Hamster Trick Training
Teaching your hamster tricks it a lot of fun and will surprise and amuse your friends and family. What can a Hamster Learn? You might be surprised! It really is true. If you spend the time training your hamster in a fair and fun way, you truly can teach it to do tricks and tasks.
Yes, our hamster Coal is really wearing that little coat and hat, it is not photo shopped.
It may take longer to train your hamster to jump through a hoop then it would to train a dog the same trick, but have fun, take your time and bring treats. Be fair and just to your animals while training and have fun. Teach your hamster one hamster trick at a time. After the hamster understands the first trick you can then begin to train another trick. The great thing is once your hamster has learned to learn it will catch on quicker each task and or trick you teach them to perform.
Repetition and training tactics are the key. Try to show the hamster how to do the trick the same way each time. Try to hold your hands and your face the same each time you teach the same trick. You may have to show the hamster 3 times or 10 times or 20 times, but when the light bulb goes off in the hamster's head, it will remember the task and repeat it each time you ask. Well...that is if you work with the animal often and fairly.
Bring treats, very small treats when training your hamster. A small treat to a hamster would be like 1/3 of a piece of cereal. If you don't want to feed the hamster out of your hand, use a spoon. A plastic spoon is perfect. Later you can put sticky food items on the other end and the hamster will follow it. Put a very small sliver of yoggie treat or the like in the spoon and offer it to the hamster.
Don't loose your patience, just relax and enjoy the fun time spent with your pet. If you have two hamsters you are training at the same time (one at a time but teaching the same LOL) Let the other one watch, you may be surprised what they learn from watching. By the same token, if you have a hamster that knows a trick let the new comer to trick training watch the already trained hamster perform.
Train at your own risk. We are giving ideas and telling you what has worked for us. You and you alone are responsible for the training you do with your own animals. Put safety above all.
MORE TRICKS, PHOTOS AND IDEAS TO COME
Before you train your hamster to do tricks there is basic training you need to teach them. Some, not many, come out of the box, the box they came home in, hand tame and loving to be held by humans. Far more need to be worked with so that a person can hold them in their hands without the hamster wanting to get away from that new owner. In fact a new hamster should just be left in it's cage for the first few days to a week of coming to the new home. Only put your hand in the cage to feed and water. If the hamster comes over to your hand as you put feed in it's bowl you might hold a treat between your fingers and see if it will take the treat from you. It might take the hamster a couple of days to a week just to learn to take the treat from your hand.
I am asked all the time, how long will it take to be able to hold my hamster and have it calm? How ever long it takes to teach your own hamster, that is how long this will take. Every hamster, every hamster is different.
Hand taming can be a very exciting time for you. You will watch this little creature trust you more and more each day.
Hamsters sleep days and are up nights. Most are up in the late afternoon or early evening and that is when you should start working with them. You need to know that hamsters have an instinct to bite if they are approached by anything that comes down on them like a claw. They see this as a predator that will kill and eat them. It is best to wake your hamster, if it is sleeping, and let it come to your open hand at the cage door with a treat setting in it. If you have taught your new hamster to take a treat from your hand when you feed (see above) your hand setting their with a treat in it will be a welcomed site for many hamsters.
If you hare having trouble getting your hamster out of the cage try the cup or bowl method. Use a tea cup or a bowl to pick up the NOT SLEEPING, did not just wake up, hamster. Talk to the hamster and call it by name, move slowly (even though it might move quickly). Hold the cup or bowl low over the hamster's cage or your bed so that if it would come out of the bowl it would not fall far.
Once the hamster is out of the cage and in your hand or the cup give it a treat. If you don't want to feed the hamster out of your hand, use a spoon. A plastic spoon is perfect. Later you can put sticky food items on the other end and the hamster will follow it. Put a very small sliver of yoggie treat or the like in the spoon and offer it to the hamster. Then just put the hamster back in the cage for a minute or two and do the same again. more to come
COMING WHEN CALLED BY NAME
Each and every time you approach your hamster's cage to feed, or to get the hamster out, say it's name. Say it's name when you give it a treat. The idea of training is just like training a puppy it's name, when it hears it's name, good things happen. After a couple of weeks set the hamster on the bed or table top right in front of you (and be ready in case it heads at fast speeds the other direction) and call it's name. When it comes your way say "gooooooood, name" (not the word name, the name you have given the hamster). Drag the word gooooood out and say this is a soft praiseful manner. Give the hamster a small treat when it comes to you.
The first you need a small hoop. Use a hoop according to the size of your pet. For a Hamster a hoop that has a 4" diameter, or close to that size, will work great. Other ideas would be an embroidery hoop, the outer rim of an ice cream tub top, a bucket cut apart and covered with fabric, a (thin) wreath, just make sure that there are no sharp edges and if you will have an audience cover the hoop to make it attractive with pretty duct tape (it now comes in many colors) or fabric. I bought these stars at a dept store for .25. They, I believe, are bracelets for Christmas time, but will work well for a hamster, mouse or gerbil to learn to jump through.
To teach Jumping Through a Hoop, hold the hoop in front of the animal. You are holding the hoop so that it touches the ground or bottom of the cage. Call the animal's name while holding a treat in your other hand on the far side of the hoop to entice the animal to step forward to receive the treat. Here is where you might need three hands. If the animal does not come forward, or if it moves away from the hoop, give the animal a cupped hand nudge, or easy push, through the hoop. Say with a calm voice "good". Treat the animal with a food item it enjoys. Now, repeat this step a few times each section over and over until the animal comes through the hoop on it's own and is happy doing it.
After the animal is comfortable coming thru the hoop on it's own, lift the hoop up just a bit. Each time the animal has completed the task, say "good" and give a very small treat. Let the animal know it has done what it was asked to do and it has pleased you.
What you are teaching here is for the hamster to walk in a small circle or walk a spin where it is standing on command and hand cue.more to come
WEARING A HAT AN OR CLOTHING
If your hamster is used to being handled and has a good temperament, this is not hard to teach at all. Make sure the items fit the hamster. They need to be snug, but not tight. Just take your time, don't cram the outfit on the hamster. Put it on gently as you talk softly to your hamster in a happy voice.
Give your hamster a cookie right away, as soon as you put the hat or the coat on. Take his focus off he sweater and put it on fun things. Only leave the item on for a minute at a time at first, make a big fuss over him when it wears the item. You might have to just hold the hamster in your hand the first and second time it wears an outfit, then after that, on another time, set them down, but give them a treat right away. It does not take long for them to just wear the clothes while walking around or having their photos taken.
STANDING ON IT'S HIND LEGS
This is a fun little trick that almost anyone can teach a hamster in a very short time. If your hamster takes treats from your had, you are three steps in front of the beginning of this trick.
If your hamster will take treats from your hand, have tiny treats ready. Set your hamster on a table or desk top with nothing on that area to distract it while you train. Sit at the table and keep the hamster right in front of you.
Show the hamster the item you have and say "Sit Up" or "Stand" or whatever voice/word cue you are going to use. As the hamster starts to investigate the item, raise the item above the hamster's head. When the hamster goes to follow the item, stop and praise or treat the hamster.
As you repeat this trick, raise the item a little more each time. Hamsters are pretty smart and some will even stand on the first go round. Each time your hamster performs the correct behavior say "goooood", drag the word out.
If you practice this with your hamster a couple of times a day, it will not be long before you can tell your hamster to "Sit Up" and it will, just have that praise and treat ready.
Please remember that this is not easy to teach and can be quite cruel if not approached correctly. The harness and leash made for hamsters is NOT for swinging the hamster around or teasing the hamster in any way. Taking hamsters for walks outdoors is also a bad idea. Cat, dogs, and hawks can be on your pet before you even see them coming.
The harness you choose needs to fit your hamster snugly. It also needs to be very secure. Vecro will probably be your best be on a closure since a buckle could harm your little hamster's spine. The leash should be more of a cord then a leash. Something light weight that does NOT have a large heavy snap attached to the end. Never use a collar on a hamster and never just tie a thread or such around their little necks. Hamsters body types will not allow a collar to work in the same way it might for a cat and or dog.
TEACHING ANY PET TO OPEN A WRAPPED GIFT
You can teach your pet, any pet, to open a gift in a few easy steps....
Start with a small box. A mouse will need a smaller box then a GP and a GP will need a smaller box then a dog. Use a box that does not have a lid about the same size as your pets food bowl.
Set a treat in the box next to their food dish when feeding. When they take the treat out of the box, say "gooooood" and remove the box. Repeat twice a day for a few days.
In a few days, after the animal has caught on to retrieving the treat from the box, wrap the box, but not the top, with colorful paper. Repeat the idea of leaving this with a treat in it for your pet....most will not even notice the box has changed, or if it did notice it did not care.
Now. Take a piece of newspaper, or tissue paper and wrap it around just the edges of the top of the box. Give a treat in this box, same as before, to the pet. Then next day make the opening a bit smaller, ie, rewrap the top of the box but extend the edges closer to the middle of the box. Give this to your pet as before. Then next day, make the middle smaller and so on. Finally, close the top with paper and watch the animal "open their gift.".