Training Your Degus

Degus are highly intelligent and are very easy to train. The links below take you to pages with step-by-step instructions on specific, very useful training tasks. Following are the golden rules of training your degus, which no degu trainer should be without!

1. Hand Training Instructions
2. Using Voice Commands
3. Tube Training Instructions

Training is all about developing trust between the trainer (you) and the trainee (degu).
You must always ask your degu rather than force them to do something for training to work.
The learning process is based on a system of positive and negative feedback resulting from your degu's actions.
Positive feedback is given to your degus in the form of rewards.
Rewards are positive things that the degu is motivated to work for.
Rewards greatly increase the rate at which your degu learns a new task.
Rewards are mentally ranked by the degu- the higher the degu values the reward the more motivated your degu will be to work for it.
An example of a highly valued reward is food, this is the best training aid you have.
Good foods to use when training are: your degu's daily feed broken into little bits, natural puffed rice or wheat (available from health food shops), flaked corn/maize or flaked peas (available from some pet shops, break them into little bits), crumbs of bread, cracker pieces and natural, rolled (porridge) oats.
To maintain your degu's attention, always use small bits of food.
Make sure you don't over feed your degu during training as this can lead to obesity.
Food is not the only training aid- many degus appreciate a belly rub just as much.
Talk to your degu in a soothing voice throughout training as this will encourage them.
Always reward your degu's actions- a continuous reward system is proven to facilitate learning more than an intermittent or random schedule.
Be patient! Training takes time, and remember that all degus learn at different rates.
One last point to make is that although young degus are easier to train and pick things up much faster, older degus can be trained too (you CAN teach an old degu new tricks!!).