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However, for learning to take place, training must be done. And this brings us to the topical question-can you train a bearded dragon?
Yes, bearded dragons are trainable. And like most pets, the best way to train a beardie is through repetition, consistency, and having a great deal of patience. You can train your bearded dragon to come to you when you call them, to use a litter box, how to wave, play, just to mention but a few. Nonetheless, the training process can take weeks or even months.
Before you start training your bearded dragon, ensure that you get them to trust you. This not only eliminates stress but also hastens the learning process. Moreover, reptile keepers who have formed a strong bond with their beardies often have an easy time training their pets.
How to Bond with Your Bearded Dragon?
If you are looking to bond with your bearded dragon, the first thing that you should do is to provide them with a safe environment. Besides, there are several ways through which you can form meaningful bonds with your beardie:
#1. Feed Your Bearded Dragon by Hand
This is probably the most effective technique since it allows the bearded dragon to form an association between its owner and the food.
Aside from that, hand-feeding a bearded dragon will get them accustomed to your scent, thus creating trust.
#2. Regular Handling
Through regular handling, you can eliminate the fear reaction in bearded dragons. You should be gentle when handling your bearded dragon to avoid causing discomfort.
Beardies should be picked up from the underbelly and all limbs, including the tail, should be supported. With time, your beardie will learn to trust you. However, you should limit handling if your bearded dragon shows signs of distress.
#3. Take Your Bearded Dragon for a Walk
As earlier mentioned, bearded dragons are curious by nature. They need space to roam and explore their environment. Walking a bearded dragon is very easy, especially if you have a spacious lawn.
For safety purposes, ensure that you have your bearded dragon on a leash when outdoors. The Adjustable Bearded Dragon Leash is a favorite among beardie keepers due to its adorable design..
#4. Occasional Baths
Although bearded dragons are adapted to living in arid regions, they don’t mind taking a dip once in a while. Giving baths in lukewarm water can help you gain your bearded dragon’s trust.
But that is not all; it supports good health through the prevention of impaction and common skin complications.
#5. Be Consistent
Consistency is essential for the bond-forming process because beardies can only learn by associating events.
If you are consistent, the beardie will pair two or more scenarios and link them to you. As such, you should see to it that your bearded dragon only associates you with good things.
Why You Should Train Your Bearded Dragon?
When you think of training your bearded dragon, the first thing that is likely to come to your mind is how you can teach them cool tricks. In as much as this may be fun, you should consider training your beardie how to perform practical and meaningful skills.
Moreover, training offers mental stimulation, thereby preventing boredom and stress. The latter can cause a wide range of health problems in beardies and should, therefore, be avoided at all costs. Also, training will keep your bearded dragon physically active.
Through training, you can spend more time with your bearded dragon. And since they are often skittish, this will help them feel comfortable around you. In addition to this, a trained bearded dragon is more predictable and equally social.
With proper training, you won’t have a difficult time taking care of your beardie. For example, potty training can prevent the beardie from scattering their poop all over the place. This will simplify your work when cleaning the bearded dragon’s enclosure.
As you can see, training can offer a long list of benefits to you and your beardie. You just need to be sure about what you want your beardie to learn.
How to Train Your Bearded Dragon to Come To You?
Training your beardie to come to you when you call their name is one of the best things that you can do for your pet reptile. If you are familiar with bearded dragon behavior, then you must be aware that they can easily get spooked.
When scared, a bearded dragon can hide in hard-to-reach spots. Consequently, retrieving your bearded dragon may not be as easy. However, if you teach them to approach you on command, your beardie will come to you running.
Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective training methods that can help you train your beardie. This is whereby you encourage your bearded dragon to behave in a certain way by offering rewards. You can provide your beardie its favorite treat when it exhibits the desired behavior.
This technique can yield great results during feeding time. The goal is to train your beardie to associate you with the food being offered. When feeding your beardie dragon, call their name and immediately offer the treat.
You should only give them one treat at a time so that they can stay focused throughout training. Once they have eaten, you can repeat the process. This should be done for up to a week to allow the beardie to associate the command with the treat.
The training period may, however, vary from one beardie to another. When done repeatedly, your beardie will learn that each time it comes to you it is fed. As such, they will be more likely to approach you when they hear you call their name.
Can You Train a Bearded Dragon to Use a Litter Box?
You can train your bearded dragon to do a multitude of things, including how to use a litter box. Plus, proper hygiene is of paramount importance when it comes to keeping bearded dragons and other household pets.
That being said, it is your responsibility to ensure that your beardie poops in the right spot. This process is commonly known as potty training and can be very effective when done correctly. Potty training a bearded dragon is a complex process and also requires a lot of time.
Nonetheless, that does not mean that it is impossible. Besides, beardies often poop in the same spot. All you have to do is to identify the area frequented and you will be good to go. Below are some of the commonly used potty training steps:
Step 1: Place a Paper Towel on the Bearded Dragon’s Favorite Pooping Spot
After identifying your beardie’s potty spot, you should place a paper towel on that spot then wait for the beardie to poop. This may take a while since bearded dragons don’t poop on a daily basis.
You should allow your bearded dragon to go on the paper towel for about one week before proceeding to step two.
Step 2: Add a Substrate
Without removing the paper towel, apply a thin layer of substrate in the potty spot and wait. Ensure that you go for pet-friendly substrates to avoid impaction and other health complications.
Once your bearded dragon has pooped, add another layer of substrate. This should be done consistently for up to a week.
Step 3: Introduce the Litter Box
The third and last step is more of a repetition of the first two steps. Place a litter box of your choosing in the same spot as you did with the paper towel and substrate.
Start with the paper towel followed by the substrate. After your bearded dragon has gotten used to the litter box, you should remove the paper towel. You should replace the litter over time to maintain good hygiene.
Note: Potty training can help prevent the spread of gastrointestinal parasites and other bearded dragon diseases. This particularly applies to contagious infections that can be spread through fecal matter.
How to Train a Bearded Dragon to Wave?
Waving is a common behavior in bearded dragons. Beardies wave when there is another bearded dragon in their environment. According to reptile experts, bearded dragons wave to show submission.
Those who have observed this behavior many at times assume that their beardie is saying ‘hello’ to them. However, this is never the case in most scenarios since beardies wave when they are startled. Many pet parents claim that female bearded dragons are more likely to wave than their male counterparts.
Also, some bearded dragons may wave at anything larger than them. This is often witnessed in young beardies that are still growing. Nevertheless, the behavior can also occur in adult bearded dragons.
You can safely train your bearded dragon to wave by wiggling your finger in front of it repeatedly. This may or may not work because bearded dragons have different ways of perceiving threats. As such, what one beardie considers as a threat may not intimidate another beardie.
On the whole, you don’t need to teach your bearded dragon how to wave. There are other fun ways that you can play with your pet beardie.
How to Train a Bearded Dragon to Be Held?
Handling is one of the ways through which you can bond with your bearded dragon. The way you handle your beardie will determine whether they will trust you in the long run. You need to be extra careful when handling bearded dragons that are new to their environment.
They will be less likely to view you as a threat when you handle them with care. If your bearded dragon trusts you, they’ll crawl onto the palm of your hand on their own. This is one of the easiest tricks that you can train your bearded dragon since it solely depends on trust.
You should start by petting the bearded dragon before handling them. To pick a beardie from its enclosure, gently slide your hand underneath their chest region. Using your other hand, support their tail and hind legs.
Spending quality time with your beardie can help you get started. You can as well play with your bearded dragon during the training process as this will make them more active. But most importantly, ensure that you handle your beardie correctly.
Training sessions for handling a bearded dragon should start at an early age. This is because young beardies are more receptive than adult bearded dragons. Only handle your bearded dragon when they are in a good mood. If the beardie shows little or no interest in being held, you should let them be.
How to Train a Bearded Dragon to Sit On Your Shoulder?
If your beardie is okay sitting on your shoulder for an extended duration, it means they trust you. With that being said, the only way that you can train your bearded dragon to sit on your shoulder is by bonding with them.
The bonding tips that we discussed earlier can help you win your bearded dragon’s trust. You can use two or more techniques at first, depending on how your beardie reacts to the training. However, you should avoid training methods that stress your bearded dragon.
If you do everything correctly, your beardie will run up your arm and onto your shoulder. In fact, they may even climb on your back. You should try as much as you can to stay still to prevent your bearded dragon from losing its grip.
Training a Bearded Dragon Easy
You can train your bearded dragon to do lots of things. However, you should keep in mind that beardies are not as efficient as dogs when it comes to learning new skills. They require your patience and commitment.
Additionally, you need to be consistent for training to be successful. You should start by teaching your beardie simple tricks before training the more complex skills. Bearded dragons can only learn new tricks when they trust you.