There’s lots of information about how to socialize dogs and cats out there, but what about small and exotic pets? They can learn polite behavior too!
The San Diego Humane Society’s San Diego Pets Magazine recently shared some tips on how to socialize your rabbits, rodents, birds, and reptiles. Here are a few highlights:
- Some bunnies can be shy so let them approach you first. If you do approach a rabbit, do so slowly, at their level, and from the side.
- Offering treats like fresh vegetables is a good way for your rabbit to associate human interaction with a positive reward.
Hamsters, Gerbils and Other Rodents
- Young children may be excited to interact with their new small pets, but give the animals some time to adjust to their new surroundings first. Then start with a few short sessions each day.
- Approach rodents on their level, not from overhead.
- Let them walk onto a neutral object and work their way to your hand gradually.
- Bird are very social, so they appreciate lots of interaction and being included in your family’s daily activities.
- Avoid sudden movements around birds. They appreciate pets on the back of the head and back, and slow blinks (like cats!).
- Not all reptiles like to be cuddled or held, so check your expectations if you’re looking for a snuggle buddy.
- Treats can help them associate handling with something positive. Certain reptiles like turtles and tortoises enjoy being hand fed.
- Your lizard or other reptile may not like to be handled, but some might appreciate being near you for warmth.