Skip to main content

How to train bearded dragons in 3 simple steps

Tips for training your bearded dragon to come when you call

Bearded dragons were introduced to the United States in the 1990s, but these laid-back reptiles — often called beardies or dragons — are originally from Australia. Unlike some reptiles, beardies are known for being quite social, making them wonderful, low-maintenance pets for many households. You might be surprised to learn that dragons also make great pets for children due to their calm demeanor and affectionate nature. What’s cuter than a bearded dragon? A dragon that knows how to do tricks. If you’ve been wondering how to train bearded dragons, we’re here to share our favorite tips.

A brown bearded dragon on a tree trunk.

Why should you train your bearded dragon?

Training your dragon doesn’t merely teach them to follow your commands and do entertaining tricks. It also allows you to build trust and establish a tight bond with your beardie. You can even potty-train your dragon, but the most important trick to master is training your bearded dragon to come when you call. Dragons enjoy spending time out of their enclosures, but they also can climb furniture and vanish from sight. If your dragon comes when you call, you won’t have to worry about where they’ve scurried off to anymore. Training sessions also provide mental stimulation for your dragon, which helps keep them from becoming bored and restless.

A bearded dragon perched on a log.
Enrique Grisales/Pexels

Getting to know your dragon

For the most part, beardies are docile, affectionate creatures, but some can be shy when you’re first getting to know them. If your dragon needs time adjusting to your presence, don’t rush things. Mealtime is great for bonding, but skittish dragons may need space. Try dropping food in their enclosure with a pair of tweezers and talking to them in a calm voice for a few days. Make sure you repeat their name often during feeding time. Once they’re used to you, feed them a few snacks and pet them gently as they eat. The dragon will come to associate being fed with receiving attention.

The real fun can begin when your dragon feels more comfortable with you. Try hand-feeding your dragon while you talk to them. Again, make sure to use their name. At this point, they may start looking in your direction when they hear their name, which means they recognize it. Success!

A bearded dragon with a twig in his mouth.

Training your dragon to come to you

Whether you’re worried your dragon will take off when you bring them outside, or you simply don’t want to have to tear your house apart looking for them, teaching your dragon to come when you call is essential. Luckily, dragons are easily motivated by food. Get some snacks ready, follow these steps, and in no time, your dragon will come when you call them.

Step 1: Offer a treat every time you use their name for the first couple of weeks

When you start to feed your dragon, say their name and then give them a treat. Repeat the process, feeding them a single treat at a time. We recommend using only their name instead of saying, “Here’s a tasty treat, Dracarys,” which can be confusing. Make sure to keep your tone light and cheerful so your dragon doesn’t think you’re angry. Consistency is key, so keep this up for a week or two, greeting them by name each time you feed them.

Step 2: At the three-week mark, don't immediately feed your dragon when you call their name

After a week or two, your dragon should recognize the sound of their name. When you enter the room containing their enclosure, call them by name, but don’t immediately feed them. Your dragon should come running, and then you can feed them as a reward. Some dragons take a little longer to pick it up, while others learn to respond to their name quickly.

Step 3: Call them by name when out of their enclosure

Now, it’s time for the real test — will they respond when they’re not in their enclosure? Take them out and place them in a favorite spot. Cross to the other side of the room and call your dragon by name. Most likely, they’ll scamper over to investigate. If not, you can dangle a treat from your fingers to lure them over. Once they learn to associate coming when you call them with getting a treat, it’s smooth sailing from there.

Bearded dragons make calm and entertaining pets. They’re also one of the most intelligent reptiles around. Friendly, good with kids, and relatively low maintenance, you can’t go wrong with a dragon if you want to start keeping reptiles. Best of all, you can teach them to come to you on command, potty-train them, and even teach them to walk on a leash. You’ll be able to enjoy your dragon’s companionship for roughly 10 years, and if you follow our tips, you’ll be equipped to teach them plenty of tricks during their lifetime.

Editors' Recommendations

Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson is a writer and photographer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work has been published in PawTracks and…
This is the ultimate week-by-week puppy training schedule every new pet parent needs
A puppy training schedule to follow
Woman feeds a puppy as the pup gives her his paw

When you first bring home a new puppy, you’ll have so many firsts to look forward to. Some milestones — the first accident, for example — aren’t quite as cute as the others, so that’s why you’ll want to start training with your pup as soon as possible. Understanding puppy training stages will help you break down all your goals into realistic steps, making you and your new best friend more likely to succeed.
Remember, training your pup is just one important aspect of their well-being. Ensure you’re taking care of their diet, health, and happiness, too. Good luck and keep reading to learn about a puppy training schedule.

Here's your ideal puppy training schedule for puppies 8 weeks of age and younger
It’s important to establish a routine as soon as you bring your puppy home. Not only will this ensure that you and your pup have every need met, but it also will let your new dog become more familiar with their environment. As dog trainer Ken McCann said in his YouTube video guide for puppy training, “You’ll be setting them up for success,” especially in potty training. Make sure to supervise while they're outside, too.
Here's another idea: Luring your new pup to you with a delicious treat is a great first step toward bonding and training. At this point, they're working purely on instinct, but they're learning the reward value of treats as well as a praise word — something like “yes” or “good” to let them know they're doing well. Make sure to use this word as you continue training!
This also gets your pup used to working for a treat, which builds motivation and confidence. Negative reinforcement won’t teach anything but a feeling of unease at this age, so it’s a good idea to focus on rewards instead (and always). Now that they know that following you gets that reward, they'll soon be ready to move on to the next stage.

Read more
Learn how to stop a dog from digging in the yard once and for all
These helpful tips can stop your dog from digging for good
Terrier digging a hole in the backyard

You look out the window, and your heart sinks as you see dirt flying in all directions. Your dog is having a great time digging yet another hole in the backyard. When this happens, it’s important to remember that, while a yard full of craters might be your worst nightmare, your pup sees it as the perfect playground.

Read more
How to stop toy aggression in dogs immediately: A simple guide
Put a stop toy aggression in dogs simply and effectively
A Jack Russell terrier stands in a park with an orange tennis ball

For more than 30,000 years, dogs have been our best friends — and for good reason. Loyal, affectionate, and protective, our canine companions brighten our lives, and they can even help us while we work. But what happens when your dog's protective instincts transfer to their food bowl or their favorite toy?

While protecting their precious resources is essential to a stray dog's survival, your family pooch doesn't need to fight to defend their puzzle treats. If your dog snaps, snarls, bites, or lunges when you attempt to pick up their tennis balls or stand too close to their favorite stuffed toy, you have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands. For pet parents with multiple animals, toy aggression in dogs can lead to a vicious fight. Have you ever wondered how to train a dog to share toys? Here's what you should know and how to stop toy aggression in dogs.

Read more