Gerbils

Training

Good news, gerbils can be trained. Gerbils can learn several tricks, such as using a litter box, responding to its name, and even jumping in your hand when you put it in the cage.

Quick Tip

A ‘gerbilarioum’ is the best type of home for your gerbil. This is a tank that is usually full of burying materials such as organic soil with a wire cage above it.

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Litter Box Training

Training your gerbil to use a litter box makes cleaning its cage easier. If your gerbil uses the box, then you don’t have to change the bedding as frequently. Put a small bowl partially filled with chinchilla dust in your gerbil’s cage. Your gerbil may play in the dust, and then use it for urinating and defecating. Remove the bowl to clean it daily, and then return it to your gerbil’s cage with the dust.

Did you know?

Gerbils don’t like water baths. They prefer to roll themselves in sand to get a shinier and smoother coat.

Did you know?

Its whole body (including the tail) is covered in fur, which protects against sunburn.

Tricks and Other Training

Your pet gerbil can learn its name, and it can learn that when you approach the cage, you probably will take it out to play. “Well-socialized gerbils will often readily climb up your hands and try to run up your arms once they know it means playtime,” Childress said. Your pet gerbil can learn some neat tricks too. “With patience and persistence, a gerbil can learn to do simple tricks,” Childress said.

Training Do’s and Dont's

Training should always be positive reinforcement-type training. You must always reward the gerbil when it performs a correct response, and never punish it. For the best results, train in short five to 10-minute sessions a couple of times a day. This is because the gerbil will lose interest quickly and you’ll lose patience. Your gerbil likely learns best when you train it when it’s already awake and active. Don’t get discouraged or angry if your gerbil doesn’t want to be trained. Give up that session and come back to it later with a fresh start.

Quick Tip

Gerbils require company from other gerbils. It's better to keep two or three of the same sex littermates together. Introducing gerbils who are older than 10 weeks means that they are more than likely to fight.

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Have a question?

If you have a question, please email us or call us on 0800 413 969. Our dedicated consumer care team are available to answer any questions you may have. If you are concerned about the immediate health of your pet, please seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible.

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