Every owner of pet chinchillas wants them to be tame enough to pick up and hold. We’re no exception. However, chinchillas in the wild are prey for many predators and are conditioned to be cautious.
But all is not lost. With a little time and patience, you can tame your chinchilla enough so that it doesn’t run and hide when you approach. The trick is to reward good behavior with a treat such as a raisin. At the beginning, good behavior is something as simple as coming up to you when you sit still near them. Over time as your chinchillas become comfortable with your presence, you reward them for crawling on your hand or leg. Eventually they’ll get used to this activity too.
You may wish to someday move beyond taming your chinchilla and enter the realm of actual training. Like taming them, training starts off with simple tasks each of which are rewarded. For example, we’ve trained our chinchillas to return to their cage at a certain time every night where they’ll receive a treat. This is very helpful to us since it keeps us from having to chase them and it also means that we don’t unnecessarily stress our chinchillas from such chasing.
We’ve read about others that have managed to train their chinchillas to jump and roll on demand, but we’ve yet to see proof of such successes.