Leaving a Yorkie home alone

Can Yorkies be left home alone

There will be times in our modern lifestyles when our Yorkies will need to be left alone. Yorkies are very social and loving little dogs. Most Yorkies probably don’t like or appreciate being left alone but it is something they will learn to accept.

Whether your particular Yorkie can be left alone will depend on their personality and character, age, health, and whether they are used to be left alone.

Yorkie left alone

What to do with a Yorkie while at work

If you think your Yorkie can’t be left alone or isn’t really to be home alone while you are at work, there are many other options you can consider. Here are potential things you can do with your Yorkie while at work or out for extended periods of time.

Doggy Daycare

Taking your dog to doggie daycare may be a good option if your dog is creating problems being left home alone such as barking all day or destroying everything. They may also suit dogs that suffer from some form of separation stress or anxiety.

To learn more about doggie daycare as an option for your Yorkie see here.

Leave your Yorkie with friends or family

If you have any friends or family you can leave your dog or puppy with while you are at work it would be ideal.

Hire a pet minder

There are many good pet sitting services that can either visit or stay with your dog. Alternatively, some pet sitters will take your dog into their own homes. 

Take your Yorkie to work

More and more workplaces and offices are becoming pet-friendly and will allow you to take your dog to work. Many employers are adopting this policy due to the many benefits having pets at work have shown to have.

If you are lucky enough to work in a company that has a pet-friendly policy it would be a good option.

Mix of options

Perhaps a mixture of several options would be best for your dog and you. You may choose to take your dog to doggie daycare a couple of days a week and leave them at home on the other days. Doggie daycare is fun for your dog but if some dogs going every day may become overwhelming.

Or you could leave your dog home alone and arrange for a pet minder or someone you know to pop in your a visit and spend time with them. If you work for a company with a pet-friendly policy doesn’t mean you have to take your dog every day. Maybe you can take your Yorkie to work some days and take them to doggie daycare or leave them at home on other days.

You can choose any combination of options that are best suited for your dog and yourself.

How long can you leave a Yorkie home alone

You have probably been told by other people that Yorkshire Terriers can’t be left alone. You may have been told that Yorkies suffer from separation anxiety and are a very nervous breed. These are not traits of the Yorkie breed, but it may be true for some individual Yorkies.

My own Yorkie girl, Asia, is fine being home alone all day while I am at work. She is obviously happy and excited to see me when I return.

Ultimately, how long you can leave an adult Yorkshire Terrier alone really depends upon the individual dog. For a confident, well-behaved Yorkie that it is used to being alone, all day while you are at work is no problem.

How long can you leave a Yorkie puppy alone

A Yorkie puppy does need more attention and care than a Yorkie over 12 months old. Puppies need three or four meals a day and to go toilet more often. They also need more attention and social contact. This is crucial for them to form a bond and connection with you.

They have recently left their mother and siblings and everything is new to them. It is an important time in their development.

Ideally, a young Yorkie puppy should only be left home alone for short periods of time – no longer than 2 to 3 hours at a time.

Do Yorkies hate being alone

Every Yorkie is an individual but in general, they don’t really enjoy being home alone. However, it is something they can learn to be accepting of and not be stressed about.

They obviously never be like teenagers who can’t wait for the parents to leave you they can get up to no good.

Separation anxiety in Yorkies

Although most Yorkshire Terriers can adapt to being home alone, some can suffer from anxiety and stress. Yorkies are very social and like the company of people. Separation anxiety is a general term used to describe this. However, true separation anxiety is a condition when the dog is in a  state of extreme panic and anxiety. There is a high risk of them hurting themselves in this situation.

Although this is not that common it is a condition that needs to be dealt with by a professional dog behaviorist.

What most dogs that don’t want to be left alone suffer from is separation stress or isolation anxiety or stress. A separation issue is that the dog doesn’t want to be away from a certain person or group of people. An isolation issue is more a case of them not wanting to be alone. They will be happy with the company of any other person.

To learn more about anxiety in dogs left alone see here.

Confining a Yorkie while home alone

One of the first things to take into consideration when leaving your Yorkie home alone is where they will be kept. If your Yorkshire Terrier is well behaved and you truth them not to get up to no good you can give them the run of the house. Otherwise, you may want to restrict them to a small area. Options for confining your Yorkie include;

Crate confinement

Crating a dog is like a den for them and can make them feel safe. A crate is only really suitable for a short period of time. If you are going to be out for an hour or two putting your Yorkie in a crate is fine. I don’t recommend leaving them in a crate for more than four hours at the most.


Using a playpen is a good way of keeping your dog confined while giving them more space to play. You can even set up their crate in the playpen or attach to the outside of the puppy pen so they have a safe area if they are feeling anxious. For more information on confining a dog in a playpen see here.

Room confinement

You can confine your Yorkshire Terrier to a small pet-safe room. The best places for a confinement area are the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, or an empty spare room. If the selected room doesn’t have a door that can be closed you can use a pet gate to keep your dog in.

 Garage or basement

A garage or basement can be a good space to confine your dog when home alone, but ensure that you remove any potential hazards that may be toxic or cause harm to your dog.

Outside in yard

If you have a fully fenced secure backyard you can keep your Yorkie outside while at work. Leaving a Yorkie outside when you are not there is probably not the best idea. The main concerns would be the weather is too hot or cold, them escaping and the potential of your dog being stolen.

What your Yorkie needs while home alone

Before leaving your Yorkie home alone, ensure they have everything they need. Some of the items your Yorkie may need include;

  • Food and water
  • Bedding and blankets
  • Safe Space (see confining a Yorkie above)
  • Toilet area – potty pads or grass dog toilet
  • Toys and other ways to occupy them.

For more about what a home alone dog needs check out Complete guide to leaving a dog home alone

Teaching a Yorkie to be home alone

All dogs should be able to be alone some of the time. Ideally, it should be something you teach your dog from a puppy. However, you can teach an older dog to like being alone or at least tolerate it.

Start by leaving your dog or puppy in their confined area such as a playpen or selected room for between 30 minutes and an hour each day. They will gradually learn how to be alone and also come to the understanding that you always return.

Make this time alone pleasant for them by ensuring they have everything they need. This will include food, water, and toys. Toys that can occupy them such as a Kong for dogs or a puzzle toy are best. Alternatively, give them a chew toy.

Practice leaving your Yorkie alone when you are there. Even when you are home you can practice alone time for your dog. Put them if their confinement space such as a playpen or selected room and get on with doing your own thing without them around.

Keep leaving and returning low key. For your dog to be calm and comfortable about being home alone they must see that it is not a big deal. When leaving a simple “bye and be good” is sufficient. Making a big fuss with lots of kisses and cuddles will send your dog the wrong message. Dogs are masters at reading our energy and emotions.

Monitoring your Yorkie when home alone

If your Yorkie is going to be alone for an extended period of time it is a good idea to check up on them during the day. There are two ways you can do this.

Arrange visitors

Arrange to have a neighbor, friend or family member pop in for a visit to check how your Yorkshire Terrier is going and to give them some company. Even if you are unable to have somebody check up on your dog it is often a good idea to speak to your neighbors and give them a contact number if there are any concerns.

If you are able to pop in yourself during your lunch break your Yorkie will be pleased to see you. Alternatively, there are many pet minding services that can provide this service for you.

Monitor them with a pet camera

With a pet camera, you can check in with your dog and even have direct interaction with them. Many pet cameras have two communication so you can speak to your dog. They also have a microphone and can send notifications to your phone if your dog is barking. Other dog cameras can provide even more interaction including giving your dog a treat. For the best pet camera for dogs see here.

How to entertain a Yorkie home alone

Provide ambient noise

Leave a radio on to provide background noise for your Yorkie. This not only provides them company but also helps to mask outside noises that may make them excited or scared such as car horns, noisy neighbors and even thunder.

You can even get music that is designed to be calming and soothing for dogs. Alternatively, leave the television on. Some dogs really do enjoy watching television especially if there are dogs for them to watch. If your dog is interested in watching a bit of TV consider leaving it on for them. Maybe a good dog movie or Animal Planet may make good viewing for them.

Puzzle toys

Yorkies are smart and need to have their mind challenged. Interactive puzzle toys are one of the best ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment for your dog.

These generally involve your dog having to work out how to get a treat or food stuffed inside out and can keep your dog busy for a long time. For the best puzzle toys for dogs see here.

Dog enrichment box

To make an enrichment box you simply need a larger cardboard box, some smaller boxes, empty toilet rolls, and newspaper. Put treats the toilet rolls, smaller boxes or wrap in newspaper and fill the box up. You can also put in a chew toy or stuffed Kong so they have something to settle done with when they are finished.

You may have a mess of shredded paper to clean up. But what are a few minutes of tidying for hours of fun and enrichment for your dog?

Watch the video to see how to make an enrichment box for your Yorkie

For more ways to occupy and entertain your dog when home alone see here.

A final tip for leaving a Yorkie home alone

Exercise, both physical and mental is essential for a dog to burn off pent-up energy and to prevent boredom. If your schedule allows take them for a walk before leaving.

This will also give them the opportunity to toilet before being shut up inside for the day. Alternatively, play a game of fetch or similar to help tire them a little before you leave.

Even if you don’t have time to exercise your dog before leaving for the day it is still important that they do get their required exercise. For a guide to exercise for a Yorkie see here.

Also, Yorkshire Terriers love your attention and spending time together. If your Yorkie does spend time home alone, make sure your give them lots of love, cuddles and play when with them.

More Yorkshire Terrier related posts

How to exercise a Yorkie

The best type of toys for Yorkies

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