Bearded Dragons

Can Bearded Dragons Learn Tricks? – Tips, Tricks & Tools

Bearded dragons popularity is forever growing, and whilst they are great pets to own, many owner want to know, can bearded dragons learn tricks? Well, this really depends on what you call a trick, and how much spare time you have to train your new pet. Bearded dragons are natural explorers, and whilst they are very intelligent, they do lack the ability to learn tricks like a dog.

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A bearded dragon will mostly likely never learn to fetch a ball, or roll over. These are activities that they would never usually do, even in the wild. In the wild dogs would chase things, they would also roll onto their back if they had an itch. So they are functions that dogs are already capable of doing. Unfortunately bearded dragons don’t have these functions programmed into them.

None the less you can train a bearded dragon. Whether or not you call them tricks is up to you. But either way it’s still pretty cool. Bearded dragons can learn their name, so when you call them, they return. They can also be taught to wave with a lot of commitment, but this isn’t recommended and I’ll explain why later on. So can bearded dragons learn tricks? Yes, I’d say so. Now, let’s dive into the teaching stage.

Can Bearded Dragons Learn Their Name

Like most animals that are trained, the incentive for learning is food or treats. First of all you will need to know exactly what your bearded dragons favourite food is. Something they simply can not resist. This will become their treat and their reason to obey you. For this to work you will need to only feed them the treats when be taught. Otherwise they will feel it is just another part of their diet. 

You’ll need a secure room in your house where you can put your bearded dragon on the floor without any worry of them disappearing. Bearded dragons love to explore, so please don’t think this process is going to be easy. 

Stage 1

Once in the secure room, put your bearded dragon on the floor. Let them roam around for a little bit before starting the teaching process. You want them to be fully concentrated on you, so if they are still exploring the floor and wandering around, it’s still not the right time to start.

Wait patiently until your dragon dragon starts to slow. As they slow, this mens they are becoming comfortable in the surrounding environment. What you’ll need to do from here is to pick up your dragon and hold them for a little while, so they are also comfortable with your presence. 

After 5 minutes or so, you can offer them a treat. But remember to say their name when you are doing so. Just 1 treat for the time being.

Once they have finished eating their treat, place them on the floor in front of you, roughly about 1 metre away. It really doesn’t matter if they are facing you or not, but if they are, this may help the process.

Hold another treat in your hand and bring it down to ground level. Whilst saying your pets name, gently tap the floor. This will also give your bearded dragon a familiar action which they can see, not just hear. 

Your dragons curiosity will take over and they will become curious to what I going on. They may not respond straight away, but soon enough they will realise a treat is being offered to them.

Stage 2

Repeat this process ever day for the next couple of weeks. Once you feel your bearded dragon has got the concept of coming to you for a treat, start to increase the distance to put between yourself and your dragon.

Finally, after you believe that they have pretty much learnt to come to you for a treat, now you’ll want to add an obstacle, by this I mean some sort of partition. You will need and object which you can place between yourself and your dragon. Something that is big enough so they won’t be able to see you behind it. 

The idea here is that now your bearded dragon has to find you. And the only way they can do that is if they follow the sound of your voice calling their name. Again, once there is an obstacle in the way, they are likely to be confused to start off with. But with the familiar sound of its name being called, it won’t be long before your dragon appears from behind the obstacle. Give them a treat for their hard work.

Stage 3

From here you are nearly complete. The only other task you will need to do, is try this same process with a different obstacle, and try it in different locations. This will eradicate the factor of your dragon becoming familiar with a particular surrounding in relation to getting a treat.

Time Scale

Every bearded dragon will learn at a different speed. So be patient if your bearded dragon is struggling to pick it up. Remember that this is out of the ordinary for a bearded dragon, and is completely unnatural concept for them to understand. They will pick it up eventually, once they are completely accepting to your presence.

The Bearded Dragon Wave

The barded dragon wave is a cool concept. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our pet bearded dragons greeted us with a wave whenever we came int the room. Some people have actually successfully taught their bearded dragon to wave, and in all honesty it is pretty amazing. Just the concept that you can actually teach these reptile anything is pretty cool. However I do not believe that teaching a bearded dragon to wave is a good idea, simply due to the natural reasons behind why bearded dragons “Wave”.

We as humans think of a wave as a social acceptance action. A wave to us is in no means threatening, and has no malice behind it. However this is not the case in the bearded dragon world. In fact it is the complete opposite.

Why do they wave…

Bearded dragons do a waving motion when they are feeling threatened or stressed. Dragons are known to wave to other bearded dragons who they are fearful of, and this can relate further to humans, specially from captive dragons. Bigger bearded dragons are seen as a threat to smaller dragons, so they wave to show submission. They want the bigger bearded dragon to know they are of no threat to its safety, nor are they a threat to its territory and they do not want to fight. 

Some bearded dragon owners may be confused by this if they only have one dragon as a pet. Who may they be waving at?

It’s commonly been thought that bearded dragons sometime see humans as a threat, and as a result wave at them like they would larger bearded dragons. But this has recently be dismissed due to the reason that bearded dragons become affectionate towards their owners and feel comfortable in their company.

So why would they continue to wave you ask?

Bearded dragons enclosures have lights inside them. They also have glass on the outside. When light hits glass what do you get… Reflections. Thats right, it’s thought that bearded dragons wave at their reflections. When they are looking out of their enclosure and waving, researchers now believe they are waving at their reflection. 

This is most common as juveniles and their reflection seems to be growing. Bearded dragons don’t know what their reflections look like, so seeing this is thought to scare them a little. They will commonly wave at themselves to show they are no threat, and obviously get the same response from their reflection.

Seeing a bearded dragon wave is a tell tale sign they are a little stressed or in some kind of discomfort with their surrounding. Maybe you have another pet which is causing your dragon some stress, a cat or dog, which commonly comes to check out the enclosure. So teaching them this as a trick will be confusing for the owner. They won’t know when they are scared or doing a trick. 

Getting this mixed up could cause even more stress for the bearded dragon and can contribute to lack of appetite, and weight loss.

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