Bearded dragons are typically gentle creatures, rarely known to hurt anyone except the bugs they eat. Sometimes, though, when they’re scared or stressed, they can get unruly or even aggressive against their owners.
Bearded dragons should not be disciplined. Studies have shown that bearded dragons are able to learn through imitation and positive reinforcement. Disciplining a bearded dragon could result in fear and aggression.
There are better ways to get your bearded dragon to behave. This article will explain how to calm down your bearded dragon and how to keep it calm with some training.
What To Do Instead Of Disciplining A Bearded Dragon
Studies have shown that bearded dragons are able to learn through imitation. While we don’t really know much about how smart bearded dragons truly are, it seems that they are able to learn through positive reinforcement.
So it is best to show your bearded dragon a positive result if he or she performs an action you would like to see.
If you would do the opposite and discipline your bearded dragon when he or she does something you do not want, your bearded dragon might associate you with fear or even pain and will never trust you.
Let’s say you would like your bearded dragon to become calmer during handling.
Place your hand inside the vivarium and offer a treat with the other hand so that your bearded dragon needs to step on your hand to get the treat.
In case your bearded dragon is a bit wild, you should use these tweezers to offer the treat so that your bearded dragon doesn’t bite you by accident.
If your bearded steps on your hand to get the treat, give it to your beardie immediately.
This way, your bearded dragon will learn that something good is happening if it steps on your hand, climbs on your arm, and so on.
How To Train A Bearded Dragon
Maybe your beardie keeps being aggressive or seems constantly stressed. You can take some small actions every day to make sure your beardie stays calm at home.
- Speak to them softly and slowly. Loud voices might only stress out your beardie more.
- Minimize handling. If your beardie is acting aggressively and you are not handling it, leave it alone in its vivarium for a while. Limit handling your beardie to 10 minutes a day until you’re sure it is more used to you.
- Separate from your other pets. If you have other lizards, it’s best to keep an aggressive and stressed beardie away from them, as beardies can be nasty bullies. In fact, bearded dragons should not be kept together.
- Offer food from your hand. Beardies will see you as a source of food, and providing live food, such as mealworms, will also help distract them from whatever is stressing them.
- Minimize sensory overload. Beardies can get stressed when exposed to bright lights and loud noises, as well as a lot of people. If you can’t do much to control these factors, you can drape your Beardy’s vivarium with a towel or blanket to get the light or people out of view.
- Get your beardie used to you – or, rather, your smell. Beardies have a strong sense of smell and use it to familiarize themselves with their environment.
Training your beardie will take time, so keep all of these tasks in mind every day, and eventually, you’ll have a calmer and “tame” beardie, even while it’s being handled and when its out of its vivarium.
Bearded dragons are rather intelligent creatures, capable of social learning, solving problems and recognizing their owners.
Once your bearded dragon stays calm when out of its cage, you can even try training it to play games, come to you on command, or even go potty in appropriate places.
Rather than disciplining your bearded dragon, getting your beardie to feel calm and relaxed around you is the best way to make sure your beardie behaves. Just like with other animals, a stressful environment can lead to aggressive behavior.