This article is contributed by guest writer, Johnathan David (Editor at Everything Reptiles).
Six Steps To Safely Introduce Your Dog to a Bearded Dragon
For the dog owner interested in owning a reptile, the Bearded Dragon is the perfect choice. Beardies are fun, interesting pets that are easy to care for and rewarding. When the time comes to introduce your dog to your Beardie, following these six key steps will help your two animals become the best of friends.
Teach your dog about reptiles
For many dogs, your Beardie might be the only reptile they have seen before. Because of this fact, presenting your Bearded Dragon to your dog for the first time is bound to create some confusion and even fear in your dog. To avoid this, it is important to teach your dog about reptiles. To teach your dog in an easy and safe way, take a trip to the pet store. Bring your dog to the reptile section and allow it to examine some of the pets that are being kept there. Monitor your dog as it watches the reptiles and be sure to discourage bad behavior such as growling and intense fixated staring. Repeated trips to the pet store will make it that much easier to introduce it to your Beardie.
Meet through an enclosure
To keep both animals relaxed, the first meeting should be conducted while your Beardie is in its enclosure. Your dog should be comfortable with seeing a reptile through a glass case by now and should have no problem with this step. Just like with the pet store, allow your dog to stay and watch as long as it wants while continuing to watch for signs of aggression. If for any reason your dog becomes uncomfortable and wants to leave, don’t force it to stay near the Bearded Dragon. This will only cause it to become upset the next time it sees the Dragon.
Meet face to face
After your dog is at ease with your Bearded Dragon in its enclosure, take your Beardie out of the enclosure for a visit with your dog. While holding your Beardie firmly in your hands, approach your dog and show the reptile to it. It is important to keep the Bearded Dragon in your hands in this step to keep your dog calm.
As you begin to show your Bearded Dragon to your dog, it is a perfect time to begin teaching your dog some helpful commands. If your dog ever gets too close to the reptile for too long, firmly tell your dog “leave it,” and have your dog walk away. This command will teach your dog to respect the Beardie and its space. Another command to teach is “nice”. While interacting with your Bearded Dragon, your dog has to remain calm and refrain from getting too rambunctious. If you ever notice your dog getting too excited around your Beardie, remind it to stay calm by saying “nice” followed by your dog’s name. This will remind your dog to be gentle around your Beardie and to not treat it like another dog.
Meet in the open
Once your dog is comfortable with your Beardie, bring the two out into an open area such as the living room and watch as the two interact. Make sure to remain present for the entire time to make sure your two pets remain safe, and to provide commands to your dog if needed. Some positive behaviors to watch for in your dog are sniffing, tail wagging, and other excited movements unique to your dog.
It’s a little known fact that Bearded Dragons and dogs love to play together! From tug of war to chase, the two play lots of games and make great playmates. Set out some of your dog’s favorite toys the next time it is around your Beardie and watch as the two start to have fun together.
After all your hard work teaching your dog and caring for your Bearded Dragon, make sure to have some fun too. Spending time with your two pets is one of the most rewarding parts of being a pet owner and will certainly make some great memories.
While introducing a dog and a reptile might seem like a daunting task at first, following these six key steps will make sure you and your animals stay happy and safe.