other stimuli affecting a dog’s mental or physical state.
If you find that your dog is barking excessively, there are a few factors you will want to keep in mind.
When Did the Barking Begin?
The most important factor to consider when trying to better understand the reason behind your pet’s excessive barking is the timing of the behavioral change.
By asking yourself, “When did the barking begin,” you’ll be able to narrow down the possible causes and reach a solution much quicker.
If the barking began recently, the reason why your Yorkie barks a lot might be due to a recent change in their environment. For example, a new house guest, pet, or furniture layout might trigger a dog to become more vocal.
If excessive barking is a recent change, you’ll want to consider all the changes that have taken place throughout this timeframe in your dog’s life.
For example, a new pet or family member may have just moved into your home.
Likewise, you might’ve made some rearrangements to your living space that might be throwing your Yorkie off their game.
The quicker you try to troubleshoot your pet’s behavioral change, the greater the chance you’ll have of understanding the real reasoning behind it.
Therefore, please pay close attention to your Yorkie and how they react and adjust to changes in their living situation.
Suppose your previously quiet dog has recently become uncharacteristically vocal.
In that case, you can try to get to the root of the problem by reversing the most recent changes one by one in an effort to find what’s causing the behavioral shift.
For example, if you’ve just welcomed a new guest or pet into your home, try keeping them away from your Yorkie for a few days to see if your dog returns to its normal state.
If so, you’ve found the culprit and can take the necessary measures to introduce the new presence as gently and safely as possible.
The same approach can be used for any other changes that might’ve recently occurred in your Yorkie’s life.
Always make sure to rule out one possibility at a time, as doing so will allow you to find the root cause much quicker.
However, if your pet has always been loud, the cause might be genetic, so in this instance, consulting with a vet is the best course of action.
Moreover, regardless of whether the excessive barking has started recently or not, it might be a sign of an underlying health-related issue.
I’ll delve more into this topic in the following section.
Can Barking Indicate Health Problems?
Sometimes, it might feel impossible to find the root cause of your dog’s excessive barking regardless of how hard you try to spot environmental changes or hormonal swings.
If this is the case, your Yorkie might be trying to communicate an underlying health problem.
Barking can indicate health problems. However, if this is the case, the vocalizations are usually accompanied by other signs of distress, including panting, whining, dry lips, and pacing. If any of these symptoms arise, visit a veterinarian immediately.
However, while excessive barking can indicate a medical issue, this isn’t always the case.
Therefore, before panicking, inspect your dog’s physical appearance and behavior to check for other signs of distress.
It’s very rare for a dog to only exhibit excessive barking as the only symptom of an underlying health issue.
If you’re still worried or can’t seem to find another viable explanation, taking your pet to get looked at by a vet is always the best course of action.
How To Tell if the Barking Is Aggressive?
Considering barking is a dog’s primary means of communication, it can sometimes be challenging to decipher the sound’s nature.
However, knowing how to read your pet’s cues can be crucial for establishing a safe, loving relationship with them.
Therefore, any time your Yorkie starts to bark, there are some factors you’ll want to consider to determine whether the sound is aggressive or not.
To tell if the barking is aggressive, look for cues in a dog’s body language. Aggressive barks are usually accompanied by other behaviors such as growls, snarls, showing of teeth, lunging forward, mouthing, or body stiffness.
Keep in mind that every dog and situation is different; while some might exhibit several of these behaviors simultaneously, others might only show one or two signs before attacking.
Therefore, any time a bark seems excessive or aggressive-sounding, be diligent and look out for any of these accompanying cues.
How To Reduce Excessive Barking
The first step to reducing excessive barking is to identify the cause triggering the behavior in the first place.
Here are a few tips on identifying your dog’s barking triggers:
- Analyze their body language.
- Consider the timing of the behavioral change.
- Rule out any environmental causes.
- Consider if your dog is going through hormonal changes.
- If all else fails, always consult with a vet before proceeding.
Here’s how to reduce excessive barking:
- Talk calmly and firmly.
- Try to keep your dog’s environment as stable as possible.
- Train your dog to bark less through positive reinforcement. For example, say “Quiet,” wait until your pet has stopped barking, then give them a treat. Repeat the exercise as many times as necessary.
- Make sure your dog gets enough exercise.
- Limit your dog’s interactions with other dogs.
- On the flip side, if your dog seems to be barking out of boredom rather than territorialism, think about finding them a companion.
- Never reward attention-seeking barking.
Avoid These Pitfalls in Your Quest for Some Peace and Quiet
Even though excessive barking can drive even the most patient pet parent to the cusp of insanity, there are some techniques you’ll want to avoid at all costs in your quest for some peace and quiet.
Punishing Your Dog
Punishing your dog isn’t only an ineffective way to instill the desired behavior, but, more importantly, it’s cruel and inhumane.
First, you never know how a pet might react to negative reinforcement.
Some might become increasingly aggressive and fearful, feeling trepidation and animosity toward you, the person they’re supposed to trust and listen to the most.
As a result, the practice is highly ineffective.
More importantly, you should never punish your dog because the technique is cruel.
You’re trying to create a safe, loving space for your pet to thrive in, and this practice achieves the opposite.
Making Your Dog Think You’re Going To Hit Them
Following the same logic, you should never make your dog think you’re going to hit them.
Doing so causes the pet to distrust its parent, leading to a plethora of subsequent issues.
Any pain or fear-based techniques are risky and abusive, so try to steer clear of them regardless of the circumstances.
Shouting and Verbal Aggression
The same can be said regarding shouting and verbal aggression, which can be just as damaging to a pet’s overall health as the previously mentioned practices.
By yelling at your dog, you’ll make them feel fearful and unsafe, rendering your whole effort useless.
Use a calm yet firm voice instead.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, barking is natural! It’s neither normal nor safe for a dog not to bark at all.
By training your pet never to be vocal, you’ll be hindering their most important communication skill.
However, training to limit excessive barking is okay as long as it’s done in a safe, loving manner.
Using a barking collar is another cruel practice that should be avoided at all costs.
While these devices should not be used on any dogs, they can be especially damaging to Yorkies, which, as a smaller breed, can sustain severe physical damage from the electric shock.
Yorkies bark a lot; however, excessive barking can sometimes be a sign of an underlying issue.
The breed’s barking habits can vary depending on each dog’s age, gender, and personality traits.
However, if your pet whines and cries frequently, the best course of action is to consult with a vet immediately.
- Yorkie Advice: Do Yorkies Bark A lot? – Yorkie Barking & How to Stop It
- PetMD: 7 Reasons Why Dogs Bark
- American Kennel Club: How To Read Dog Body Language
- ASPCA: Aggression
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Why Punishment Should Be Avoided
- Little Paws Training: Male vs Female Yorkies [Which one to go for?]
Click here to read my post on whether or not Yorkies are aggressive
Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society