Yorkshire Terriers are affectionate canines. They want to be with their owners all the time, which is the hallmark of a companion dog. However, this clingy nature will also make them agitated at night. It’s either you let them hijack your bed, or you’ll endure a whole night of whining and barking. The good news is that there are ways on how to get a Yorkie to sleep through night so you, too, can have a restful slumber.
Take note that each Yorkie is different. Some won’t mind sleeping in their own corner, while others will stay anxious all night. The key here is understanding your dog’s personality and considering the tips I discussed below.
Why is my Yorkie not sleeping at night?
Dogs aren’t invincible to sleep disorders. Yorkies can also suffer from sleeplessness due to a variety of reasons. The following are some of the most common sleep conditions in canines that your Yorkshire Terrier may experience:
- Insomnia. This is rare among dogs, but it can still happen on some occasions as a secondary effect of another health problem. For example, arthritic Yorkies will suffer from insomnia due to their aching joints. The likes of kidney problems, diabetes, stress, and parasitic infections will also keep your pet awake at night.
- Anxiety. Yorkies, especially puppies, are prone to separation anxiety. They long for the presence of their owners at night, which will lead to whining, barking, and destructive behavior. This can be corrected through training, which must be done as early as possible.
- Excess energy. Did your Yorkie sleep all day? If so, expect it to be fully awake at night. For an active breed like Yorkshire Terriers, you have to pay attention to exercise. Letting them sit around with excess energy will take its toll on your own sleep.
- Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea usually occurs in brachycephalic canines like Yorkshire Terriers. This condition occurs when the dog’s airway collapses temporarily for 10 to 20 seconds. This will jolt your pet awake multiple times at night. Over time, this will impact your pet’s sleep quality.
- REM Behavior Disorder. Have you ever seen your Yorkie paddling its feet while sleeping as if chasing a squirrel? This is called REM Behavior Disorder. The canine’s temporary paralysis becomes disrupted, so it reenacts its dreams. This can turn disastrous, like falling on the stairs or bumping into sharp objects. Like sleep apnea, REM Behavior Disorder will also awaken your pet.
- Cognitive decline. Senior dogs suffer from cognitive decline as they enter their golden years. As the canine ages, it gets confused easily. This happens more at night when no one is around to provide comfort and attention.
How to get a Yorkie to sleep through the night
The truth is that dogs have shorter REM sleep than humans. REM sleep is a sleep cycle where dreams occur. Therefore, it’s the deepest period of a living thing’s slumber.
For dogs, REM sleep occurs 20 minutes after they fall asleep, and it lasts for three minutes. Meanwhile, humans experience REM sleep 90 minutes into dozing off, which will last for 10 minutes.
So what is the connection of REM sleep to keeping your Yorkie asleep? Well, after a sleep cycle ends, there’s a high chance that your pooch will be awakened.
Being awakened multiple times at night is normal for canines, but the process of putting them back to sleep is the challenge. For that part, the following are the steps you can take:
1. Rule out health problems
If your Yorkie is unusually awake at night, the first thing to do is bring your dog to the vet for proper examination. The veterinarian will check for physical ailments that might be keeping your pet awake at night. The vet can also diagnose suspected sleep apnea.
If your dog is diagnosed with a health problem, it’s crucial to follow the necessary treatments. This will help restore your pet’s nighttime slumber while also letting you sleep peacefully.
2. Go for the last potty break of the day
You should also ensure that your Yorkie is taken out for its last potty break of the night. I usually schedule this late at night, so my dog is less likely to have to eliminate in the wee hours.
For example, if your bedtime is at 10:30 pm, you must schedule your Yorkie’s last potty break of the day at 10 pm. That way, your pooch will be done just in time for you to hop to bed.
Aside from that, you should also schedule a potty break early in the morning. By sticking to this routine, your pet will get used to the process. It will sleep soundly at night then awaken in the morning, ready to go out.
Also, you should start reducing your dog’s water intake hours before bedtime. This way, there wouldn’t be emergency potty trips in the middle of the night.
3. Crate training is the answer
One of the most effective ways to keep your Yorkie asleep at night is by crate training it. The concept behind this is mimicking canines’ habitat in the wild.
Wild dogs seek cramped spaces in caves, bushes, and rocks to hide from predators while they sleep. In the domesticated setting, the small space of a dog crate mimics that same feeling.
Take note that crate training takes a lot of patience. Yorkies aren’t the easiest to train since they are quite energetic and stubborn.
With this, you should always start with familiarization and building your dog’s trust over the crate. Once your dog realizes that the crate isn’t harmful, you can start locking the crate door.
Moreover, crate training and potty training go hand in hand. It prevents your Yorkie from having accidents at home while keeping it asleep as much as possible.
4. Tuck your used shirt inside the crate
If your Yorkie is suffering from separation anxiety, your used shirt will help a lot. You can use it as a cover for your dog’s bed. Your scent stuck on the shirt will give a sense of comfort to the canine since it feels like you’re around.
You can also give your Yorkie a safety blanket for added comfort. And if your pet tends to be anxious, you can drape a towel over the crate.
5. Keep the sleeping area quiet
Keeping your dog’s sleeping area quiet and calm will help the pooch have better sleep. Remember that dogs have a strong sense of hearing. Therefore, even slight noise can keep them awake at night.
You should place your Yorkie’s bed on a corner with minimal foot traffic. It should also be away from doors that will alert your pooch in case someone opens it.
Moreover, you should also watch over the mood you project at night. Dogs can pick up our vibe, which will reflect on their behavior. If you want a Yorkie that sleeps through the night, you should keep the evening hours calm and relaxed.
6. Burn your Yorkie’s energy
Your Yorkie won’t stay awake at night if it doesn’t have the energy to do so. So if you notice that your pet is active and energetic an hour before bedtime, you should consider giving in a short playtime.
Brain games will also help tire out your hyper dog. However, you should do this a least 30 minutes before the scheduled bedtime. This will give your dog a short period to tone down and slide into sleep. By the time you finish playtime, your Yorkie will be tired and ready to sleep.
It’s also helpful to keep your Yorkie active during the day. Around 30 minutes of exercise would help keep the doggo stimulated. Also, 10-minute playtime sessions repeated throughout the day will help prepare your pet for bedtime.
7. Provide soothing scents
Soothing scents help a lot in getting a puppy to sleep all night. You can purchase appeasing pheromones, which mimic the scent of the mother dog. This will help a nervous pup relax and fall asleep.
You can try brands like Adaptil, Sentry, and Comfort Zone. They make pheromone diffusers, which you can place on your pet’s sleeping area.
Take note that each dog has varying responses to these pheromones. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to try it on your Yorkie, especially if your efforts aren’t working at this point.
8. Play calming sounds
Aside from calming scents, you can also play soothing music for your dog. There are many compiled audio clips online that you can access for free. Again, each dog is different, and so is its reaction to various sounds.
You can start with calming classical music. This helps a lot in toning down an energetic pup and sending it to sleep.
Moreover, the sound you’re playing will serve as white noise, so your dog won’t feel alone. It’s effective for canines suffering from anxiety.
9. Stick to a strict bedtime schedule
Another important thing you should observe is a strict bedtime schedule. Canines, including Yorkies, are beings of habit. They thrive on a routine, so you should always send them to bed at a specific time. You should also follow potty break schedules religiously.
After a few weeks, your dog will pick up the pace. It will soon have better, and longer sleep at night without bothering you.
10. Don’t give in to whining
Lastly, don’t give in every single time your Yorkie will cry at night. By doing so, you’re teaching your dog that crying will get him what he wants. It takes a lot of patience, but many dogs will soon realize that whining is just a waste of time.
Also, you shouldn’t call your dog’s name or shout back as this is an inadvertent reward for crying at night. You should avoid anything that will reinforce the behavior.
But before you do this, make sure that your dog isn’t sick or suffering from extreme discomfort. It’s a sin to crate your dog without taking it for one last potty break or not taking it out early.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often do Yorkie puppies sleep?
A: Yorkshire Terrier puppies spend 15 to 20 hours a day sleeping. They need a lot of rest to grow and rest their small bodies. As your dog grows older, its sleeping duration will shorten and will match a human’s typical 8-hour shut-eye.
Q: Why do Yorkies sleep under the covers?
A: Yorkies love the comfort and security of sleeping under the covers. It’s the natural instinct of dogs to hide from potential predators in the wild. At home, the weight and warmth of your sheets offer the sense of security your Yorkie is looking for.
Q: Should I let my Yorkie sleep on my bed?
A: Many pet owners let their dogs sleep on their beds. While this will stop nighttime whining, it’s not a healthy practice. Soon enough, your dog will disrupt your sleep cycle. It will also reinforce negative behavior in the canine.
Q: Do dogs ever sleep through the night?
A: Dogs sleep more than humans, but not all at once. Your dog’s sleep will be segmented where it alternates between sleeping and waking a few times during the night. This is completely normal due to the canines’ REM cycle.
Q: Do dogs know when humans are sleeping?
A: Experts suggest that the lack of movement and chemical changes in our body signal dogs that we are actually asleep. Still, these findings beg for more study. But in general, we can say that dogs can sense a change in activity on their owners during bedtime.
Q: Do Yorkies need a lot of attention?
A: Yorkshire Terriers require a lot of attention. Otherwise, they will become anxious and whiny. They require a companion to stay happy, not to mention that their silky fur takes time to groom. It’s one of the aspects aspiring owners should consider before getting this breed.
Knowing how to get a Yorkie to sleep through night will also save you from sleeplessness. It’s important to use the right approach and to train your pooch to become independent. The process requires patience and time, but it will pay off. While Yorkies can be stubborn, they will yield to proper training.