How to teach a hamster to use its wheel

In order to keep a hamster healthy and exercising, it is important to teach it how to use its wheel. Some simple tips can help make this process easy and fun for both you and your hamster!

How to teach a hamster to use its wheel

1. Choose a wheel

There are different kinds of hamster wheels, but they fall into two main categories: solid plastic wheels and wire-mesh wheels. Wire-mesh wheels are far cheaper than solid ones, but also less comfortable for the hamster to use. If you can afford it, get a mesh wheel - if not, get a solid plastic one.

2. Choose a spot

The wheel should be placed at the end of your hamster's cage, or somewhere that it passes frequently (if you keep your cage in another room for example). Make sure it is securely screwed into place, and cannot move when the hamster runs on it. If you have two stories in your cage, use a ladder to connect the two so the hamster can run from one to the other.

3. Introduce your hamster

Place your new pet in its cage with the wheel. Wait until it is active enough for you to see what it's doing (if it spends most of its time asleep or hidden, wait a few hours). Let it run around on the wheel for a bit - after a while, it will discover that running on the wheel is fun! If not, try putting some food or treats next to the wheel.

4. Encourage your hamster

Once your hamster has discovered how much fun running on its wheel is, it is ready to learn how to use it! Use a treat or food to give your hamster a reason to get on the wheel - drop a few pieces in front of it, then place yourself at the other end. Once they start going around, cheer and encourage them all you can! Eventually, they will associate using the wheel with a good time.

5. Keep it up!

Your hamster will soon get used to using the wheel - but getting them to use it regularly might be a problem. There is one thing that will always work, and they can't resist: more treats! Drop some in at the same time every day when you bring your hamster out of its cage, and it should quickly learn that a wheel is a place worth visiting for something yummy.

6. Keep an eye on your hamster!

You may have trouble at first if your hamster isn't used to using its wheel - it might fall off, or injure itself in some other way. Keep a close eye on it until you are sure it is used to using the wheel, and that it can use it safely.

7. Cleaning time!

The hamster's wheel should be cleaned once a week. This will help prevent illness - if any food gets stuck inside the wheel, there might be mold growing after a while which could cause your hamster to become ill. To clean the wheel, simply pull it out of its holder and wipe it with a cloth dipped in warm water.

8. Have fun!

Your hamster should now be using its wheel as part of its daily routine - but that's not the only way to have fun with it! Once your hamster is used to the wheel, there are a few things you can do with it to make your life more fun.

Additional Tips:

- You can use treats or food as an incentive for your hamster to run on the wheel and drop some in front of it whenever you want it to run.

- Hide a treat at one end of the wheel and let your hamster find it - this will encourage your hamster to run its wheel more often and much faster.

- Let your hamster keep the treat at the end of its journey - if you do, it'll be running as fast as it can to reach there!

- Use treats or food to make your hamster go round in circles instead of just straight - the hamster might get confused, but it will be incredibly cute to watch.

-If you have two or more hammies, let them race! It's good for their fitness and also great fun to watch.

-Do not force your pet onto the wheel - they may not want to use it at first, so just leave them to discover it themselves.

-Do not leave your pet unattended with the wheel - your pets might hurt themselves if they fall off, or get stuck between the bars of the cage.

Common Problems

Keep an eye out for problems with using their wheel, which could include: 

-Hamster is injured when using the wheel  

-The wheel is off-balance, moving from side to side when being used 

-The pet stops using the wheel or does not use it regularly 

-The wheel starts squeaking a lot - this means that it needs oiling. 

9. Have fun! (again)

Once you have taught your hamster to use its wheel, you will have a lot of fun watching it run! Your hamster might show off by running backward or spinning around on the spot - just remember not to interfere with your pet's training. If you are having difficulty getting your hamster to run on the wheel, leave it for a while and try again later - it will learn in time!

10. Show off your new pet to the world!

Once you have taught your hamster to use its wheel, why not show off that cute little thing? You could put it into a small fish tank with some toys and take awesome photos.

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