For families who are looking for a pet that won’t take up too much room, gerbils have been a popular option for years. Not only are they easy to maintain, but they are also smart animals who can give their owners years of joy and love. Although they are not your typical pet, gerbils can become part of the family just like any other animal.
Can Gerbils Learn Their Name? Not only can your pet gerbil learn its name, but it can also learn how you interact with it. Like other pets, they know when you are going to play or feed them, and with some dedication, you can even teach your gerbil how to do some small tricks. The success of your gerbil being able to learn their name or a specific trick depends a lot on how their needs are met, and how you are as a gerbil owner.
Not only are gerbils soft and cute, but their intelligence makes them one of the most rewarding pets to have. Teaching your gerbil their name is not as difficult as you may think. Let’s talk about why this may be an excellent option for you, and how you can help your gerbil learn as much as it can along the way.
Can Gerbils Learn Their Names?
Your pet gerbil can learn a magnitude of skills, and one of those is learning its name. Like other pets, the bond you create between you and your gerbil can make being a pet owner a more enjoyable experience. Gerbils are intelligent animals that love to connect with their owners through the senses of touch, smell, and sight.
Gerbils can learn their names through positive affirmations from their owner. This can be in the form of treats, contact with their owners, and repetitive exposure to the skill. The use of treats and positive speech to your gerbil will help them realize that it is safe for them to leave their cage and be more connected to you as an owner.
Gerbils are small creatures that can escape their homes. Not only can they fall off of high places and get injured, but they may also get themselves in dangerous situations if they feel lost or scared. Teaching your gerbil their name can help them feel safer in their home, and it can help you protect them as well. A gerbil who knows its owner and name is more likely to come when it is called.
How To Teach a Gerbil Its Name
Teaching a gerbil their name is easier than you expect. Similar to training a cat or dog their name, the key is positive reinforcement and repetition. It is one of the more natural skills for them to learn, as well as one of the most important.
To start, make sure that you have some sort of bond with your gerbil. You want your gerbil to feel comfortable enough for you to approach the cage without feeling like it needs to hide when you do. Try using treats and a soft tone when you are speaking to your gerbil to get your gerbil more comfortable with this step.
Once the gerbil reaches your hand, make sure it sees the treat in your hand and takes it from you. From there, make sure you repeat their name with treats and attention as a reward for coming to you when it is called. Try to do this a few times a day while the gerbil is in the cage. Once it is comfortable with that step, try to have the gerbil come to you while it is out in the open.
There is a discussion on if your gerbil is actually learning their name or reacting to a sound you are making. If you are looking for them to respond to the sound of their name, make sure you are not using any additional sounds so that they do not get confused. If you have multiple gerbils, try to teach them their name individually to reduce the chance of them getting confused.
How Should You Handle a Gerbil?
Although gerbils are a common type of pet, many people are afraid of them simply because they are not sure how to handle a gerbil. Gerbils can be a bit skittish around new owners since they are not used to being held. Considering that you need a bond with your gerbil before you try any skills or tricks, it is essential to know how to hold your gerbil to help it trust you and make it feel safe.
Gerbils are relatively small, which makes how you pick them up and hold them essential. You want to use your hands to cup around your gerbil, creating a form of a nest. From there, you want to pick up your gerbil from underneath them and make sure you keep them low so that they do not get scared and attempt to jump out of your hands.
What Factors Into Your Gerbil’s Happiness?
As with any pet, what it can do is going to depend on how happy your gerbil is. Making sure your gerbil is happy and healthy is the first step you should take as a pet owner. The environment that your gerbil lives in has a lot to do with their happiness. Since they are naturally found in tunnels, make sure your gerbil has plenty of places to dig and hide as you want to keep them away from direct sunlight.
Gerbils need to have a good variety of fruits and vegetables to their gerbils as well as pre-made foods that you can purchase at stores. Although treats are a great way to help your gerbil learn skills and tricks, they should be given in small amounts to keep your gerbil from getting sick or gaining too much weight.
You can learn more about what, how and when to feed your gerbil here.
What Else Can You Teach a Gerbil?
Once your gerbil has learned its name, you can start teaching it more tricks or skills. Gerbils are quick learners who can do many tricks that you teach a regular pet. With treats and positive affirmations, you can spend hours with your gerbil learning different tricks.
Gerbils can learn tricks such as begging, how to turn around, and to come to you when they are called. Similar to other rodents, they have great responses to both visual and audio stimuli when it comes to learning skills. You can also use dried fruits, seeds, or nuts as a reward system when learning new tricks. If you are using food to assist your gerbil with tricks, make sure you do not overfeed them.
Eventually, your gerbil can also learn how to navigate mazes, and they can even run agility courses. Gerbils can jump short distances, which can help them get into your hand from the cage, the floor, or the surface they are on. If you are trying to create an agility course for your gerbil, make sure you keep the walls tall enough so they will not try to jump out.
Lastly, you can essentially potty train your gerbil. The typical gerbil will prefer one area of their home as a place to use the bathroom. You can place a small dish or plate in this area, and it makes cleaning your gerbils home much more manageable. If you spot gerbil droppings in the cage when you place the dish, place the droppings on it so that your gerbil realizes what it is for.