Keeping your dog's body clean, comfortable and healthy requires grooming. Dog grooming includes providing dogs with baths, nail and dental care, and hair brushing and combing. Some breeds such as the Yorkshire terrier require daily brushing and time-consuming grooming. Hair clipping is necessary so the dog's non-shedding hair does not grow too long. The American Kennel Club describes Yorkshire terriers or Yorkies as energetic, determined, brave and curious. These feisty little dogs adapt well to many types of homes and lifestyles, as long as they experience frequent, loving interaction with their humans.
Place a towel, dog shampoo and conditioner, spray detangler, a brush and a comb on the counter next to the sink where you will bathe your Yorkie. Once your dog is in the sink, you should not move away or even turn from the tiny dog. Yorkies move quickly, and if your dog jumps out of the sink or off the counter she can be seriously injured by the fall.
Secure a filter over the sink’s drain so your Yorkie’s tiny paw cannot get stuck in an opening. Put a non-skid rubber mat or a towel in the sink for your dog to stand on. This will prevent her from losing her footing on the sink’s slippery surface and becoming frightened or hurt.
Spray some detangler for pets onto your dog’s coat. Untangle your Yorkie’s hair by using your fingers to gently separate the tangles. Then, comb or brush the rest of each tangle or mat starting at the ends of the hair, then carefully moving toward the dog’s skin. Do this before shampooing, because soap and water may increase mats and tangles and make undoing them more difficult.
Wet your dog’s fur with warm water. Avoid getting water or soap into her eyes, ears, nose or mouth. Apply a mild, tearless dog shampoo and massage it gently into her coat. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America recommends bathing your Yorkie weekly or twice a month. However, frequent bathing may eliminate oils from your dog's skin and hair, so use a conditioner that will help replenish and maintain the coat's natural oils.
Rinse thoroughly and re-rinse until you cannot see or feel any soap. Clean your dog’s face and inside her ears with a small, damp sponge or wash cloth. Check the genitalia and anal area to be sure they are clean, rinsed and rash-free.
Apply a light spray mist of dog conditioner onto your Yorkshire terrier’s clean fur. Conditioners moisturize and help loosen tangles or mats from a Yorkie’s silky hair, and this will make brushing and combing her hair easier for both of you. Before drying, brush through her coat to eliminate any new or remaining tangles.
Wrap your wet dog in a towel so she does not become chilled after her bath. If you dry a Yorkie by rubbing her coat, you risk creating new tangles, so blot the fur with a towel to absorb excess water. Use a dryer made especially for dogs because it provides lower heat settings than hair dryers for people. A Yorkie has only a single layer of hair, and her skin is sensitive, so use the dryer’s lowest temperature setting.
Brush your companion’s teeth thoroughly and regularly with soft pet toothbrush or finger brush and dog toothpaste. Cleaning her teeth should be a regular part of grooming your dog. The Yorkshire terrier and other toy breeds tend to have dental problems, so be vigilant about brushing and checking your companion’s teeth and gums. Because some Yorkshire terriers form a lot of tartar on their teeth, they are prone to premature tooth loss, so take her for professional dental check-ups and cleaning.
Keep your dog’s ears clean, but never use cotton swabs. As part of the grooming process, examine her ears by looking inside for any redness or discharge and smelling them for any unpleasant odor, as this may be a sign of infection and require a visit to your veterinarian. Use a small fine-toothed comb to groom the hair on and around your Yorkie's ears.
Keep the fur between your dog's toes short. This is important because burrs and sharp grass seeds will stick to long toe fur and lead to serious problems. Having your veterinarian or a groomer trim your dog's toenails is safer than attempting to do it yourself and risk injuries that can be very painful for your dog.
Choose from a few different Yorkshire terrier pet cuts, such as the puppy cut, layered clip, Schnauzer clip or Westie trim, borrowed from a common style for the West Highland white terrier. Many pet Yorkies keep their puppy cut, which is more manageable than fancy show cuts. Bringing your dog to a professional groomer who knows about Yorkshire terrier clips is the best and safest option for having your dog's hair cut.
Consult a groomer or someone who shows Yorkies, or enroll in a class to learn how to use grooming tools for safe fur trimming. Unless you have been trained or have experience grooming dogs, you should probably wait before buying electric hair clippers or combs. If not used properly, electric trimmers can irritate your dog's skin and cause nicks and cuts on your Yorkie's body.
Brush your dog's hair regularly and gently with a metal pin brush that has no little plastic tips. Comb her coat with a long-toothed metal comb, an ideal tool for working through tangles or mats.
Keep long hair out of your Yorkie’s eyes by gathering the hair up to the top of her head and securing it with a rubber band that will not break the delicate strands of hair. Be very careful not to pull her hair too tight. This topknot style is often used with more formal show cuts. The Yorkshire terrier show coat should reach to the ground and must be brushed regularly to maintain its long, glossy and silky appearance.
Make grooming a happy experience for your dog starting when she is a puppy. Be careful and patient, and reward her with affection and special treats throughout each grooming session. If she seems uncomfortable or agitated, stop for a while to give her and yourself a break.