Taming the Bearded Dragon Pet
The bearded dragon has a long history of making good pets. Most people hear about them being very calm and friendly and they think that they would be a fun and interesting pet. For the most part, the bearded dragon is calm and friendly, but for many bearded dragons, this only comes after they are taught that handling is safe. The bearded dragon has to gain your respect and be reassured that you are safe.
Many bearded dragons may exhibit aggression to their new handlers at first. There are several ways to overcome this aggressive behaviour. One way is to turn their aggression in to hunger. Whenever they are being aggressive towards you, then you will want to withhold food for a day or so. The next time that the bearded dragon gets fed, you will be able to gain the bearded dragon’s respect.
If you always have greens or fruit when you put your hands in the bearded dragon’s cage, the bearded dragon will begin to associate you with food. While the bearded dragon is basking in his habitat, they will often open their mouths gapingly. Placing food in the bearded dragon’s mouth will help the bearded dragon associate your hands with food.
Bribery also works well with the bearded dragon. They love waxworms because the worms are high in fat. These worms are the equivalent of candy to the bearded dragon and although they should be fed sparingly, the bearded dragon will always enjoy them. Using the waxworms as treats and as encouragement for the bearded dragon will help them to associate you with goodness.
Once the bearded dragon allows you to handle them. They will also enjoy being rubbed on the head. Rubbing the bearded dragon’s head will help the bearded dragon to relax and they generally close their eyes and calm down.
Try picking up the baby bearded dragon by the tail. Then lay the bearded dragon in your hand and hold him down with your thumb in a position so that his mouth can’t reach your hands. Hold him securely, yet gently. They may squirm, but you don’t want to put them down while they are squirming. You are basically training your bearded dragon at this point to understand that as long as they are squirming you are going to hold them. When they stop squirming, then you may put them down. If you put them down while they are squirming, then you are only showing them that they can squirm to get put down.
Beaded dragons must also feel secure. Baby dragons may be easily intimidated, especially by other dragons. If the baby is housed with larger dragons, you will want to separate him or her. You may also need to put up a visual barrier so that the baby cannot see the other dragons. This is especially true if you have tanks that are placed end to end. Placing a towel or a piece of cardboard between the tanks will prevent the baby from seeing the other dragons. Make sure that you do not smell threatening yourself. Wash your hands and arms with a non-scented soap before and after handling different bearded dragons or your bearded dragon.
While holding your bearded dragon, ensure that their legs are held up as well. Bearded dragons are very concerned about their little legs and holding their whole body and legs together will give them a sense of security. Begin holding by keeping your hands inside the cage, this will help to make sure that if your bearded dragon slips out of your grasp, then you won’t have to scare them by chasing them around the room. They are also fearful of anything that comes down from above them. Approach the bearded dragon at a horizontal direction and scoop them up rather than reach down a grab. They are naturally inclined to bit anything that comes down from above them.
The key to successfully handling your bearded dragon is time and patience. You will want to consistently pick them up and hand feed them frequently. The more you talk and expose the bearded dragon to you and others, the less frightened they will be. Every time you feed them, attempt to rub their head or back gently. Take baby steps in the handling process and you will slowly gain ground with your baby bearded dragon. Do not push them too much at once and they will slowly come around to the
idea that you are not so bad after all.
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