Last Updated on August 27, 2022.


  • Hedgehogs are not like dogs or cats.
    • However, many people purchase hedgehogs expecting them to behave like common household pets. 
  • Do not expect your hedgehog to come when called, learn tricks (or at least not ones that you WANT them to learn), play fetch, greet you at the front of their cage, or become litter box trained easily.
    • While SOME hedgehogs will do some of these behaviors, it should not be generally expected.
    • These are not animals that you can teach to be obedient.

They do not care if you, their owner, are pleased or displeased. And no matter how much you love them,hedgehogs do not care how much it would mean to you if they loved you back

.Ways to Train

  • One of the best comparisons of a hedgehog’s intelligence is to that of a hamster’s.
  • Hedgehogs may learn certain behaviors through positive reinforcement or rewards, but only at a very basic level.
  • Some hedgehogs can be trained by basic Pavlovian methods. Meaning they may learn to associate specific sounds with certain actions they are followed by. This renders hedgehogs able to anticipate and prepare for that action. 
  • Our friend Coley Emde says “No matter what time of day it is, some of my herd will instantly come out for food on salmon oil day. The reason for this is I shake the food in the bowl after putting the drops in so it is evenly distributed and they have become conditioned to the sound.”
  • They can, in no way, be disciplined. Hedgehogs are naturally shy and defensive so any negative action on your part will only hinder the bonding and handling process.
  • You will never be able to “control” your hedgehog. Instead, you will learn to understand your hedgehog and your hedgehog will, in turn, learn to respond positively towards you.

Primary Author: Gail Smith, Millermeade Farms

Contributors: Nicole Belval, Formerly of Prickly Pair Exotics, Melissa Ramos

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