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Bringing a Yorkie Outside:
 Tips for Young Pups & Adults


In regard to young pups, it’s really exciting getting a new Yorkshire Terrier puppy, and it's especially great when you are ready to venture out with him. There are valid and rather pressing reasons to head out such as housebreaking and taking your Yorkie for walks to meet exercise requirements.

However, there are also the elements of taking him out to introduce him to the world. To new sights, sounds, and experiences. Many new owners of pups can be a little unsure regarding the best way to start taking a pup outside or even when it is safe to do so. Elements such as the pup showing hesitation or fear and even the weather can play a big role.

For adult dogs, issues such as fear of outside elements or intolerance to certain outdoor elements can hinder your plans to walk your Yorkie or have him stay active outdoors. 

And for Yorkies of all ages, staying safe is vital; it's important to be aware of the real dangers that may be lurking right outside your door. 

So, this section will cover:
  • The age you can take a Yorkie outside (in your yard and into public)
  • Prepping your yard for safety
  • Having an outside plan
  • Outdoor dangers – Including shocking attacks
  • Tips to help your Yorkie learn to like being outside

The Age You Can Start Bringing a Yorkie Puppy Outside

It will vary from 6 to 16 weeks. One of the most important aspects is to understand why you must follow the guidelines for when it is safe to bring your Yorkie puppy out. 

When a puppy is born, he has some protection against disease via antibodies received from the dam. However, these start to deplete a bit each day as he is maturing. In the meantime, the pup is receiving vaccinations, which start to build up. 

There is a gray line that is there, in which the antibodies from the dam are low, but the new resistance via the puppy inoculations is not high enough to protect him. 

The outside world can be dangerous to a puppy in regard to diseases that can be contracted from both other dogs and from other animals (including wildlife such as raccoon, deer, etc.). The main concerns are parvovirus, canine hepatitis and leptospirosis.

These diseases can be in contracted, most often, from a pup being on the ground where an animal had previously urinated or defecated (even if you do not see anything and the grass/ground looks just fine). 

Because the risk varies depending on where the Yorkie would be (a fenced-in yard vs a public park) and the exact circumstances (holding your Yorkie up high or having him on the ground), it is important to follow the guidelines on when it is safe to go to certain outdoor areas.
Outside in your own yard, Zero chance of other dogs, animals – If your yard is very secure from any other animals (past and present), such as a fenced area in which it is impossible for other animals (both pets and wildlife) to have access to, you can start bringing your Yorkie puppy outside at the 6 to 8-week mark.

If you are unsure, you may want to wait (see ahead) or place your pup into a portable canine playpen (supervised, of course) so that he is off the ground. More ahead on tips to make the yard safer.

Outside of the house, Yorkie pup will NOT be placed on the ground - While canine distemper is both an airborne disease (sneezing, coughing) as well as contracted via contact with contaminated surfaces, most vets agree that if a puppy is held by his owner, in a canine stroller or up in a carry pack, it is safe to have him out in public this way starting at 8 weeks old. Never, for even a moment, place him on the ground, even if it looks clean. 
Photo courtesy of Maggie Tree, Port Alfred, South Africa
Out in public, on the ground – The only safe time to bring a puppy out into the world (walking in the neighborhood, to parks, stores, etc.) is to wait until he has had all of his rounds of puppy shots and 2 weeks past that point. Vets have slightly different inoculation schedules, so you will want to check with your own vet. Most pups will be ready by the 12 to 16 week mark. 

Playing with other, known dogs – If you have a friend, family member or neighbor that has a dog that you are 100% sure is both healthy and vaccinated, and you plan on very closely supervising the interaction, you may do so between the 2 and 4 month range. Some vets propose that this type of situation poses no risk (other than rough play, which is why you must supervise) and others like to play it very safe by suggesting owners wait. 

Prepping Your Yard for Safety

Knowing that you’ll be heading outside with your Yorkie for the first time is exciting! But, let’s back up just a bit. There are still some elements to consider and prep for. 

Chemicals – You’ll want to stay away from areas that were treated with lawn care chemicals such as weed killer and insecticides. The residue from these remain for varying amounts of time, so you will want to check the brand used, or if a professional company applied these, check with them. In the winter, be aware of both salt and ice melt chemicals, as these cause burns to the paws and are poisonous if ingested. 

Obstacles/hazards - Do a perimeter check for any sharp objects. This can be small garden tools left out, sharp sticks, etc. Also, keep an eye out for small holes that your pup could trip into, red ants hills or ground bee hives in the summer, etc. You’ll want your Yorkie to be able to walk around without any chance of injury. 
Misty Rose, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Paulette Newberry in Napa, California 

An Outside Plan

1) When housebreaking, it is best to choose one particular area. Keep in mind, that you will want access to be easy no matter the weather and precipitation.

2) During the housebreaking phase, it is recommended to make going to the bathroom a priority. When the deed is done, you can then stay out for a period of time to allow your Yorkie pup to start getting used to the outside world. Just hearing noises, exploring (safely) and sniffing scents is all needed for healthy development.  

3) With walks, it is suggested to walk the intended route solo (walk, not drive) to see if it seems like the best choice for your Yorkie’s daily exercise. While you do want to expose him to all outside elements for proper socialization to the world, it should be done incrementally. 

Do not try to go from 0 to 100 too quickly. The route should have only light traffic, and not an overabundance of other dogs and children. As he learns about his world and starts to feel comfortable, you can adjust the route to include more stimulus.  

4) Letting your Yorkie outside by himself, if you have a fenced in yard, may seem like the right choice to make your life easier. However, this is a huge missed opportunity to teach housebreaking since you will not be there to mark the moment with reward and praise. Additionally, and importantly, there are several valid, life-threatening dangers (see more ahead).

Outdoor Dangers - Attacks

There are some very valid dangers of having a Yorkie outside alone; many are if the dog is outside alone, however there are also some elements to be aware of even if you are there as well. These events are not listed here to make you sad or upset; but to make you aware of the very real dangers that exist, hopefully leading to all owners taking measures to stay safe.

Fenced in yard attacks 

In Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 3 Yorkshire Terriers named KiKi, TeeTee and Boo-Boo, were let out into their owner’s yard, which had a 6-foot privacy fence. The owner Wayne Patton, heard screaming. It was his Yorkies. Poor little KiKi was being chased by a brown Pitbull. Boo-Boo was in the mouth of a white one. Those dogs had run from a 1/2 mile away and jumped the fence.

Wayne started hitting the white Pitbull with a dog dish; when the attacking dog released Boo-Boo, he grabbed his Yorkie and tried to run into the house. While running, he was tripped by the attacking dog, fell to the ground and was bit on his hand – down to the tendons. He finally made it inside with Boo-Boo, and TeeTee as well, but KiKi was outside, dead and still being mauled by the brown dog. 

It doesn’t end there! He called the police and when the office arrived at the house, the brown Pitbull jumped the fence once again and charged. The cop maced it, at which time it jumped back into the yard. The dogs were eventually rounded up and taken away. 

In Richardson, Texas, an owner was in his fenced-in yard with his two Yorkies. He went back inside just for a moment, to fetch his briefcase since he was also readying to go to work. In just those few minutes, a bobcat jumped over the fence and killed one of his Yorkies, Dakota. It was caught on surveillance camera
In yard, no fence

In Southington, Connecticut, a 2-year-old Yorkie named Simon was killed by an unknown dog when he was outside in his yard with his owners. The owner tried to separate the dogs and save Simon, but it was too late. The other dog was about 100 pounds and its bites were fatal. 

In St. Charles, Illinois, a woman was in her yard, putting leashes on her 3 dogs to get ready to take them for a walk. Suddenly, they scattered. And then she saw why.

A coyote was there. It chased after her dog Gracie. Otto, her 3.5 pound Yorkshire Terrier, an incredibly brave little dog, ran to save Gracie. He was carried off by the coyote.

His body was found the next day; and police brought the green sweater he had been wearing to the owner as a way to identify him. 
Outside in public

In Royal Oak, Michigan, owner Tony Ancevski was walking his 4-pound Yorkie, named Maks, back to his car when 3 dogs jumped a fence, attacked Maks and killed him.

In a shocking attack in the UK, owners Bill O'Connell was walking his 2 Yorkies, Molly and Penny, home from a local park; Molly, admittedly, was off-leash. A crazed dog chased her into their front yard and attacked her. The owner put his Yorkie Penny up on the roof of his shed and threw the attacking dog over the fence. But, before he could reach Molly, the dog came back in and mauled her. Molly did not survive. 

In Brandon, Florida, Georgette Walker, a disable owner who uses a motorized scooter, was outside with her 4-year-old Yorkie named Honey. Two mixed dogs approached. Honey was attacked. The owner was knocked out of her scooter in her attempt to save her Yorkie. On the ground and helpless, she had to witness Honey being viciously bitten. A neighbor fought the dogs off with a rake and Honey was brought to an animal hospital. She didn’t make it. 

In Aurora, Colorado, a 5-year-old Yorkie named Marie was let out into the yard. She was later found there with dead, from fatal puncture wounds. Animal control believed the bite marks were either from a large dog or a coyote. 
How to Help You and Your Yorkie Safe from Attacks
  • Even if you have a fenced-in yard, never let your Yorkie outside alone. 
  • Before you both head out, if it is dusk or dark out, put on an outside light. In addition, bring a flashlight and scan the yard first.  
  • When walking, keep your Yorkie on a short (or retractable) leash.
  • Have your Yorkie wear a harness, not a collar, so that you can quickly pull him toward you (and safety) without neck injury. 
  • If you see an off-leash, possibly aggressive dog, pick up your Yorkie, and carry a calm air of confidence; do not look at the other dog in the eyes. 
  • Keep a whistle on you or an air horn - loud noises may scare off an attacking animal.
  • You may want to consider carrying a legal repellent. 
  • Experts suggest carrying a walking stick with you; the idea is to hold it out so that an attacking dog latches onto the stick and not you or your dog. 
yorkie face close up
Andy, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Fanya
Outdoor Dangers – Other

Other hazards to be aware of is a Yorkie eating toxic weeds or plants, swallowing small pebbles, being stung by insects or coming into contact with or eating grass that has been treated with lawn care chemicals. 

Tips to Help your Yorkie Learn to Like Being Outside

1) Gradual steps– As touched on above, you do not want to go from 0 to 100 too quickly. So, imagine that your outside adventures move more like a slow, yet interesting tour as opposed to driving a car at the Indy 500. Suddenly facing overwhelming stimulus can really counteract any positive interactions for puppies.

For example, for walking on roads and to help prevent a fear of cars, start off with little to no traffic, graduating to moderately busy and then to busy (staying on sidewalks, of course). For other dogs, start with known small dogs, graduating to a few encounters with various dogs and then to dog parks (segregated for small dogs).

For being around other people, start with small events such as neighbors in their yards, move on to a small farmer’s market and then to a bustling mall. 

Access your Yorkie to see how he’s doing and always end on a good note before things get too overwhelming. Every puppy/dog has his limits. 
Prince Ali, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Ann Cargen-Ray
If your Yorkie does not do well in busy crowds or if you plan on doing a lot of walking (and toy breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier can have issues with both of these things), think about using a carry pack or a canine stroller. Both can make life much easier and for a dog, turn otherwise stressful events into more pleasant ones.  

2) Prep for outside weather and conditionsIn the winter, paw wax is very beneficial in several ways: to protect the paws from the freezing cold ground surfaces, to add traction, to help prevent ‘snowballing’ (tiny ice/snow pellets that get stuck between toes and pad pads) and to help prevent dryness. 

In the summer, paw wax goes a long way in protecting paws from hot walking surfaces, which cause burns in under a minute. 

When it is cold outside, a sweater, vest or coat can make a huge different in how long a little Yorkie can tolerate being outside. 

And when it is raining, while it is recommended that you allow a puppy to slowly get used to the rain (warm rain), during downpours, you may find that a well-fitting rain jacket is just the thing that allows the Yorkie to tolerate being outside. For house training, weather avoidance is a huge factor in failure rates. 
Outdoor Essentials for Happiness, Safety, and Toleration 
Supplies Needed for a Yorkie - The 16 items you should have to take proper care of your Yorkie of any age.
My Yorkie is Eating Poop - Why coprophagia develops and how to stop it.
How to Get a Yorkie to Listen - Helpful tips if your Yorkie is being stubborn. 
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