Training Potential

May 15, 2013 by

Training Potential

Misconceptions

  • Hedgehogs are obviously not like dogs or cats.
  • However, many people purchase hedgehogs expecting them to behave like dogs or cats.
  • Do not expect your hedgehog to come when called, learn tricks (at least not ones that you WANT them to learn), play fetch, greet you at the door (or front of the cage) when you approach, or to litter box train easily.
  • While there are SOME hedgehogs that will do some of these behaviors, it is certainly not something that should be expected.
  • They are not usually animals that you can teach to be obedient.
  • They don’t really care if you, their owner, are pleased or displeased and do not care how much you love it or how much it would mean to you if it would love you back.

Ways to Train

  • One of the best comparisons of hedgehog intelligence is to that of a hamster’s intelligence.
  • Hedgehogs may learn certain behaviors through positive reinforcement or conditioning, but only at a very basic level.
  • Hedgehogs can in no way be disciplined. The hedgehog is naturally shy and defensive so any negative action on your part will only hinder the bonding and handling process.
  • Some hedgehogs can be trained by basic Pavlovian methods. A hedgehog may learn that a certain sound is followed by a certain action, so the hedgehog may anticipate or prepare for that action.
  • It is doubtful that you will ever 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 Dick, Millermeade Farms

Contributor: Nicole Belval, Formerly of Prickly Pair Exotics

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