Exotic Pet Training and Socialization: Tips for Building a Strong Bond with Your Bird, Reptile, or Small Mammal
In contrast with dogs and cats, birds, lizards, and other exotic pets can have less obvious behavioral needs. Building a bond with an exotic pet is gratifying, and identifying their unique preferences can help you get closer to this goal. At Animal Care Unlimited, we believe it’s important to build a bond with every pet—including the exotic ones! Here are some tips on getting closer to your scaly friends:
Likes and Dislikes
It can take time to get to know any newly adopted pet, and exotic animals can be especially quiet at first. This means that you might not immediately recognize or understand their likes and dislikes. As such, we recommend slowly becoming acquainted with your exotic pet’s special personality and behavioral patterns. They will begin to trust you and your efforts in getting to know them if they don’t feel rushed or forced into any interaction.
Bridging the Gap
Generally speaking, most pets are food motivated. Once you learn exactly what your exotic pet values the most, you can add these special treats to their behavior/socialization routines. For instance, to train your exotic pet to relax when you visit their enclosure, offer them their favorite high-value treat. Over time, they will connect your presence and attention with something they like, and this positive association will facilitate building a bond with an exotic pet.
Keeping It Interesting
Building a bond with an exotic pet can be established by short stints of careful handling at certain times of the day. Provided they do not feel frightened or threatened by your hands or physical attention, being handled can bring about feelings of well-being, trust, and confidence. Paying close attention to any signs of stress or anxiety can ensure that future attempts are met with openness instead of dread or fear.
Your steady presence at the side of their enclosure, habitat, or cage can go a long way toward building a bond with an exotic pet and helps them get used to you. Over time, increase your attention with petting and reaching out for them.
Once they show acceptance of your attention, invite them to make new friends with other family members, friends, and even other household pets. Always supervise their interactions and end on a positive note or before they show discomfort or unease.
Building a Bond With an Exotic Pet
Once they are familiar with you and their immediate surroundings, you can gradually increase their exposure to different parts of the home. If they need a fenced-in area, set one up in different rooms and safely carry them there. Baby gates work really well!
Your exotic pet may embrace the chance to learn new skills. You can develop their confidence by creating mazes or other mental/physical challenges. The key to this endeavor is consistency; if this is not added to their daily routine, an exotic pet may lose interest in certain skill-building activities.
The Future Is Bright
Building a bond with an exotic pet is one of life’s greatest joys. If you have further questions about behavior, appearance, and overall health please give us a call at (614) 766-2317. Our staff at Animal Care Unlimited is always happy to assist you and look forward to meeting your furry, feathered, or scaled friend.