Can I train my small pet to walk on a lead?

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Some small pets can be trained to walk with you, using a harness and lead. As with all trick training start slowly and stop if your pet is not enjoying themselves. This can be an ideal way to allow your pet to explore outside safely!


Some of the easiest small pets for lead training are Rats and Ferrets. Make sure you supervise your small pet all the time to prevent them injuring themselves on the lead or eating something they shouldn’t whilst exploring.

Mice & Gerbils
– these are too small to walk on a lead but can be trained to do plenty of other tricks (see our mouse training article)

Rats – Rats are normally very happy to walk on a harness and lead as long as they have been trained from a young age. They will happily explore for hours and walk next to you like a dog.

HamstersSome larger hamsters can be trained to walk on a lead – others are not so keen. Try it with your hamster and if they are not happy stop immediately as not all are willing to do this. Be very gentle as hamster’s bones are very fragile. It is best not to let children walk hamsters unattended.

RabbitsSome rabbits can be harness trained but this is very much down to the individual bunny as some hate it! Try it with your rabbit and see if they enjoy going for a walk. If not, you can always set up a run outside on the grass for them.

Guinea Pigs - Guinea pigs have a fragile bone structure and walking them on leads is generally not recommended. Their body shape also makes it easy for them to slip out of harnesses. Your guinea pig would be much happier if you set up a pen outside on grass with some obstacles for them to explore.

Ferretswill happily walk on leads and harnesses. Ferrets are very easy to train for this, especially when they realise that a harness being put on means it is time to explore outside!

Chinchillas – generally are not happy to be walked on leads and can become distressed. Aside from this their fur is very dense and they are more easily able to slip out of harnesses. Chinchillas hop and jump rather than walk like a rat or ferret which can result in them pulling or jerking on the lead which is uncomfortable for them.

Do you take your small pets for walks? Do you have any tips for harness training? Let us know via our Little Pet Warehouse Facebook page.

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