Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Hamsters > Do Hamsters Recognize Their Name? The Surprising Answer!

Do Hamsters Recognize Their Name? The Surprising Answer!

little dwarf hamster on womans hands

Owning a pet hamster is one of life’s greatest joys. These pint-sized bundles of cuteness are adorable, loving, entertaining, and inexpensive to maintain. They also take up minimal space and don’t require constant attention like most other pets.

One of the best aspects of having a pet hamster is naming them. Rewarding your hamster with a fitting name is the least you can do to solidify your newly found relationship. But once you do, will the hamster recognize it?

Yes, hamsters do recognize their name, but not right away. Hamsters are intelligent creatures and, over time, can learn to recognize their names as well as their owners’ voices. If your hamster isn’t responding to its name, you probably haven’t trained it to. Below is everything you need to know about teaching hamsters to recognize their name and yours too!


Can I Teach My Hamster to Learn Its Name?

Yes, you can teach your hamster to learn its name, but it takes patience and effort to do so. The best way to teach your hamster its name is through treats. Here’s how you do it.

Stick a treat near the hamster’s rat cage and call out its name slowly. Don’t shout, or you might startle it. Instead, use a gentle and soothing voice to beckon the rodent over. You might have to do it over and over for stubborn ones.

Repeat this every day until the hamster becomes aware of its name. That way, the next time you call its name, it should come running even without a treat. You’ll have to be patient with your little fuzzball, but all that waiting will pay off eventually.

small hamster on the floor
Image By: TETU222, Shutterstock

How Long Does It Take for a Hamster to Learn Its Name

It’s hard to pin down the exact time it takes for a hamster to learn its name because intelligence and obedience vary from one hamster to the next. However, it will take the average hamster about one or two weeks to learn and remember its name.

Teaching your hamster its name without a treat takes longer for it to learn its name. Without an incentive, the hamster won’t have much to look forward to hence the delay. If your hamster takes too long to learn its name, you can always call in an animal behavioral expert to help.

New hamsters also take longer to learn their names because they first have to complete an acclimatization period before they’re comfortable in their new environment. Only then can they start learning and responding to their names.

hamster on bedding
Image By: metalboy25, Pixabay

How Can I Tell Whether My Hamster Is Learning Its Name?

There are a few telltale signs that your hamster is starting to recognize its name. They include the following.

  • It Runs to You – The most obvious sign that your hamster recognizes its name is when it comes to you when you call its name. To be certain, call your hamster’s name without a treat and see if it comes to you. Sometimes they’re only after the delicious treat in your hand.
  • Obeys Commands When You Use Its Name – Does your hamster respond to commands like “stand” or “rollover” when you follow them with its name? If it does, it probably recognizes its name and the commands. This is especially true if it obeys these commands consistently.
  • Vocalizations – A hamster that squeaks or chatters on hearing its name associates the sound with itself. This vocalization is your hamster’s way of saying “yes” or responding to your call. It means that the hamster recognizes its name and responds accordingly.
hamster hiding under its bedding
Image Credit: Werner Sigg, Shutterstock

How to Build a Solid Bond With Your Hamster

To build a solid pet-owner bond, it is important to teach your hamster its name. And It’d be hard to do so if your hamster runs away to hide whenever it sees you. Here’s how you can build a strong bond with your hamster to achieve your bottom line.

  • Make It Accustomed to Your Voice – Hamsters make up for their limited vision with an acute sense of hearing. Familiarizing your hamster with your voice teaches it that there’s nothing to be scared of. Talk to your rat every day in a gentle voice until it gets used to it. Avoid being too loud, or you might scare the poor guy.
  • Introduce It to Your Friends and Family – Once the hamster gets used to your voice, you can introduce it to friends and family. Exposure to other humans helps it understand the human species better and learn that they’re not a threat. Again, make everyone speak softly so you don’t make the hamster nervous.
  • Get It Used to Your Scent – Hamsters also have a strong sense of smell to sniff out food and predators before they get too close. Your pet hamster should get used to your scent so it doesn’t associate it with anything threatening. Get your hand as close as possible to your hamster so it can get a good whiff of it. Repeat this every day until it learns your scent. With time, you’ll notice it moving closer and closer to your hands. This is a sign that it trusts you.

You can begin training your hamster to learn its name once you build a strong bond with it. A little gentle petting while calling its name helps accelerate the learning process. However, avoid any sudden movements since hamsters startle easily. Once it learns its name, you can up the ante and teach it a trick or two.

hamster eating inside his cage
Image By: Raquel Vizcaino, Shutterstock

The 4 Mistakes to Avoid While Teaching Your Hamster Its Name

Some mistakes could set you many steps back when teaching your hamster its name. Here are some mistakes to avoid.

1. Getting Frustrated

It’s easy to get frustrated when your hamster refuses to grasp its name despite numerous training sessions. Hamsters aren’t as intelligent as humans or other animals. Sometimes, they’re a little bit nervous.

Remember to be patient and keep at it for the best results. Your hamster might take a few days, weeks, or even months to learn its name. Whenever you feel frustrated, take a brisk walk outside to calm down and get right back to the training.

2. Inconsistency

Consistency is key when teaching your hamster its name. Hamsters sit 4th on the list of top 10 animals with the worst memories on the planet. Therefore, having weekly training sessions won’t do much for it.

Instead, have at least a single training every day to achieve your bottom line. Inconsistent training sessions are a waste of time.

Syrian hamster peeking
Image By: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

3. Mixing Name Training With Other Training Sessions

If you want to teach your hamster its name, stick to only that. Mixing it with other training sessions may confuse the little critter. Focus first on teaching its name before you can move to teach it tricks and other commands.

4. Failing to Reward Your Hamster

Training sessions without a reward are likely to hit a dead end. Be sure you treat your hamster to a little reward every time it responds to its name. This keeps the training sessions exciting and mentally stimulates them to learn faster.

You can offer it a treat either before or after the training session. It’s okay to stop the rewards once the training concludes.

syrian hamster playing
Image By: Johannes Menge, Shutterstock


Are There Any Benefits to Hamsters Learning Their Names?

Hamsters learning their names may seem like something fun and cute for your hamsters. But did you know that there are a few benefits to doing so? Some of these include.

Improves the Relationship Between You and Your Hamster

Nothing says “strong pet-owner bond” than calling your hamster by its name and the hamster responding. The bond between you and your hamster grows stronger every time you call it by its name, and it responds. Not to mention the numerous training sessions where the hamster gets familiar with your voice, scent, and presence. This love and trust will help reduce the hamsters’ stress levels.

hamster wheel
Image By: Katinka Bakos, Shutterstock

Reduces Shyness

It’s not uncommon for hamsters to hide or curl themselves up in the corner of their cages because of shyness. Training your hamster to recognize its name will help reduce its shyness, leading to a happy and fun-loving hamster that enjoys your company.

Makes It Easier to Learn Tricks and Commands

Teaching your hamster new tricks and commands will be much easier once it has a firm grasp of its name. That way, you can get it to stand, sit, or roll over to impress your guests.

divider-hamsterFinal Thoughts

Hamsters recognize their names, but only if you train them to. How long it takes for yours to do so depends on the training approach you take. Remember, patience and consistency are crucial to teaching your hamster to recognize its name. Stick to it, and your hamster will respond to its name in no time. If it doesn’t, then maybe a professional can help.

Featured Image Credit: Victor FlowerFly, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets