When most people think about getting a pet, they have to mentally prepare themselves for training their pets to behave in and outside of the house, to sleep through the night, and to go to the bathroom in the right place. It also happens if you have a pet lizard.
When you get a pet reptile, most of this does not apply to you. They will most likely spend a lot of their day in their tanks, they won’t go outside, and you don’t have to worry about when they are going to sleep.
However, you may want to spend some time training a reptile like a lizard – especially if you want to have a close relationship with them or you want to make giving them their medicine easier.
In today’s article, we are going to look at whether you can train your lizard and how to do it. Here are 6 things you should know before you train your pet lizard
Step #1 – Can You Train a Lizard? Setting Expectations
Before you start training your lizard, you need to set realistic expectations for yourself and your pet.
You must be aware that you are not going to be able to teach your lizard tricks and some behaviors – as you would with a cat or a dog. Be prepared for this.
You will be able to teach your lizard to stand still while you feed them or get them used to being held and cuddled.
Set yourself a reasonable bar and do not expect too much from your pet.
Step #2 – Know the Difference between Complete Obedience and Improved Behavior
Following on from step #1, you should be prepared to improve the way your lizard behaves in certain situations. But you should not expect them to show obedience towards you.
Unlike dogs, lizards are not wired to think or behave as a member of a pack. There is nothing in their genes that will make them want to take orders from someone else.
It is completely possible for you to train your lizard to be friendly and tame but lizards can be temperamental.
Step #3 – Start in a Small Location
When you first bring your lizard home and start to train them you do not want to put them in a big enclosure.
Instead, you should put them in a small enclosure with a log to hide under and a water bowl. You do not want them to have too many places to hide when you try to pick them up. You also do not want to have to chase them around a large enclosure.
A small and simple enclosure will make the whole process a lot less stressful for both you and the lizard.
You can learn more about building a suitable enclosure for your reptile at Reptile How.
Step #4 – Prepare Rewards for Them
You will want to use positive reinforcement with your lizard when you are training them. The best way to do this is to give them tasty snacks when they exhibit the kind of behavior you want them to.
If the former owner of your lizard has told you what food they like you can prepare that. Otherwise, you will need to do some research into the favorite treats of the type of lizard you own.
You will want to prepare the treats in advance; you want to reward the good behavior as soon as it happens.
Step #5 – Make the Experience as Fun As Possible For Your Lizard
When you are holding and training your lizard make sure you are giving them an experience that they want to repeat in the future.
For example, when you are holding them, make sure that you are not causing them any pain and rub their forehead to help them calm down. When they stay calm reward them by giving them some food and then placing them back in their enclosure.
As time goes on, you can allow them to play with their favorite toys when they are out with you.
#6 – Repeat with Just One Person
Trying to get a lizard used to multiple people at once is only going to slow down the process and make your lizard more stressed.
So, we recommend that you make one person entirely responsible for training the lizard. Once it gets used to that person it will have an easier time becoming comfortable around everyone else.
Don’t move too fast with your lizard. Repeat the same process with them 2-3 times a day for a few weeks before you move on to something new. Repetition is the key to good results.
We know that training your pet lizard might require good patience and consistency, but who wouldn’t love to see their tiny little dragon breathe fire for the first time?
Oh wait, it is not about that? Oops.