Best Friends ‘til the End: How to Bond with Your Bearded Dragon

If you’re anything like most pet owners… then chances are you want your bearded dragon to like (read: absolutely adore) you.

And while this desire is perfectly normal, it is probably healthy to remember that a bearded dragon is, well, a reptile.

As such, they’re never going to love you the way a pet like a dog, horse, or cat could.

So, don’t put some ridiculous and impossible standard on them that just likely will not be achievable.

Now, with this being said, your bearded dragon can absolutely bond with you, like you, and even display small signs of affection!

In fact, some owners will swear to you that their dragon does in fact love them! And hey, who am I to judge?

If you want to learn just how you can bond with your bearded dragon and get them to like you, then just keep reading!

How to Effectively Bond with Your Bearded Dragon in 5 Simple Steps

Step Number 1 to Bonding: Be PATIENT!

Young Juvenile Bearded Dragon

Whether you’ve just brought home a precious little baby or a full-blown senior bearded dragon, it can take some time for them to not only acclimate to their new home, but you as well.

Don’t just dive hands first into their vivarium and think you can scoop ‘em right up from the get-go.

I mean, how would you feel if some giant stranger took the roof off your home and picked you up? You’d be scared out of your $%&*#@! mind.

Also, it is important to remember that all dragons are different.

You could have a dragon that wasn’t handled lovingly and often by the previous owner and breeder, meaning they may take even longer to warm up to you.

Just be patient and don’t rush any handling.

Step Number 2 to Bonding: Be a Consistent Presence

Bearded Dragon Getting Use to Owner

The only way your bearded dragon is going to get comfortable around you is if you make your presence known regularly.

Before handling your dragon (see below), try coming into the room and singing or talking sweetly to them.

Your dragon will come to learn your voice in no time and also realize you’re a non-threatening presence.

Step Number 3 to Bonding: Begin Handling Gently and Slowly

Child and Bearded Dragon Together

Ideally, you would start by holding your dragon for a few minutes a day, every day for a week.

After this, you could work up to half an hour a day or so for another week. The key is to not overstimulate them too soon.

If you’ve never handled them before (or at least regularly) they don’t know for sure that you won’t hurt them, so start out really slow.

Also, always make sure your dragon can see your hands and that you have snuck up on them, this can really spook them if they’re not used to you especially.

Step Number 4 to Bonding: Don’t Let Aggression Discourage You

Aggravated Bearded Dragon

There’s a strong chance your dragon may hiss at you or even black beard you in the beginning since they don’t know they can trust you.

If this happens, give your dragon space and help them calm down but talk sweetly to them.

After the aggression has subsided, consider offering them food or hand feeding them (if they’ll let you) to show that all is well.

In the beginning, aggression is only to be expected and nothing out of the ordinary.

Also, if your dragon squirms quite a bit when you hold them, don’t let this deter your bonding efforts either.

Your dragon will simply need to get used to being handled by you.

Step Number 5 to Bonding: Handle Your Beardie with Care

handling bearded dragon

There is definitely a right and wrong way to handle a bearded dragon. For starters, never let them dangle as this can cause them to be distressed.

You want to lift your dragon up from bellow his belly and never from up above.

Make sure you have his whole body, legs included, supported.

For a specific look at the right way to pick up your bearded dragon, check out the informative video below!

Step Number 6 to Bonding: Let Your Dragon Adventure

Bearded Dragon Roaming Around

Your bearded dragon needs to have regular time outside of his or her vivarium to really thrive and have an enriching life.

If your bearded dragon fun activities and toys to look forward to, they’ll only come to enjoy your company and associate the fun with you all the more!

Involving your dragon in your world will make them come to trust and enjoy you as their human.

Consider purchasing a leash and harness for your dragon and taking them in your backyard or around the block for some exploring!

Just make sure they don’t try to eat any plants or bugs and keep them away from areas where pesticides may have been sprayed.

Something to note with this step, however, do not let your beardie explore unsupervised.

You’d be shocked at how quickly they can go “missing”. Also, keep other pets away to minimize risk.

Have You Read These Bearded Dragon Articles Yet?

17 thoughts on “Best Friends ‘til the End: How to Bond with Your Bearded Dragon”

  1. This is very informative, I have many animals, recently somebody was getting rid of (I hate that phrase but that is what it was) a bearded dragon. I am learning as I go and he is such a gentle creature. I am lucky to have him.

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  2. I have 2 babys beardies and they chose me lol i guess it was fate and my 2 babys are being watched by my 6 month old beardie light and this did help me alot.

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  3. before i read this, i was not handling my
    baby well. my other beardie baby was very outgoing and i was accustomed to that. is it alright to start over or has there already been enough damage? i’ve only had her for about four days and i feel really guilty now 🙁

    Reply
    • 4 Days is not too long, starting over is most definitely possible. Eventually they’ll learn to trust you, patience is just very important when it comes to that.

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    • Its always better late than never. Just start slow 🙂 My beardie was abused and neglected before coming to me and he has never ever been agressive towards me. It took a month or two to completely gain his trust though. They are pretty good judges of character

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  4. My bearded dragon is almost a year old, and he is now always following me when I take him out of his tank, the only problem is control, can u help me with that?

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  5. I’ve had my baby bearded dragon for about going 4 weeks now and they still run away whenever I try to pet or pick them up. I’m new to having an lizard and extremely worried that I’ll continue to make them feel like I am a threat. At first I was giving them space to adjust and talking/singing to them. Then in the beginning of last week they let me touch them, but on that wensday of that week I cleaned their tank and then they went back to running away from me. Now I’ve just been just trying to get them used to me touching them and picking them up. I really don’t want them to be afraid of me. Please can anybody help?

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    • Hi Veena!

      Try hand feeding them to establish some trust. Also, if you have multiple in the same tank I would definitely recommend splitting them up. There’s an incredibly strong chance that as they age they will get territorial and even fight. Better safe than sorry as it really isn’t good practice to house multiple together even if they’re from the same clutch.

      Reply
  6. My name is Tutu,
    I have a new dragon I will clean out the tank and make sure to follow all the advice give. Thanks for all the tips. Even if you make mistake it ok. They are learning just like we are. Baby steps and you and the Drago will be happy new family

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  7. Good to know I’ve been doing things the “right” way and to know that there are like minded people that think that beardies need time not only outside of their enclosure but also outdoors ( if the temperature is right that is)

    Not that I learned a lot from this forum, but, it still was a nice read and reassuring.

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  8. Chubs my bearded dragon is maybe 6years old. I have her for about 3years . She has been very passive. But lately she is very agitated and seams like she wants to go out of her enclosure. and she is not eating.

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  9. I’ve had my beardie for about 1 1/2 months and she is still skiddish and runs away. I’ve tried everything!! And I handle her everyday. Will she ever let me hold her and just put her on me without trying to run away ?

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  10. So… I recently got a baby beardy a couple of months ago. She grew on me quite quickly and my boyfriend would even tell me stories of how, when I was away, she’d look at him then at my spot I normally sit then back at him as if saying “where is she?” She’s been through many many sheds and never once had a problem with me. However, now it seems she doesn’t like me anymore. She no longer takes food from me, she seems skittish when I come near, whereas before she was happy to see my presence. She just seems to be annoyed with me or like she’s had enough…. is it too late to try going slow? I always talk to her sweetly and let her see my hand before attempting to pick her up. There might’ve been one occasion I picked her up from behind by accident not realizing… could this one act cause her to not like me? I certainly don’t want to be a threat to her. I apologize this is so long.

    Reply

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