Have you just bought a leash but don’t know how to put a leash on a bearded dragon?
I have tips that helped me with my beardie Yoda. These tips will help you leash a beardie well enough so you don’t hurt them or make them run away.
Let’s dive in!
How to Get the Leash on a Bearded Dragon
You’ve just bought a bearded dragon harness with a leash. You’re sure it won’t hurt the beardie, but the problem is you don’t know how to put on a bearded dragon leash.
Sure, it is an adjustable leash, but the reptile doesn’t like and could refuse to wear the harness and leash or even get overly aggressive.
When I first considered buying a leash for my beardie, all those questions went through my mind.
It took me several tries before I got it right, and Yoda wasn’t squirming on the leash. Here I’ll show you how to put a leash on a bearded dragon with simple steps.
Step 1: Prepare the Leash
If the leash is in a loop style, ensure it is wide enough for the bearded dragon’s head to pass through. That’s easy if you have an adjustable lizard leash.
Preparing the leash also means distinguishing the handle from the part that goes over the head. After that, widen or make the double loop.
Step 2: Take the Beardie and Place Them on a Table or Hold Them
To put the leash over the dragon, you’ll need them to be quite relaxed. Unless you have an adventurous dragon, most don’t like things placed on them.
So if you can get some bearded dragon treats, it will make your work incredibly easier. Also, petting the pet reptile could help them relax.
Step 3: Gently Stroke the Dragon as You Put on the Leash Cord
There’ll be two loops if you’re using an adjustable design loop. One goes over the head and the other under the forearms.
You’ll, however, start by placing the leash cord right under the dragon’s chin. Gently stroke their back as you do this to relax them.
Step 4: Take the Bottom Loop Under the Forearms
Gently put the bottom loop under the beardie’s forearms by gently lifting each arm. This shouldn’t be too tight or it will be an awful experience for the dragon.
While doing this, be careful not to hurt the dragon’s delicate fingers.
5. Keep the Top Loop Under the Dragon’s Chin
Pull the adjustable loops with the top loop under the reptile’s chin to make them tighter.
Be careful not to make them too tight over the beardie’s forearms and chin. The top and bottom loop shouldn’t crisscross each other.
Once you have all the loops in the desired options for one closed loop, you can tighten the leash slightly. With that, you will have successfully put a leash on a bearded dragon.
Here is a YouTube video that will show the best direction to put the leash on the pet reptile.
How To Leash Train a Bearded Dragon? (Step By Step Guide)
While it might seem great teaching a beardie to stay on a leash, the beardie won’t share your enthusiasm.
Getting used to the leash will take some time, which is why you need to train them.
Here is a step-by-step guide to putting a bearded dragon on a leash.
Step 1: Select a Leash
Get an appropriate leash for your beardie. There are plenty of adorable designs of leashes available in the market.
But not all of them will be an excellent fit for your beardie. So look not only at the leash design. Instead, look at its suitability for your pet reptile.
When selecting a leash, get one with an adjustable design to fit different-sized dragons.
Step 2: Start Handling Your Beardie Regularly
Handling your pet daily for a specific amount of time will make them used to you. That will make it easier for you to put a harness or leash on them.
The lizard needs to feel like they can trust you not to hurt them before you can start putting anything on them.
Start petting your reptile several times each day to bond with them and let them get used to you.
Aggressive beardies make for tough leash training, so you need to make them comfortable with your presence and petting.
Step 3: Start Putting the Leash on the Dragon for Short Periods Indoors
Now that your pet has bonded with you thanks to the petting, they will be ready for a leash. Follow the steps in the previous section to put on a bearded dragon leash.
Since this is something new to the dragon, only put them on a leash for short periods without venturing outside.
You want to bed them in slowly. Take your time — this will be a slow process for you and your beardie.
Initially, the leash will make the dragon uncomfortable, so you need to take it slow.
Putting on the leash for a short time each day gives the reptile a chance to get used to something on their neck and body.
Step 4: Walk the Dragon Indoors With the Leash
The next step to make the beardie get used to the leash is to walk them indoors with the leash. By this time, the pet will have gotten used to the feel of the leash on their body.
Walking indoors will be the perfect way to train the pet to step outside. Take some time to ensure the beardie is comfy walking with the leash. Don’t go out until you feel the beardie is ready to venture out on a leash.
Again, take your time to ensure the beardie is comfortable wearing the leash like the beardie in this video.
Make sure to read our complete guide on can you take bearded dragons on walks.
Step 5: Take Your Beardie Outside With the Leash On, but Don’t Let Them Roam
The next baby step to take in leash training the beardie is to go outside with them on a leash. Don’t put them down at first. Let them take in the external environment slowly.
Though adult bearded dragons could have once been outside, they can’t remember how it is after being captive.
So take your time to help them take in the new environment with the leash on. Going out at different periods with the pet will help them get used to the outside.
Step 6: Start Walking Your Dragon!
After you’ve determined the dragon has gotten used to being outside, you can now put them on the ground and walk them.
With patient progress, your beardie should be able to walk out on a leash without you fearing they’ll run away.
Depending on your pet’s temperament, it could take you months to successfully train them to love being on a leash.
Tips for Easier Leash Training
1. Use Positive Reinforcements Whenever Possible
Positive reinforcements make it easier for you to leash train your pet. If the beardie loves roaches, slowly coax their cooperation with treats.
The pet reptile will find it easier to cooperate with your teaching, making for faster training.
2. Patience and Dedication
Training a reptile to walk with a leash is possible but requires the ultimate dedication.
It is a complicated process that requires you to take your time and be patient with the pet. To boost your chances of success, you’ll need to dedicate yourself to the training.
3. Start Early
Adult beardies are usually harder to train. Experts recommend you start the training when the reptile is still relatively young (1). That way, the leash will grow on the beardie with time.
You shouldn’t forcefully put a baby bearded dragon on a leash.
Instead, start as soon as you think the reptile is old enough to handle a leash or harness. A baby bearded dragon leash could help you begin when the animal is still young.
4. Have a Perfect Training Environment
This could prove challenging to achieve since beardies are usually different. But it is usually easier to walk the beardie in a familiar environment.
To build this familiarity, you’ll need to introduce them to the outside world and let them take it all in slowly. This external environment should have temperatures close to the captive dragon’s habitat.
How about starting with your yard before going into the outside world?
Bearded Dragon Leash Training Dont’s
When thinking of how to leash train a bearded dragon, there are some things you should never try. Doing these things could harm your beardie or even make them escape.
- Don’t walk the beardie in crowded areas such as a park or playground. Go to a site with few large animals than your pet to avoid spooking them.
- Never let the beardie off the leash, no matter how used to you the animal is. They will run away!
- Consider their ideal temperatures before taking them out. The beardie shouldn’t be too hot or cold when you take them out. Instead, it should be closer to the terrarium temperatures when you take them out for a walk (2).
- A beardie isn’t a dog, so don’t walk them like one. Be extremely careful not to hurt the dragon by yanking the leash or pulling it behind you.
- Don’t let them eat anything you haven’t given to them. It could cause health issues you’ll have to deal with later on.
Check this video out for a better idea of how to walk your beardie.
Can All Bearded Dragons Be Leash Trained?
While most dragons take kindly to leashes, not all can be leash trained. Some will give you no issues, and you’ll enjoy teaching them.
But some beardies, even with the best bearded dragon leash, will become aggressive and resist.
When you encounter this resistance, take it slow and keep trying until a time when the beardie might accept the leash.
Use treats to see if you can convince the dragon to change their mind about the leash. Sometimes all the dragon wants is to build some trust with you before using a leash.
Constant and daily handling will help you bind to the dragon, making it easier to use a leash.
Baby dragons might take more kindly to being on a leash than adult dragons. But you should know when to try putting a leash on the beardie to avoid injuries.
When you notice your pet doesn’t want a leash despite constant cajoling, please don’t force it. Understand that not all beardies will agree to leashes or harnesses.
Temperament and body language should tell whether the beardie can handle a leash.
1. Do bearded dragons like being outside?
Yes, bearded dragons can grow to love being in the outdoors. It was their natural habitat, after all. Walking a bearded dragon outside will help it grow to love the outdoors more.
2. Can I make my own harness and leash?
Yes, a DIY bearded dragon leash is incredibly easy to make.
3. Why does my beardie puff up when I put the leash on her?
When your beardie puffs up, they don’t like having a leash around their neck. They puff up to communicate to you to stop what you’re doing (3).
If you didn’t know how to put a leash on a bearded dragon, now you have a clear idea of how to proceed.
Not all beardies will take kindly to a leash on their neck. Thus, training the beardie to get used to the leash will take time.
Don’t rush the leash training process; allow the leash and harness to grow on the beardie slowly. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy walks with your beardie on a leash.
Do you have any other helpful thoughts on leash training a beardie? Share your thoughts with us in the comments, and we will add them to this article.
1. Can You Leash Train a Reptile? [Internet]. www.petmd.com. 2016. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/reptile/care/evr_rp_can-you-leash-train-reptile
2. Stahl SJ. General Husbandry and Captive Propagation of Bearded Dragons, Pogona vitticeps. Bulletin of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. 1999;9:12–7.
3. Schabacker S. Bearded Dragons [Internet]. National Geographic. 2019. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/facts/bearded-dragon
Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
Follow her on:
Read her latest articles HERE
Learn more about her HERE.