Bearded Dragons make excellent pet reptiles for beginners! Having three myself, I can tell you that with time and effort, they make uniquely wonderful little companions. It can, however, take a while for your Bearded Dragon to warm up to you. So in this article I’m going to give you some tips on how to get your Bearded Dragon to like you.
If you are a new Bearded Dragon owner, this phase can be a bit discouraging. You have probably seen other Bearded Dragon owners with their beardies and wonder how do they get them to sit on their shoulders without running off or how do they get them to cuddle up next to them and sleep?
You were probably looking forward to chilling with your beardie, maybe watching some TV, but they are having other thoughts. Don’t get discouraged! You are doing everything right, and whether it be a baby Bearded Dragon or you’ve adopted an older mature Bearded Dragon, I can almost guarantee they will warm up to you.
How to get your Bearded Dragon to like you – 8 tips
Bearded Dragons are exotic pets. Unlike cats and dogs who have been bred for thousands of years, Bearded Dragons are still very instinctive creatures and not necessarily quick when it comes to warming up to people. However, there is also a saying Bearded Dragon owners like to use; “Bearded Dragons are the dogs of the reptile world”. This is because they seem to enjoy human companionship, more so than a lot of other reptiles. So I promise there is hope for you and your Bearded Dragon.
I will help you with some tips and tricks to help your dragon feel comfortable and safe with you.
1. Have patience
You can not expect your Bearded Dragon to immediately enjoy your company, although sometimes this will happen, don’t feel bad if it doesn’t. They are scared, and when young, flighty. If you have adopted an older dragon, they sadly might not be used to human interaction. Neglect and improper care can create a very leery dragon.
Give your dragon plenty of space when you first bring them home, let them settle in, and get acquainted with their new environment. This is a crucial step in helping them feel safe and secure with their surroundings. Once they have had a few days to take it all in, they won’t be as fearful, and they will be more willing to be held.
Always be patient with your Bearded Dragon if they are showing signs that they need a break or don’t want to be handled, move slowly, let them have a break. With constant effort, they will come around.
2. Be consistent
Being consistent is one of the most important things you can do to help you form a connection with your Bearded Dragon. You’ll need to introduce yourself to your Bearded Dragon. You can do this by gently petting their head or their back. Let them get used to your presence, then slowly start to hold them, start with a few minutes and see how it goes, slowly add more and more time with each session.
Young Bearded Dragons are naturally fast and curious little critters, you might have a mellow one in every bunch, but most are going to be all over the place, wanting to check things out, hide from what they think are predators. They are, after all young, they’ll need time to adjust to being handled and the normalcy of a home life. Don’t worry! The older they get, the calmer they will get.
Having a routine with your dragon can help this along. Make sure you dedicate so much of your time to your Bearded Dragon daily, and you’ll start to see a BIG improvement.
3. Be slow and gentle
Being slow and gentle is vital if you have a baby but also necessary with an older adopted Bearded Dragon. With a new baby, you are starting from the beginning you don’t want to scare them, and you will want to handle them very carefully, don’t hold them up high in case they jump, you don’t want them to hurt themselves, and beardies do not have a problem jumping! So always watch out for this.
Now, if you have an older Bearded Dragon, you possibly don’t know where they came from, if they were handled very much. What kind of conditions they lived in, how many times they may have already moved from home to home. All of this will affect how your Bearded Dragon reacts to you.
Bearded Dragons have a docile nature, but depending on what your Bearded Dragon has gone through, it may need a little more reassurance that it’s in a good place. So, patience, consistency, being slow and gentle are all essential steps.
With an older Bearded Dragon, it’ll be good to move slowly at first, let them know what you are doing. The slower you are, the less likely they will be to run from you, puff up their beard, hiss, or in some cases even bite. A Bearded Dragon biting is rare, so don’t panic, I’m not trying to scare you, and if your Bearded Dragon hasn’t already done this, they most likely won’t.
After a while of doing this, both young and old will learn you mean them no harm, and they will stop being aggressive and flighty.
4. Don’t be afraid!
Has your Bearded Dragon shown signs of aggressiveness, and now you are afraid to hold them?
Don’t let this stop you! You are a giant to them, it might take a second for them to not be afraid in your presence, but you don’t want them to see a connection between puffing up their beard or hissing at you for you to leave them alone. They may never stop.
Back your hand away but keep it in their tank, maybe slowly try again, or sit there for a little while longer before pulling your hand out all the way out. Doing this will help ensure they don’t think hey, if I do this, they’ll give up, and leave me alone. Bearded Dragons are intelligent, don’t show them you are afraid.
Dragons are not aggressive. So, if they are acting this way, they are frightened, and they will need time to realize you won’t hurt or eat them!
6. Let them explore
Letting your Bearded Dragon explore is very enriching! It gives them time to roam around, get used to their surroundings, and after they release some of that energy, they will be easier to hold.
7. Give them a balanced diet
A healthy dragon is a happy dragon. Always make sure your dragon gets plenty of fruits and veggies with his insects, and don’t forget the vitamins. Calcium is crucial for any Bearded Dragon. A good diet will ensure your dragon isn’t acting aggressive because he’s missing something he or she needs in their diet.
What to feed your Bearded Dragon
A well-balanced Bearded Dragon diet should consist of fruits, veggies, insects for protein, and vitamins like calcium. It’s recommended to feed about 75% vegetables, fruits and greens and the other 25% for insects and worms. Here are just a few examples of things to feed your beardie.
8. Try hand feeding
A great way to connect with your dragon is by getting them to understand that your presence means good things! Once they realize this connection, you’re on track to relaxing on the couch watching your favorite bug documentary together, ok, maybe we won’t go that far! But you know what I mean!
I have found hand-feeding helps create a connection. I love hand feeding my beardie and have always done it. It can be scary if you are worried about getting bit, so rest assured your Bearded Dragon will still bond with you if you aren’t sure about hand-feeding yet.
If you do decide to hand-feed your dragon a little of their meal, you can hold your hand flat like I have done, or you can use tweezers, which takes away almost any chance of getting bit. Just be sure not to overfeed your Bearded Dragon.
Your Bearded Dragon will learn to acknowledge you as a friend, not a foe, and yes! They can recognize you, I hand-feed my beardies, and I’ve had friends try to do it, and my Bearded Dragon will hesitate to take the food because they are like, hey! You don’t smell familiar! It’s a good feeling to bond with your Bearded Dragon.
If you were wondering how to get your Bearded Dragon to like you, I promise after you follow these tips, you will have a great relationship with your Bearded Dragon!