Can You Train A Hamster?

With enough time and enough patience, hamsters can become loving, gentle pets. All it takes is some time and effort and your hamster will be well on its way to becoming your new best friend. 

It’s possible to train a hamster – they are social creatures who, similar to dogs, thrive off of attention and human interaction. They can make great pets, especially for young children. Like any animal, though, hamsters need to be given time to develop a network of trust first. Hamsters, in general, won’t let you hold them straight away – although that does depend on the personality of the individual hamster. By and large, hamsters are animals of trust and rapport, and it’s up to you to help develop and strengthen that.

Can You Train a Hamster

Why do Hamsters Bite?

Hamsters bite out of fear, not out of antagonism. If you’re buying a slightly older hamster who hasn’t had much time around humans, it will most likely bite when you try to pick it up. However, do not interpret this as an act of malice – but rather one of defense.  The key here is persistence – allow father time to do the hard work for you as you care for, and tend to, your new hamster as it needs to know humans are there as an ally and caregiver rather than potential predators. As it begins to understand this, your hamster will cease to bite as you pick it up. Give it time! How to train a hamster not to bite is merely an act of time, encouragement, and persistence. 

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Developing a Bond With Your Hamster

As I mentioned before, hamsters need to feel safe before they can fully express themselves around humans. Remember, millions of years of evolution and life in the wild have shaped the psyche of the hamster – it thinks everything bigger than it (and that’s a lot of creatures!) is a predator. It has no idea that humans think they’re cute and make great pets – so give your hamster the benefit of the doubt.

When selecting a hamster, the younger it is the easier it is to train. Older hamsters may be stubborn and uncooperative. An age of around 5-6 weeks old is ideal as you can mold the mind and personality of the hamster from there.

Do not shout at your hamster under any circumstances. This is completely improper conduct and you will scare your new pet senseless if you raise your voice. The key is to talk in a gentle, friendly manner similar to how you would address a puppy or kitten. The key is to talk in a gentle, friendly manner similar to how you would address a puppy or kitten. Be sure not to play loud music in the vicinity of the hamster, too. Not only will this scare the hamster, but it may also cause it to bite you when you pick it up due to its distress. Speak softly around it frequently and the hamster will, over time, get used to your voice. 

Find Incentives

The reward system is prominent in the brains of all mammals and the hamster is no exception. Using treats will help your hamster behave, show affection, and even perform tricks over time (if you’re really patient!). It will begin to understand that good behavior is rewarded and negative behavior is not – and that playtime always ends with a delicious snack. 

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Finding incentives for your hamster is one of the most important things you can do to help it become closer to you.

That’s Great, But What Do Hamsters Eat?

Hamsters aren’t too fussy when it comes to their diets and will most likely eat anything they can get their paws on. This means you must be wise and selective when it comes to picking out their food. Aim to give your hamster plenty of vitamins and minerals through fruits and vegetables – particularly greens. Pears, cabbage, lettuce, and carrots are all good ideas. Sunflower seeds are a particular delicacy and make great treats to incentivize your hamster with. There are plenty of specialized hamster foods already on the market – all containing nutrients – but fresh food is a great alternative if you’re low on money or supplies. It’s advisable to supplement your hamster’s diet with a little bit of protein such as nuts or boiled eggs, but remember only a tiny amount is needed.

Teaching Your Hamster to do Tricks

Once you’ve mastered the basics and have built a baseline relationship with your hamster, you can try to teach it some tricks. Getting your hamster to stand upright is one of the most basic, and popular, tricks you can teach it. Grab one of your hamster’s treats and stand over it whilst dangling the snack. Once it has come over to you speak to your hamster, gently, by saying ‘stand’ or ‘stand up’ in a warm and friendly tone. It may take several attempts, and you may get bored, but over time it will work. Make sure to only give the hamster its treat once it has completed your request – this will help hardwire the incentive into its brain, and it will come to see that standing up is always rewarded with a delicious snack. 

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Try to be considerate with your hamster and do not spend hours upon hours teaching it tricks. This is unfair and your hamster will get bored and may even get irritable. Doing the same task all day, every day is miserable for everybody and sometimes it is best to let your hamster rest up for a while after you attempt to teach it more tricks.  So yes – overall, hamsters can be trained. In fact, they can be trained fairly highly considering how small their brains are. They can make terrific pets for people of all age groups and do not need to be constantly monitored as other pets do.  Treat your hamster with love and respect, and it will giving it back to you in no time.