How To Train A Yorkie To Sit: Why Perseverance And Timing Pay Off

how to train a yorkie to sit

The basic commands of sit, stay and lie down are important for all dogs when learning obedience and becoming pack members.

Sit, in particular, is one of the first commands that new owners will try to control their dogs. There is an assumption that this is simple, that all dogs learn this trick the same way. However, there are some issues with Yorkshire Terriers.

In this guide on how to train a Yorkie to sit, we will look at some of these problems and how to work with them rather than against them for great progress.

Start by finding the right space and remove distractions

It is important to create a safe, relaxing spot in the home where you can practice with your pup whenever you need to. This means a quiet corner where you will not be disturbed and your pup will not be distracted.

[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]The attention span of a Yorkie is not great, if there is a toy, other person or even a noise that grabs their attention, they may not want to cooperate. This is why many trainers insist that owners start this Yorkie training method indoors. There is just too much going on in the backyard. [/thrive_text_block]

Then find the right reward to motivate your pup when training Yorkies

Dogs, just like us, like to be rewarded for their hard work. There needs to be a good reason for them to go through this process of sitting and standing. Praise and stroking are nice, but some sort of food treat works brilliantly to hold their attention and follow your hand.

[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]Hold the treat to their nose and use it to guide them into a sitting position. Once successful, praise them and release the treat. Make sure that the treat is suitable for the breed and something you know they love. Also, make sure not to hold it too far out of reach. There is no need to tease them. [/thrive_text_block]

From there, it is all about the right sequence of motions when

The hand motion with the treat is important when training Yorkie puppies. As you raise your hand with the treat inside, your dog should instinctively raise their head to follow the smell and try and obtain the treat. This, in turn, should get them to sit down on the floor.

Once they are seated, praise them and release the treat. With time, the movement can become less exaggerated as the pup understands that they are getting a treat for sitting, rather than just following your hand. It is important to let your pup do all the work here. Never force them to sit if they are not getting the idea. This negative behavior is counterproductive and could be painful to the dog.

Timing is everything when training a Yorkie.

What we mean here is that you need to time your commands and positive responses accordingly so Yorkies know precisely why they are being praised. If they are not given the praise as their bottom touches the floor, they may not make that connection. You do have to be on the ball with these little dogs. Some find that a clicker can help to provide that quick, sharp noise at just the right time. It gets their attention and get then be followed by the treat.

On the subject of timing, it is important to remember that you really do need to keep training sessions as brief as possible for the best results. Yorkie like attention, and they like to play, but their attention spans aren’t the best. If they get bored, or feel that they are getting no reward from the situation, they may stop trying or walk away. That is why it help to add training to the day in small 5 minute sessions. A good trick is to try getting them to sit before their meal to show the benefits of listening and responding.


Soon it will be time to move onto level 2 in terms of difficulty

This simply means removing the hand commands and treats in a gradual manner and relying on voice commands. This means that pups still work to respond to your needs, but aren’t expecting so many prompts or rewards. Before long, you should be able to stick to a simple “sit” command with no hand motions or treats and your pup will no longer expect a reward for good behavior, they will simply know that this is what is expected of them in this situation.

Once this has been perfected, you can move on to an even greater level of difficulty with new environments.

[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]This new skill is all well and good in that one quiet corner of the home, but there is the risk that your dog will only associate the sitting trick with this area. You need to move the training to places with distractions, essentially bringing in all the elements that you were trying to avoid in the first place. Head outside into the garden where there are fun smells and sounds and see if your pup continues to sit on command. There is a good chance that the new environment will prove tricky, so you may need to bring the treat back into reward success. Don’t view this as a step backwards. You are both still on the path to great progress. [/thrive_text_block]

If you continue to struggle, you could look into online resources for further guidance on how to teach a Yorkie to sit.

Online programs with step-by-step guides are a great tool for obedience training. The issues of the attention span and temperament of the Yorkie means that they may not be well suited to an obedience class with other dogs, and this can seem demoralizing if other breeds there progress faster. Online guides, such as Doggy Dan the online dog trainer and the Secrets to Dog Training online program let you work in your own time, in your own home, for as long as it takes for the message to sink in.

300 x 250

It may seem tough to train Yorkshire Terriers to sit, but it is worthwhile.

Learning how to train a Yorkie to sit has its clear benefits for all Yorkie owners because it offers a strong foundation in training, positive reinforcement and general obedience. This can then translate over to tougher training situations, such as housebreaking, separation anxiety, and barking issues.

The nature and attention span of these pups means that they are not the easiest to train. However, the right approach and some persistence pay off. Get to know your dog’s likes and dislikes, follow the breed specific rules and keep at it.


Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

Recent Posts

Get Your Free 5 Dog Training Videos

Enter your Email Below to access the free training...

Get Your 5 Free Dog Training Videos

Enter your Email Below to access the free training...

Enter Your Email Address Below To Instantly Download The Free Report