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Training a Chinchilla:

Chinchillas cannot be trained to the same extent that dogs, or even cats, can be trained, however training is not impossible. Litter training chinchillas is also possible – they can be taught to pass urine and excreta only in a limited area of their cage, where you keep their litter box. However, the main portion of “chinchilla training” really consists of socialization – getting your chinchilla comfortable in its home and around you and your family, getting it used to being handled by humans, and hopefully even helping it to enjoy this interaction.

It is important that you avoid overwhelming your chinchilla as soon as it enters your house. You will naturally be eager to play with it, pet it, and at the very least watch it, but you must exercise restraint. Allow your chinchilla to settle into its new home, and do not interact with it any more than is absolutely necessary. When interacting with your chinchilla and even when you are in its general vicinity, keep your movements slow and quiet, and keep your voice soft and gentle too. Gradually, start to spend more and more time around the chinchillas cage, without initiating any actual interaction. After several days, when the chinchilla seems comfortable with your presence, you can slowly start to interact with it by offering it treats. Ideally this should first be done through the bars of the cage; gradually move up to keeping the treat in your palm so that your chinchilla has to climb into your hand to get the treat. Again, this might be a very exciting moment for you – but resist the urge to grab your chinchilla and pet him (or her). You will ruin all that you have achieved so far. Instead, over the next several days, further entice your chinchilla with treats, so that it climbs not just into your palm, but further up your arm, and even on your shoulders, maybe even into your lap. Only after this comfort level has been properly established should you even attempt to pet your chinchilla. Chinchilla potty training on the other hand is simple and limited. Your main task is to notice where your chinchilla prefers to urinate, and keep the litter box in that location. If you regularly move the chinchilla’s feces to the litter box, there is also a chance that it will learn to excrete there, but this level of potty training in chinchillas is very rare.

Two things you must always remember: chinchillas are most active at dawn and dusk, so this is when most of your training should be done; and ensure that treats are healthy and minimal or you will severely damage your chinchilla’s health.
 
  Submitted on January 21, 2010  
 
 
 
 
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