Had my bearded for 9 months and he tries to run away from me still and doesn’t trust me

Lillyjane

Member
Beardie name(s)
Lucky
Hi there, I’ve had my bearded dragon, Lucky, for about 9 months now. I got him when he was a couple weeks old. He will eat from my hand, fall asleep on me when it’s evening time, doesn’t mind me picking him up sometimes, but he is still very wary of me most of the time.

I let him run around my room every day for about a hour or two but when I try to take him outside he will jump off of me and try to run as fast as he can to hide. It scares me because I don’t want to lose him if he runs under my house or somewhere I can’t get him out. He often black beards at me and opens his mouth and just in general still seems to not have trust in me. I want to take him around and let him explore more but don’t know what to do. He also had an extended bout of mouth rot I was treating in the fall. I imagine that has to do with it but it’s been several months since then.

Does anyone have experience with having a beardie for this long that still doesn’t trust you?
I will appreciate any insight, thank you.
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Hi there, I’ve had my bearded dragon, Lucky, for about 9 months now. I got him when he was a couple weeks old. He will eat from my hand, fall asleep on me when it’s evening time, doesn’t mind me picking him up sometimes, but he is still very wary of me most of the time.

I let him run around my room every day for about a hour or two but when I try to take him outside he will jump off of me and try to run as fast as he can to hide. It scares me because I don’t want to lose him if he runs under my house or somewhere I can’t get him out. He often black beards at me and opens his mouth and just in general still seems to not have trust in me. I want to take him around and let him explore more but don’t know what to do. He also had an extended bout of mouth rot I was treating in the fall. I imagine that has to do with it but it’s been several months since then.

Does anyone have experience with having a beardie for this long that still doesn’t trust you?
I will appreciate any insight, thank you.
How old was he when you got him? I took me a lot longer with a couple of my dragons that were older than it didcwith my younger ones. I wouldn't take him outside until he learns to trust you, that's a recipe for disaster.
 

Lillyjane

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Lucky
How old was he when you got him? I took me a lot longer with a couple of my dragons that were older than it didcwith my younger ones. I wouldn't take him outside until he learns to trust you, that's a recipe for disaster.
Thanks for your response! He was probably around 2 or 3 weeks old.
 

Chris.

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
What did you do to specifically bond with him so far? Hand feeding is good but anything else?
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
My boy Sinatra was hard, he took the longest, but now he is my creature and doesn't won't to be around anyone else. Just be patient and keep working with yours, it can be a slow process but eventually you'll get there.
 

Lillyjane

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Lucky
What did you do to specifically bond with him so far? Hand feeding is good but anything else?
I take him out and let him explore inside, take him out in the evening and have him sleep on my chest, I put a piece of a shirt that smells like me in his tank. Do you have any more suggestions? I would appreciate anything!
 

Lillyjane

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Lucky
I take him out and let him explore inside, take him out in the evening and have him sleep on my chest, I put a piece of a shirt that smells like me in his tank. Do you have any more suggestions? I would appreciate anything!
I also started with spending time sitting near his enclosure and slowly putting my hand near him on the ground, petting him in between feeding him bugs. That helped me be able to handle him more now but I feel as though the trust has plateaued.
 

Chris.

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
Sounds like a good approach to me. Is your tank front opening? If it opens on the top that can scare them very easy.

Sometimes it helps to just hold them more. Like taking him out and letting him sit on your hand/forearm and then watch a movie or youtube for an hour. If he wants to run of you just gently switch your hands to make him walk on them without really moving (hope you know what I mean). You want him on you not running around for this.

Does he headbob and stamp on the ground? My boy is half a year older than yours but I remember us having a hard time when he was that age. It was right before he started headbobbing so this could maybe be like an puberty thing....maybe...
Also he gets cranky easy for various reasons and he lets me work to calm him down again.

You said he has a black beard and opens his mouth. Like in a puffing up kind of way or just gaping?
 

Lillyjane

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Lucky
Sounds like a good approach to me. Is your tank front opening? If it opens on the top that can scare them very easy.

Sometimes it helps to just hold them more. Like taking him out and letting him sit on your hand/forearm and then watch a movie or youtube for an hour. If he wants to run of you just gently switch your hands to make him walk on them without really moving (hope you know what I mean). You want him on you not running around for this.

Does he headbob and stamp on the ground? My boy is half a year older than yours but I remember us having a hard time when he was that age. It was right before he started headbobbing so this could maybe be like an puberty thing....maybe...
Also he gets cranky easy for various reasons and he lets me work to calm him down again.

You said he has a black beard and opens his mouth. Like in a puffing up kind of way or just gaping?
Thank you for all your feedback, it’s also nice to hear that someone can relate a bit.

My tank is front opening and yes he head-bobs. He doesn’t head-bob at me very often, mainly if he catches himself in the mirror. I learned to cover that.

When he black beards he is puffing up and opening his mouth but not in the same way as if he was basking.

I will try the running/moving around on my hand suggestion. Did you have a hard time with similar behavioral things?

Again, thank you!
 

Chris.

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
Thank you for all your feedback, it’s also nice to hear that someone can relate a bit.

My tank is front opening and yes he head-bobs. He doesn’t head-bob at me very often, mainly if he catches himself in the mirror. I learned to cover that.

When he black beards he is puffing up and opening his mouth but not in the same way as if he was basking.

I will try the running/moving around on my hand suggestion. Did you have a hard time with similar behavioral things?

Again, thank you!
He wasn' t basking in my profile pic either 😅 that was after his first vet visit after which he was cranky for a week. My brother took care of him while I was on vacation and got hissed at for moving his hide (he also took him out of it for feeding).

You want him to associate you with positivity again. Keep him indoors for a while and take him out for feeding (at 9isch months you probably feed around three times a week?) and the mentioned holdings and limit other interactions. Taking him out once a day but every day will make him more calm and taking him out to give him bugs will make him associate positive emotions with being picked up by you.

That's what I do with my boy at least if I have upset him again, which I do often because I'm a perfectionist and I rearrange his tank almost weekly because something looks better there or maybe he'll use this more if it was over here....🙈
 

Lillyjane

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Lucky
He wasn' t basking in my profile pic either 😅 that was after his first vet visit after which he was cranky for a week. My brother took care of him while I was on vacation and got hissed at for moving his hide (he also took him out of it for feeding).

You want him to associate you with positivity again. Keep him indoors for a while and take him out for feeding (at 9isch months you probably feed around three times a week?) and the mentioned holdings and limit other interactions. Taking him out once a day but every day will make him more calm and taking him out to give him bugs will make him associate positive emotions with being picked up by you.

That's what I do with my boy at least if I have upset him again, which I do often because I'm a perfectionist and I rearrange his tank almost weekly because something looks better there or maybe he'll use this more if it was over here....🙈

Haha! Cranky boy! All of your insight is so helpful. I’m hopeful that he will start to associate me with positive experiences more and more, thank you!
 

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