Training your Chinchilla

There is not one solution for training your chinchilla, as every chinchilla seems to have their own personality.

If you have some concerns about your chinchilla, don't be eager to give him up. Almost any problem can be solved with some effort and patience. You might not create a cuddly friend, but you can certainly have a rewarding pet.

forlorn chinchilla... I'm guessing you're not here because you are able to pick up and touch your chinchilla easily.

If your chinchilla continues to be hostile, fearful or anxious you need to actively correct the behavior. You'll need to bond with your chinchilla.

Chinchillas have a long memory, so if they have been mistreated in any way it may take a great deal of time to repair the damage.

The first step is to pick up your chinchilla, no matter how much they resist it. If your chinchlla is a biter you'll have to wear gloves. If your chinchilla is a sprayer (the girls excel at squirting urine in a predator's eyes) just keep your face some distance away.

To pick up your chinchilla try to scoop them up. They don't like to be grabbed from above them (instinctual fear of predatory birds), so come from the front. You may, especially initially, have to use one hand to hold the base of the tail to prevent them from escaping.

Once you have them in your lap stroke them over different parts of the body. Find where they prefer to be touched (behind the ears is often a favorite spot!). You can also try nuzzling them to show them that you are not going to eat them.

Make sure you are in a calm environment so there is nothing to startle the chinchilla. Talk softly to your chinchilla, getting them used to the sound of your voice and associating it with a calm, nurturing environment.

Do this every day for five to ten minutes until your chinchilla feels more comfortable (at least!). You can also combine the nurturing with out-of-cage playtime to add an element of fun.

Eventually you will be able to pick up your chinchilla without being bitten or sprayed. Most chinchillas are not the "cuddly" type, but they will eventually get to know your voice (and some cues) and be eager to see you. Just be patient and calm and you will see the rewards of chinchilla training.

Need more help? Come to the forum to talk about it, or contact us.

Also, check out the chinchilla sounds. You can have some fun trying to communicate with them in their own language!

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