The Most Adorable Video Of A Pit Bull Dog And Green Iguana
Buddy, the iguana dog…
We originally set this project up with the intent of educating people about the needs, welfare and requirements of Iguanas. As these are complex subjects we thought that comparing the iguana to a common house hold pet, that people are familiar with (a dog), would help people understand and learn their needs and traits- for example, iguanas can be trained similar dogs! Case studies show ( see Zoe’s account below) that iguanas are capable of learning recall, walking on a lead and being toilet trained. However, obviously iguanas aren’t bought and ready to be trained and cuddled. They must be tamed before anything else, or you put yourself at risk. Although this isn’t necessarily true when buying a puppy, that’s because dogs have been commercially bred and tamed for thousands of years, there for breeding out natural instincts such as to be wary of humans. Iguanas haven’t been domesticated for very long so they are still wary of humans, they see us as predators.
Naturally then, if you are looking to have an iguana as a pet, you need to understand and learn how to tame and train it. Now, as they are a less common pets it may not be common knowledge how to train and tame them. But research shows that it is very similar to training a new dog/puppy and it’s helpful to keep this in mind..
So first things first the iguana is going to need a few days to settle into its’s new home. Just like with a new dog, you don’t want to overwhelm them and freak them out. Be cautious and quiet around them, you don’t want the iguana to associate you with danger. Slowly over the course of the next few days introduce yourself, such as sitting and talking by their viv or (using a glove) place your hand in the viv( not too close to the iggy) Once the iguana is comfortable if your presence you can begin to let it out of its viv and have it explore around, just like you would do with a new dog if it has previously been in a creat or in an enclosed room. An important thing to note when doing this is that you need to let your iguana know who’s boss. Just like with dogs if you don’t teach it you’re in charge then it will become spoilt and show signs of domination, for instance an iguana may bite and become hostile. If a dog is not shown who’s boss it will ignore commands and ruin things on purpose such as peeing around the house and destroying furniture. To avoid this in both species it is important to stand your ground. Such as if the iguana is wriggling around while being held it is best to try your best to keep it restrained and not let it break free, as this could cause it to see you as weak and lesser. Just like with a dog, if the dog is pulling on the lead it is important to pull it back or keep it at heel so that it knows that you are walking them and they’re not walking you. This is all to do with dominance, which is an animal instinct found in all species. In the wild it is important to show dominance as a sign of strength, and to establish a social order among animals, as this plays a big role in reproduction as a female looking for a mate would ideally be attracted to the strongest of the selection, due to survival of the fittest(evolution).
Once the iguana has learnt that you are the alpha in the house, you can begin to teach it tricks such as re-call and toilet training. The easiest method for this would be repetition/reward. Just like dogs, wait for them to be in the position to do the trick, once they begin the action call out the command name, once they are familiar with the word relating to the action begin to call out the word before they show signs of demonstrating the action. If they perform the correct action reward them via affection or an edible treat. An example of this method would be potty training a puppy. Once you notice the puppy is ready to go pee, quickly pick it up and place it in the spot you wish for it to associate with going to the toilet, such as a puppy pad. Continue this until the puppy automatically goes to the pad to pee. At this stage reward it every time it pees on the pad via a chewy treat or a fuss. If it goes pee on the carpet and not the pad, punish it by putting it in a creat for a time out. This can be applied to the iguana only instead of a puppy pad perhaps a certain spot in its viv or a spot in an enclosed garden. The reason this method is effective is down to conditioning of the brain, which is a common phenomena in all species. Once the brain begins to associate a good thing with a certain action, it compels the individual to repeat this action every time in hopes of receiving the reward. Meaning that after a certain amount of time the action becomes habit and routine for the animal.
There are perhaps many more methods to training an iguana but starting with the basics and relating it to dog training provides the easiest and most straightforward way or understanding how to care for these amazing reptiles. – Rachel Tomsett
Through my own interaction with both of these amazing species, I noticed similarities between them both. Through this recent interaction and being introduced to green iguana’s i acknowledged that certain elements of of their behaviour and training was oddly similair. This intrigued me and if you like, inspired the idea of this website project. Initially i wanted to perform lots of tests and research practically into the similair behaviours. The first behaviour i noticed was when you pet a green iguana, obviously not all, but every iggy i have had the pleasure of petting has thoroughly enjoyed stroking and scratching just above the jowl. They tilt their heads upwards and after a period of conditioning them to do this through repetition, they often expect this when entering their enclosure and sometimes tilt their head upwards prior to even touching them. As i’m more experienced with dogs, I saw this as strange! How similair this reaction was to a dogs reaction when being scratched or stroked behind their ear. Through excessive research into case studies and interacting with Jub-Jub the college iguana I have noticed far more similarities between these animals, how they react, their behaviours and their training and to what extent their training and domestication can go. Like any animal, they are never fully domesticated, but they can get damn well near it.
One case study that i have witnessed first hand, therefore i know it to be true, is Steve Mills and his Green Iguana Sid. Prior to a wedding reptile showing that we were doing, we went to Steve’s house to load up the animals. He called down to the end of the garden ‘Come on Sid’ and down at the end of the garden was a free roaming 6ft iguana. He came plodding slowly, with encouragement from steve he eventually went inside. Later on whilst working with Lenny’s Lizards i learnt that Sid was potty trained, he knew where to go to do his business, just like a dog (or some..) He also knew that after getting a bath, to come downstairs, rest his head on Steve’s partners lap and wait to be dried with a towel. After, he was treated just like a dog, free roaming in the living room. At all times his enclosure was available to him just in case he had enough of being sociable, but this fascinated me! An iguana, a reptile prior to working with them, i thought would just sit in a cage all day and do nothing! Amazing! And the more i learnt about these animals, the more i wanted to know! and the more i wanted to know, the more i learnt and the more similarities i discovered! Truely fascinating animals, to think how they can be trained to such an extent. This just goes to show how naive i was thinking that these animals did nothing all day… How wrong was i…