Dogs go for walks on leashes. Sometimes, cat owners even take their felines out for a stroll. But could a reptile such as a leopard gecko go out on a leash?
It may sound outlandish, but it is a possibility. This is thanks to products manufactured, especially for small reptiles, and really helps your leopard gecko get some good enrichment.
Can you walk a leopard gecko on a leash? Yes, leopard geckos can go for a walk on a leash. There are leashes available sized just for a leopard gecko. You just need to find a safe place where you can leash and walk your gecko, such as a patch of grass that is free of pesticides, droppings, and other contaminants.
Aside from going outdoors, leashes can also be used to walk around the house safely. Let’s take a look at leash training for reptiles, a great leash for your leo, and some training tips. Keep reading to learn it all!
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Leash Training A Reptile
One thing to note right off the bat is that it is going to take LOTS of patience and time to teach your gecko how to walk on a leash.
Dogs and even cats have an easier time learning how to do this, and reptiles can be trained to do it too, but some reptiles simply will NOT be OK with being on a leash, despite the owner’s best efforts to get them to walk around on it.
So, keep this in mind: Your leopard gecko is like any other pet in that he or she has their own personality and interests in doing (or not doing) something. Be patient and persistent and understand that your leo may very well never walk on a leash.
However, if your gecko enjoys being handled, take that as a good sign that they are willing to learn this new skill of walking while on a leash.
Determining If Your Leo Can Handle A Leash
Is your leo new to your household, or have you known each other for a while? Before you take on the skill of leash training, it is critical that you have formed a bond with your gecko first.
You cannot bring home a leopard gecko and expect him or her to walk on a leash immediately afterward!
Building a bond with your leo can take time, but it’s really about establishing trust and getting them used to your hands.
You have to make sure they get used to your hands as you clean the habitat and feed/water them, and then as you handle them. Only after they realize you are not a threat could you think about actually placing them on a leash to walk around.
So, don’t rush into things. Yes, taking your gecko outside for sunlight and fresh air will be fun, but it’s going to be all the better if your leo trusts you first.
Leopard geckos are also great for leash training because they are one of the more friendly reptiles you will find out there. Bearded dragons are another species like this, and you can find YouTube videos of each of these reptiles being walked around on special reptile leads.
Just like all other animals, your reptile has a special individual personality. Their desire to be walked on a leash will depend on that, too. Some will be just fine with being put on a leash; others will have absolutely no part of it.
Others may need some time to warm up, and some may not know what to do once they get on the leash. The point is that the experience will not be the same for any two geckos!
Thankfully, leopard geckos are pretty easy-going. Go to any herp get-together or convention, or even perform a YouTube search, and you will see leopard geckos walking around on leashes.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your gecko’s individual personality and the level of trust you have built with your pet.
Make Sure They Are Calm
Part of learning a new skill is being in the right mindset to do it. Reptiles are the same way. If your leopard gecko is feeling skittish, upset, or otherwise stressed, they won’t be able to really learn the act of walking on a leash comfortably.
Listen for hissing, skin color changes, or even biting/hiding when it comes to your leopard gecko. These are all signs that they are feeling stressed out and need to be given a break before training can continue.
Place them back into their habitat gently and allow them to cool off before you continue trying to walk them around.
Proper Training Equipment
We have been using the term “leash” in writing this article, but reptile experts everywhere advise the use of a harness instead of a collar.
This way, if you have to gently pull on the gecko as you walk, tension will be distributed, and you lessen the risk of injury. Plus, reptiles are crafty critters and are good at slipping their collars and scampering away.
Try to find a harness that is easy to adjust, fits snugly around the body of your gecko, and of course, is comfortable.
You can buy a reptile leash on Amazon, or you can have one custom made for your leopard gecko if you prefer.
If you would like to buy one that is pre-made, Fluker’s makes a great little leash that other reptile owners have reviewed favorably.
There are even some customer photos of owners’ reptiles using the leash. It fits snug and comfortable and is very reasonably priced. Click here to see all size options and to buy,
Tips for Leash Training Your Leopard Gecko
Let’s finish this up with some tips on how to keep your gecko motivated and stress-free during leash training.
A. Take It Slow and Smile
Let your gecko get used to everything at his own pace. Put the harness on him and praise him. Then, let him get used to it. Talk to your gecko in a calming and positive tone.
If, at any point, he begins to indicate he isn’t having a good time, carefully take the harness off and let him relax a bit. Keep things positive as a bad association with the harness could ruin your efforts to leash train him entirely.
B. Use Treats
We all love working for a reward, and reptiles are no different. Keep a treat nearby and offer it when your leo does a good job, or even just for trying his hardest. It will keep the interaction positive, and he will come to associate leash training with getting a reward.
C. Keep it Just Between You and Me
Leopard geckos need to get used to walking on a leash in a stress-free environment.
Keep other pets, kids, and people away from your leo while you work together with the leash. Gradually, he can work up to being around others while on the leash, but for the beginning stages, you will want to take it slow.
D. Be Safe
Keep your training to safe places, like your own backyard or other quiet, clean place. Avoid areas with pesticides, animal droppings, or other contaminants.
Walking a leo on a leash is possible- you just have to be patient and willing to work with your reptile. Enjoy the experience!