[How To]Training Your Hamster to Play Dead

Training Your Hamster to Play Dead

Here are nine effective DIY techniques to train your hamster in the art of feigning death. These small pets need careful handling and attention.

Want to teach your hamster the ‘play dead’ trick? Spend time with your little friend, instruct them with simple commands, reward them with their preferred treats, and consistently practice. Typically, it takes about 6 to 7 weeks for hamsters to master this trick.

Syrian hamsters primarily know this skill. However, if you own a different breed, don’t fret; several approaches can assist them in mastering this impressive trick.

Training Your Hamster to Play Dead

Training Your Hamster to Play Dead

The term ‘play dead’ refers to an animal pretending to be deceased. An analogy is playing dead when you meet a bear by lying still, pretending to be dead.

Various animals, including fire-bellied toads, hognose snakes, hamsters, and American opossums, adopt this tactic when threatened. Hamsters, in particular, look adorable when they’re active.

Strengthen Your Bond with Your Hamster

To effectively teach your hamster various tricks, a strong bond between you two is essential. Allocate three to four hours daily to interact and bond with your pet.

Once you’ve established this connection, teaching commands and tricks like standing, running, sleeping, jumping, sitting, and circling becomes easier.

Dedicate Time to Your Pet

Spending time with your pet helps them recognize your voice. Regularly take them out of their cage and hold them, ensuring their comfort.

If your hamster attempts to escape, return them to their cage and offer a chocolate treat, but limit it to four small pieces. You can use dried mealworms, which they enjoy, to encourage positive behavior.

Persist with this routine. If it’s not initially successful, take a break and retry after a few days. Gradually, your hamster will acclimatize to your presence. Additionally, gently stroke their body with two fingers to build trust.

Introduce Basic Commands

Before teaching the ‘play dead’ command, start with simpler instructions like “stand,” “jump,” and “circle.” Hamsters, differing from rats, may require 20-25 days to grasp these basics. Focus on teaching these commands sequentially.

Standup Command

Begin with the ‘stand up’ command. Use your hamster’s favorite treat, hold it above their head, and instruct them to stand. Repeat this thrice daily, rewarding them immediately upon success.

If they don’t stand, they might not be hungry, so try again later. Vary their treats to maintain their interest, and be patient as it could take several days to learn this command.

Jump Command

Once your hamster masters standing, proceed to the ‘jump’ command. Hold the treat slightly higher and encourage them to jump. You should do this when they’re hungry, repeating it twice daily.

If they don’t jump, try again later with different snacks. It generally takes 8-10 days to learn this, as hamsters are quite active.

Circle Command

The ‘circle’ command is both fun and essential. Ensure your hamster is in a good mood and hungry. Use their favorite snack and guide them in a circular motion with the treat, rewarding them immediately upon completion. This command typically requires 3-4 days to master.

Lay Command

The ‘lay’ command is crucial. Make sure your hamster is alert and comfortable with you. Get their attention, gently stroke their back and head, then show them their favorite snack.

Encourage them to follow the treat to the ground, repeating this until they lay down. Gradually introduce the command ‘lay down’ during this process.

Play Dead Command

After teaching your hamster basic commands, like ‘lay down,’ you can start training them to ‘play dead.’ First, tell them to lay down and then give them a reward. Then, gently roll them onto their side and instruct ‘play dead.’ Be cautious and gentle, especially when guiding their head down.

If your hamster seems uncomfortable, be patient; they’ll adjust over time. Reward them after each session.

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