You can teach hamsters tricks using voice and hand gestures when using treats as positive reinforcement.
Hamsters can learn simple tricks, such as begging, jumping, rolling over, playing dead, and backflipping. You can teach a hamster its name and how to run through a maze.
Out-of-cage time and treats like seeds, nuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables can be used as rewards.
New tricks are good for bonding and playing together. So, we have some tips and advice on getting started and maximizing the benefits of any training sessions.
Can Hamsters Learn Tricks?
Hamsters are part of the order Rodentia, which incorporates all rodents. Hamsters are intelligent small animals that are commonly used in laboratory experiments.
According to Brain, Behavior, and Evolution, rodents are phylogenetically closer to primates than eutherian orders. Due to their intellect, they can learn tricks and respond to visual and auditory stimuli.
Some hamsters are more receptive to stimuli than others, so some learn skills more quickly.
While all hamsters have the innate ability to learn tricks, they’re easily distracted and possess short attention spans. So, you must train a hamster daily to teach it easy tricks.
Also, you’ll need to start small and move on to slightly more complicated tricks. Hamsters can’t learn anything overly complex, but you can train them to perform basic tasks.
How To Teach Your Hamster Tricks
Based on a learning method by psychologist B.F. In Skinner, rats can be taught to pull levers after being rewarded with treats. As a result, they learned to repeat this behavior.
Hamsters can learn tricks through positive reinforcement. To achieve this, owners must:
- Move slowly and make the trick simple by breaking it into easy-to-follow stages.
- Offer rewards such as treats, petting, or free-roaming time to incentivize completion.
- Use auditory and visual cues to help the hamster associate a vocalization or gesture with the trick.
- Reward the hamster each time it performs the trick when given the cue.
Some owners use clickers (devices emit a clicking sound every time the button is pressed) to train their hamsters to do tricks.
What Are the Best Hamster Treats for Rewards?
The treats used to train a hamster are vital because they must receive something in return and won’t perform the trick unless rewarded.
Because hamsters are food motivated, you can succeed by using fruit, seeds, or nuts as a reward. For hamsters who enjoy being out of their cages, use extra free-roaming time as an incentive.
What Tricks Can You Teach Hamsters?
Hamsters can learn various tricks as long as they’re not too complicated. The more effort you put in, the more tricks you can teach a hamster. Here are some tricks that hamsters can learn:
How To Teach A Hamster Its Name
Before moving on to more complicated tricks, start by teaching the hamster to recognize its name.
A hamster will hear its name frequently, making this trick easy to learn. There are safety benefits, as the hamster is more likely to respond if it escapes when you call it.
Approach the cage with one of its favorite treats in your hand. Then, lift the lid off the cage or open the door, and place your hand inside before revealing the treat.
Call your hamster’s name a couple of times and wait until it comes to investigate. At this point, you can feed the hamster the treat.
Repeat these steps every evening, using the same tone and inflection.
How To Teach A Hamster To Beg
Hamsters frequently stand on their back legs to examine their environment and watch for predators.
Due to how natural this behavior is, teaching the hamster to stand and beg is one of the easiest tricks, and it can lead to them learning other skills.
Hold a treat above the hamster’s head so it’s slightly out of reach, and your hamster will stand on its back legs to grab it. Once the hamster stands up, say “beg” and reward it with the treat.
Next, start giving the cue before you hold up the treat. Do this several times, and the hamster will start to understand the command.
Using both a visual (holding the treat upward) and auditory (saying “beg”) cue works well.
How To Train A Hamster To Jump
Once a hamster has learned to stand and beg, you can move on to a more complicated jumping trick.
You can use the same steps as before but move the treat higher this time, so the hamster has to reach even higher. While doing this, say, “jump.”
The hamster won’t lift its feet off the ground, but it’ll propel its body upward enough to constitute a “jump.” Give it the treat once it completes the action.
How To Teach A Hamster To Roll Over
Teaching a hamster to roll over is among the more complicated tricks.
To encourage a hamster to roll over, place a dry treat, like a seed or nut, on the hamster’s back. Then, tell it to “roll over.” Also, use your index finger to direct it to the right place.
Once the hamster completes a roll, reward it with a treat.
How To Train A Hamster To Do A Backflip
Backflips can be taught in a similar way to rolling over. Hold the treat slightly above the hamster’s head and slowly draw it back so it follows the trajectory with its head.
Most hamsters will struggle, but sprightly dwarves are most likely to perform a backflip successfully.
Another thing that’ll help with this trick is placing the hamster on a slightly elevated surface, such as a multi-chamber hide. Ensure there’s soft bedding underneath for the hamster to land on.
How To Teach A Hamster To Play Dead
You’ll need to spend time with a hamster before teaching it to play dead. This isn’t an easy trick to master, but it’s fun. Follow these steps:
- Remove the hamster from its cage and cover your lap with a towel or blanket. Then, place the hamster onto your lap.
- Position it upward so that its belly faces you; you can position it on its back.
- Start stroking the tummy to calm it down so it enters a sleepy, trance-like state.
- You can say “play dead” to help it associate the stroking action with falling asleep.
- Stop stroking the hamster and let it return to its normal state. Then, feed it a snack.
Avoid scaring the hamster when you teach this trick, as death-feigning is an anti-predator behavior.
How To Teach a Hamster To Run Through a Maze
Hamsters enjoy running through tunnels.
Mazes provide mental stimulation, preventing boredom and stress. Also, hamsters enjoy being in tight, enclosed spaces because it makes them feel secure.
Before training the hamster to run through a maze, you may need to make one first. This is easy to do with some cardboard and tubes or popsicles.
Begin with a straight corridor and place a treat at the other end. If a hamster needs more encouragement, leave a trail to follow.
Once the hamster completes the maze, reward it with a treat. Then, you can change the maze around to increase the difficulty and retain the hamster’s interest.
Hamster Training Tricks and Tips
Here are some tips to help a hamster learn tricks:
- Hamsters are crepuscular, so only teach them tricks between dawn and dusk.
- Keep training sessions to 10-20 minutes each, as hamsters have short attention spans.
- Vary the treats to keep things interesting.
- When teaching the hamster a trick, use clear and concise commands.
- Don’t punish the hamster or shout at it, as they’re sensitive to loud noises.
Move at the hamster’s pace and stop whenever it seems stressed or disinterested. Teaching a hamster to perform tricks is an excellent way to solidify your bond and provide mental stimulation.