Bearded dragons are interesting reptiles. They have bodies of reptilian armor and heads with “dragon scales” that tend to puff up when a threat is perceived. These little dragons hail from Australia but are revered as beloved household pets around the world. However, when it comes to bonding with a bearded dragon, the process can be a challenge. Bonding with a bearded dragon is much different than bonding with mammal companion animals, like cats and dogs.
Fortunately, it is not impossible to bond with your bearded dragon. There are a few things that you can do to create a close relationship that both of you will value for a lifetime. So, how can you bond with your bearded dragon? Using the following step-by-step guide should help get the job done!
Be Committed and Have Patience
Bonding with your bearded dragon will take time and patience. You must not give up, even if your pet is continuing to run away or hide in a corner every time you interact with them. Some people report that it took them 3 or 4 months to get their pet bearded dragons to trust and interact with them. You can expect to spend at least half an hour each day with your bearded dragon to gain their trust. Once you gain your pet’s trust, you can hang out with your pet anytime you want to, so long as they are not sleeping. So, it is important to stay committed and patient.
Make Bathing and Handling a Priority
Bearded dragons like to be bathed in lukewarm water, and if you start to bathe your pet while they are still babies, they will learn to love the experience by the time they are fully grown. Handling your bearded dragon should also be made a priority on a daily basis. If you skip even one day of holding your bearded dragon, you could end up back where you started.
You should choose whether you will handle or bathe your pet bearded dragon every single day. If you choose to bathe them, take them into a quiet bathroom where they will be alone with you and feel safe from perceived threats. Fill the sink about a quarter of the way with lukewarm water and put your pet in the water. Lightly pet their back and watch them swim for a while before drying them off and putting them back in their habitat.
If you choose to handle your pet, pick them up with a cloth and lightly wrap them so they feel comforted and protected. Take them to a quiet room free of other people and other animals. Lightly pet your bearded dragon and talk to them like you would a family member. After a few weeks, your pet will be ready for handling from other household members and eventually, outside family members and friends.
Another great way to bond with your pet bearded dragon is to lure and reward them with treats throughout the day. Whenever you see movement from your bearded dragon, pull a treat out, and while holding it with your fingertips, slowly move it around their habitat until they come out to eat it. Once they get close, put the treat down and slowly move to pet them. If they run away from you, do not feel defeated. Keep practicing until your pet stays still while eating their treat and letting you pet them. After some time, they should allow you to pick them up and handle them regularly.
These are surefire ways to bond with your pet bearded dragon. However, if you are not committed to the process or if you give up prematurely, you may never create the bond that you are looking for. If you find that your efforts are not creating the results that you expect, contact an expert reptile handler who can provide you with personal training classes and expert advice.
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Featured Image Credit: Kevin Khoo, Shutterstock