3) Lack of mental stimulation
- Dogs led far less complicated lives than we do, however it's a good idea to not be too compliance in regard to providing your Yorkie with an interesting life. Can a dog just sit around all day? Sure, he can, however he would much rather have set times of fun, interactive play and some challenges as well. Simply put, dogs can become quite bored with a boring life and when they relive this repetition for weeks or even months, it can most certainly lead to moderate to severe bad moods.
How to help:
First, you'll want to look at your Yorkshire Terrier's overall schedule and it can be helpful to jot this down so that you can really see the big picture.
Write down feeding times, when baths are given, when grooming
such as brushing and nail trimming is done, the times that walks are taken and any other tasks that would be part of a normal week. You may then see that your Yorkie has quite a bit of down time.
While you do not need to fill your dog's day with excitement around the clock, some scheduled times of 'canine fun' can be just the thing to bring a sullen dog out of his funk and feeling better.
An activity that dogs find enjoyable and that allows dogs to use their incredible senses is to seek out food via scent. (A new toy that has one swipe of peanut butter on it can also be used once the dog learns to search on command).
Whether done indoor or outside (outdoors is more challenging and dogs love this), foraging for a treat gives a Yorkie a nice break from monotony and gives the dog a sense of accomplishment (and a yummy reward) when done.
Be sure to offer lots of excited encouragement if your Yorkie is not used to being asked to find something and as he gets better at the game, keep it challenging by making the treat/toy harder to find.
Another strategy is to play puzzle games together. These are canine maze games meant for owner and dog to interact for a goal to be reached. Via levers pushed with paws or buttons pressed with the nose, hidden treats are released when a dog learns what to do with his owner's help.
4) The winter blues
- Canines can suffer from SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) just as we can. It is a type of seasonal depression that creeps in as the days become shorter and the dog's body has less exposure to sunlight hours. This affects the production of both melatonin and serotonin which play a role in mood, sleep
and appetite. An interesting study done in the UK showed that 40% of dogs appear moodier in the winter months and more than 50% slept more than warmer months.
Since many owners also walk their dogs less during cold and/or stormy weather, if a Yorkshire Terrier seems to get moody each winter, this is often a 'double whammy' of a problem.
How to help:
If your Yorkie shows quite a bit of moodiness in the winter, there are a few things that you can do as well as prepare yourself to start doing them again the following autumn to try and help prevent this sort of seasonal mood disorder.
Increased exposure to sunlight is the main treatment and this can involve more walks and/or outings which may need to be timed differently than normal to be outdoors when the sun is brightest as well as more lighting inside.
Owners should access if they themselves are dressing appropriately to comfortably stay outside with their dogs and many Yorkies do best when a lined vest or warm sweater is placed on them before heading out into temperatures that are 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. For frozen surfaces, protect the paws with a quality paw balm.
Encouraging your dog to rest or play near a window does aide to a small degree and for pets that have quite severe winter blues, speaking to your Yorkie's veterinarian regarding the use of a certified light box for 15 to 30 minutes per day may be needed to help a dog emerge from this sort of mood disorder since lamps and other indoor lighting do very little to help with this issue.