Are you an invested bearded dragon owner?
Do you want to train your bearded dragon to do some different things?
One of the easiest things to train a bearded dragon is to come to you at a signal.
The steps aren’t complicated or time-consuming to do.
It’s a blast doing so.
Following some step-by-step instructions will make it easier on you, though.
Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.
Read on to learn how to train a bearded dragon to come to you.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need
In this section, we cover the items you’ll need to train your bearded dragon.
Find these items at your local pet store or on Amazon often for a better deal.
Prey – The most important thing you need is some prey food.
Worms are much easier for this than insects because they don’t move as much on you, and you’ll be handling them a lot.
We don’t usually recommend overfeeding on fatty prey like Superworms, but these work great for training a bearded dragon because they ADORE the taste.
Treats – Treats are the next step after prey food.
While some consider worms and fatty insects to be like treats (and they are), I prefer to see treats in a healthier light for my bearded dragon and use these veggie treats.
And that’s it!
Step By Step Instructions On How To Train A Bearded Dragon To Come To You
In this section, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to train your beardie.
Keep in mind, these steps will get the job done, but how it takes depends on the following factors:
- How often you practice
- How consistently you practice
- The age of your beardy
- The “smarts” of your beardy
- How much you’ve bonded
Note: You may find it challenging to train baby bearded dragons (0-6 months), but after this stage, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you follow the steps.
#1 Bond With Your Bearded Dragon
Skip this step if you’ve already spent time bonding with your bearded dragon.
If you haven’t, check out these quick tips:
- Feed your dragon from your hand
- Handle your dragon
- Bathe your beardy
- Play and explore out of the tank with your bearded dragon
For more details, check out the complete guide on how to bond with your bearded dragon.
Bonding is critical to this whole process.
Without trust, your bearded dragon won’t want to come to you or climb on you.
Think about it: You’re an eyes-forward predator more than 20 times the size they are.
Would you want to go right up to something much bigger than you?
And trust is how you know your bearded dragon likes you.
Read our post on how to know if your bearded dragon likes you for some other behaviors that signal this.
#2 Pick Training Times
Decide on a specific training time at least once per day.
This time should not be after they’ve eaten.
Your goal should be to have them hungry they want food and are willing to come to you to get it.
This can’t be done if they’re full and all they want to do is bask.
This being said, don’t neglect meals to get them hungrier.
Keep them on the same feeding schedule; just add a training schedule beforehand.
#3 Lure The Beardy To You With Prey
Remove your bearded dragon from its enclosure and place it on a table or ground near you.
Keep all distractions away from the reptile.
Holding the prey/worm in your hand, get the beardy’s attention by holding the food where it can see and smell it, but not eat it.
Once the reptile sees the food, it’ll begin to move towards it.
Bring your hand back closer to your body and hold the food above where you want the dragon to go (for some, this is in their hand or on their knees).
When, and only when, the lizard goes where you want it to go, let it eat the food.
#4 Repeat Consistently
Repeat this process for about 10 minutes at a time or if the bearded dragon stops eating.
Then, you need to repeat these steps for several days again.
Doing these practices every day in a row is best, but as long as you don’t wait more than two days between practices, you should be OK.
#5 Lure With Treats
After you’ve practiced until your bearded dragon very comfortably and quickly comes to you with prey, it’s time to switch to the healthier but less tasty treats.
Don’t be surprised if the bearded dragon is more reluctant after being fed the fatty prey food.
Give it time, and he’ll come with this as well.
Repeat this step as you did with the prey food.
#6 Reduce Treats
Now, it’s time to reduce the treats you’re giving.
There is no fool-proof formula, but this is the one I prefer to use:
- Give treats every 4 out of 5 times for one practice
- Give treats every 2 out of 5 times for one practice
- Give treats every 1 out of 5 times for one practice
- Give treats periodically only
Pro-tip: At this point, start to vary your practice times.
Do it at different times a day for shorter periods.
#7 Remove Treats
Now, you should be able to remove treats altogether.
When you want your bearded dragon to come to you, all you need to do is make the shape with your hands and motion you did when feeding him.
Your bearded dragon has learned to associate your scent, hand, and motions with food and positive experiences through this process.
When it senses you and your hand, it should come running!
You’ve now trained your bearded dragon to come!
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We hope you enjoyed learning how to train your bearded dragon to come to you.
At its core, this task is all about building trust and signal association.
Given enough time, consistent practice, and patience, you should have no problems getting this done and impressing your friends with your intelligent little guy!