You can have a lot of fun teaching tricks to a trained hamster. Once you have a good bond with your hamster, you can easily teach it to follow a few commands like how to stand, jump, and do circles. Hamsters also have a natural desire to run, so running an obstacle course is a perfect trick to get your hamster to do.
EditTeaching Simple Commands
- Pick up your hamster to build a bond with it. The first step to teaching tricks to a hamster is building a bond with it. Spend time with your hamster when you first get it so that it gets used to your smell and voice. Pick your hamster up out of its cage and let it crawl up and down your arms while talking to it softly.
- Pet your hamster gently with 1 or 2 fingers on its back while talking to it.
- If your hamster bites or appears not to like being held, leave it in its cage while you spend more time with it. Give it treats through the cage while talking to it. After a few days of doing this, try reaching in to pet your hamster again. It can take time for your hamster to become used to you.
- Get treats that your hamster enjoys. Most hamsters are highly motivated by food. Sunflower seeds are often a favorite a favorite treat, but they can be fattening so try to use them sparingly. Experiment with different treats to find your hamster’s favorite by offering treats while bonding with it.
- If your hamster prefers a treat, it will eat it quickly and look for more. If your hamster doesn’t like a certain treat, it will often not finish it.
- Some hamsters prefer grain treats like Cheerios, others like a small chopped vegetable like a piece of raw carrot. Try these treats for a tasty option for your hamster.
- Hold a treat over your hamster’s head to teach “stand.” “Stand” is one of the easiest commands to begin with for tricks. Hold your treat up over your hamster’s head so that it’s out of reach and say “stand” as you do this. Your hamster will get up on its hind legs to get closer to the treat.
- While you're teaching your hamster this trick, go slowly to give it time to learn each step. Start by just getting your hamster to rise on its back legs. When it gets used to standing, add your command. Give your hamster lots of praise for doing its trick!
- Give the treat as soon as your hamster stands and give it verbal praise by saying “good!” softly. If your hamster doesn’t stand, don’t give the treat and wait until it does.
- If your hamster doesn’t stand at all and you’ve been waiting and repeating “stand,” it may not be hungry right then. Put the treat away and try again later.
- If you try several times in a day and your hamster still doesn’t respond, try a different treat for motivation.
- Work on 1 command at a time, and repeat it 2-3 times per day for 1-2 weeks. Most tricks will take a week or 2 to learn without pause. Keep doing the “stand” trick everyday 2-3 times per day, until your hamster seems to have really mastered it. 
- Test how well your hamster knows the trick by holding just your fingers above its head without a treat. Say “stand.” If you do this and your hamster stands, it really knows the stand trick. Still give it a treat for standing.
- Hold the treat a bit higher and move it up to teach “jump.” Once your hamster has mastered “stand,” you can try teaching it to jump. For the jump trick, hold the treat a bit higher until your hamster stands up. Move the treat up and forward with a quick jumping motion while saying “jump.”
- If your hamster tries to jump after the treat when you move it, give the treat immediately and say, “good!”
- If your hamster doesn’t jump, go back to “stand” by placing the treat closer and saying “stand” then give the treat. Then try “jump” again. If your hamster doesn’t jump the second time, put the treat away and try again later.
- Use a hoop and treat to teach “jump through the hoop.” Some hamsters actually master jumping through a hoop faster than regular jumping, because there’s an object they can see that they have to get over. Take a hoop made from a thin plastic circle, a wide metal or plastic bracelet, or a stretchy spiral bracelet. Hold the hoop in front of the hamster and hold the treat up and on the other side of it.
- Say “jump through the hoop” or simply “jump” while holding the hoop and the treat. If your hamster goes through the hoop, give it the treat immediately and say, “good!”
- Be careful not to hold the hoop too high at first. Hold it low in front of your hamster, then if that seems easy you can move it up a little.
- Be sure to use a hoop that’s wide enough for the hamster to easily get through.
- If your hamster won’t jump through the hoop at first, go back to the “stand” trick and give it a treat for standing. Then try the hoop trick again. If it doesn’t jump, put the treat away and try again later.
- Hold a treat above your hamster and move it in wide circles to teach “do circles.” Another trick you can try that’s a little more advanced than “stand” is “do circles.” Hold the treat above your hamster. It will probably stand at first, but move the treat out and in a circle to see if it follows the treat by running in a circle while saying “do circles.”
- If your hamster does a circle, give it the treat immediately and say “good!”
- If your hamster doesn’t do a circle, pull the treat back for a few seconds and then do the “stand” trick and give the treat. Then try “do circles” again. If it doesn’t do any circles again, put the treat away and try again later.
EditCreating an Obstacle Course
- Provide jumps using building blocks or jars. Create some jumping activities by building jumps with Legos or wooden building blocks. You can also use cylinder food jars like pasta sauce or applesauce jars for your hamster to scramble over. Begin placing some jumps down on the floor where you are going to set up the obstacle course.
- Make sure the jumps aren’t too high, otherwise your hamster will be tempted to run around them instead of over them. If it struggles to get over your jumps, try lowering the blocks. Or if you’re using jars, try narrower jars like olive jars to start with.
- Include tunnels made from toilet paper rolls or other cylinders. Hamsters love to run through tunnels. You can use toilet paper or paper towel rolls, pre-made hamster tunnels, or a bendy tunnel made from a plastic slinky. Start placing the tunnels between the jumps you have made in the area that you’re building your obstacle course.
- Most hamsters will narrow their bodies and squeeze through a tunnel that appears to narrow for them. They like to do this. Tunnels that are the width of toilet paper rolls are perfect to start with.
- Make a see-saw with a plank and wooden triangle. Your hamster will enjoy running up and down a see-saw too. Use a thin wooden plank that’s about long and wide enough for your hamster’s body. Place the plank on a triangular wooden block so that the down end is facing the direction that your hamster will come from in the obstacle course.
- Use a triangular block that’s about the same width as your plank or wider for the best results. Using one that’s too thin could cause the plank to tip off the edge of the triangle sideways.
- Arrange your obstacles in a certain order and stick with it. Once you’ve gathered your obstacles, place them in an order that you think your hamster will enjoy running. You’re going to want to keep the obstacles in the same order for a while until the hamster gets used to running the course and can do the course on its own.
- Build walls around the course to make the hamster run it in order. Using cardboard or building blocks, build walls about high to place directly around your obstacles. Place them close enough to each obstacle so that your hamster will avoid trying to run around the obstacle instead of completing it.
- Large building blocks should create a pretty sturdy wall. Try using large Legos for the best results. If you’re using cardboard, you may have to bend the cardboard to get it to stand up, or glue supports onto the outside using other pieces of leaning cardboard.
- Move a treat in front of the hamster while it completes the course. Once your obstacles and walls are all set in place, bring your hamster to the beginning of the course and set it down. Get your treat out and hold it out in front of the hamster until it completes the first obstacle. Continue holding the treat just in front of your hamster, moving it along the obstacle course as your hamster completes it.
- Each time your hamster reaches a tunnel, hold the treat on the far side of the tunnel so the hamster has to run through the tunnel to get to it.
- If your hamster becomes confused and refuses to complete an obstacle, continue moving the treat in front of it in the direction of completing the obstacle until it’s able to complete the obstacle.
- If your hamster gives up before completing all the obstacles, place it at the beginning to see if it will complete the ones it knows. If it does, give it the treat and then return your hamster to its cage and try the whole course again later.
- Leave the treat at the end of the course once your hamster can run it. Once your hamster can run the entire course on its own following the treat, try placing a treat at the very end of the course. Don’t hold a treat and use just your fingers to guide the hamster along the course through each obstacle if it needs you to.
- Sometimes a hamster will just remember how to do the course and run it fast without needing any guidance from your fingers because it remembers there’s a treat at the end. If it does, let your hamster do this several times before changing the order of the obstacle course around.
- Avoid teaching tricks to a hamster that does not like to be held or who bites you frequently. You will need to build a good bond with your hamster by using other training methods before moving onto tricks.
EditSources and Citations
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source How to of the Day https://ift.tt/2t2uGFr