Petting your bearded dragon is a great way to build a better relationship with it. An important aspect of keeping pets for many people includes this bond, so it is important to know where you should pet the bearded dragon.
Most bearded dragons enjoy being petted, despite not being the most sociable animals. One of the best ways to do this is to gently stroke its head and to make sure that you only pick it up by the belly. If you notice that it’s stressed, make sure you put it back.
You will want to make sure that you move slowly and avoid scaring your bearded dragon as much as possible. With time, you will be able to build trust with your pet.
Now, let’s see some of the different ways in which you can pet your bearded dragon.
How to Pet Your Bearded Dragon
Some people believe that bearded dragons don’t like to be pet at all. This isn’t exactly true. There are plenty of bearded dragons that want to be handled by their owners.
One of the best things that you can do for your bearded dragon is to handle it in the right way. Some people go on to lift their bearded dragon by the tail, which is the worst way to build trust with your companion.
The first thing that you should do is approach your bearded dragon’s cage slowly. Try not to make any quick movements, and do your best not to stand right above it. And when you slowly move your hand inside its cage, really do your best not to move quickly. This is because bearded dragons are territorial creatures and might become afraid, or might attack you for “invading” their territory.
Once you have calmly and slowly put your hand inside the bearded dragon’s cage, you will want to gently start to pet it using your fingers. You may want to have a treat in your hand to help the bearded dragon feel safer in approaching you.
You can, essentially, pet the beardie anywhere. Try to pet its head, and lightly pet it from head to tail. But don’t pet it backwards- so from the tail up to its head.
Picking up Your Bearded Dragon
If you have started to grow comfortable, and you notice that your bearded dragon has as well, you can carry it. Of course, be sure to examine how your bearded dragon is behaving before you do so. You really don’t want to disturb it if it is eating, and if you notice that your beardie is rather uncomfortable, then picking it up could make the situation worse.
Once you have decided that you should pick it up, here’s what to do.
As you are gently stroking your bearded dragon with your fingers, pay attention to how it is reacting. If it seems to be comfortable, gently place your hand under its belly to pick it up. It is very important that you never, ever try to pick up a bearded dragon by the tail or by its legs.
You need to make sure that its weight is balanced evenly. If your bearded dragon is a baby, getting picked up might cause it to feel worried. You can calm down some of its fears by putting your finger on its chin.
Now, let’s talk about how you hold the bearded dragon.
How to Hold Your Bearded Dragon
The best way to hold your bearded dragon in a way that will make it feel safe and calm is by holding it up to your chest. Since bearded dragons like to be in warm environments, and since your chest is warm, this is an ideal area for you to keep your bearded dragon near.
Continue to have your hand underneath its belly. A great way to have it positioned is to place its tail on your arm and hold its body with your hand. You can then pet it with your other hand.
Some other things you can do during this petting session is to reward your bearded dragon with a treat, causing it to feel much more trusting towards you. In reality, petting your bearded dragon will indeed establish a much more bonded relationship between the two of you.
If you live with other people, make sure that none of them speak too loudly or make sudden movements especially while the bearded dragon is out of its territory. Make sure to remind them to speak softly, move slowly, and if they also wish to pet the bearded dragon, instruct them how to, and how they can keep an eye on it to see if it is feeling stressed or agitated.
You can also play with your bearded dragon a bit. If you notice that your bearded dragon wants to walk around, you can allow it to climb on your arms. But make sure that it can’t fall.
It is important to keep an eye on how your bearded dragon is feeling. If you notice that your bearded dragon seems relaxed, then you’re doing great. However, if your bearded dragon starts to seem stressed or upset, that might mean it is time to put it back in its terrarium.
How to Put Your Bearded Dragon Back
It is important to also know how to put your bearded dragon back properly. You don’t want to cause it to feel unnecessarily worried, or even worse, you don’t want your bearded dragon to not feel comfortable with being around you anymore.
Once again, you have to make sure that you are doing everything slowly. This is due to the fact that bearded dragons are afraid of fast movements.
Once you recognize that your bearded dragon might be scared, upset, or simply doesn’t want to be pet anymore, make sure that you go to put it back in its cage. And try not to spend too much time with it, either.
Slowly take the bearded dragon back to its cage, holding on to the bearded dragon firmly (but not too tightly so as not to hurt it) so that it won’t fall out of your arms. When you approach its cage, slowly hold your arm out and into the cage, creating a sort of diagonal line with your arm.
This will allow your bearded dragon to be able to walk back into its habitat. You can perhaps give your bearded dragon a treat too to reward it for its splendid behavior.
With all of that, there are some very important things that you need to keep in mind about your bearded dragon’s body language, behavior, and the best ways for you to handle it.
What to Keep in Mind
One of the most important things for you personally to remember is that you have to wash your hands before and after you touch your bearded dragon. This is because, first off, you don’t want to get any foreign bacteria that you might be carrying onto your bearded dragon- after all, they are a different species, and what might not be harmful to you could be harmful to it.
And secondly, you must wash your hands when you are finished, because bearded dragons carry salmonella. Wash your hands very thoroughly. You should especially take good care with washing your hands if you get bitten or scratched by your bearded dragon- both are rare instances, but they do happen sometimes.
There are also things for you to keep in mind about your bearded dragon and its behavior.
Your bearded dragon might display behavior that will indicate that it is feeling stressed out or angry. If this is the case, you should not be petting your beardie at this time. Some examples might include if it puffs out its chin (often referred to as its beard), if it’s eating, hissing at you, or if it is trying to mate with its partner.
Bobbing heads is also an indication that you should not pet your bearded dragon at this time. This could either mean that it is preparing to mate with its partner, or they will soon start a fight for dominance.
Just as you would avoid bothering any other animal that seems to be stressed at the moment, you should not go on to bother your bearded dragon at that time. Wait until it feels calm, see what the problem is, and try to focus on being slow and quiet in the presence of your beardie.
If you do end up in a situation where your bearded dragon ends up biting or scratching you, don’t worry too much about it. While this should not happen often whatsoever, it does happen to everyone sooner or later. Make sure that you treat the wound immediately and clean it up.
Petting a bearded dragon involves a lot of trust and patience. You need to make sure that you approach its cage slowly and try not to make any fast movements. When you are petting your bearded dragon, be sure to apply as little pressure as possible so as not to hurt it. And finally, never, ever pick up your bearded dragon by the legs or by the tail- only pick it up under its belly.
What does it mean if my bearded dragon closes its eyes while being pet? Many people believe that this is an indication of happiness and contentment, but this is not the case. If you notice that your bearded dragon is closing its eyes when you hold or pet it, this is due to the fact that it feels threatened. It may also not like what you are doing.
We know this almost unbelievable, but it´s true! Read more on bearded dragons closing eyes here.
How can I make my bearded dragon happy? You have to make sure that your bearded dragon’s needs are completely met. This includes making sure its terrarium is set to all the right settings, it has all the proper nutritional needs, and through allowing your bearded dragon enough time to explore and have fun.