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Old 09-24-2014, 07:08 PM   #1
tomig
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Default scared chinese dwarf

ive had him for about 5 months now and he doesn't really come out when we are around or if the lights are on. I feel like he has a good home, I try to keep him with things that he might like to play with. recently ive moved him into a new bin cage its pretty open. I plan on making a dig box soon and im working on litter box training, ive given him two options for litter box training a sand bath and a little critter house. he really enjoys the sand bath(playing in it). but I need to have him more comfortable with being out and about for a little interaction. hes taken peanuts and such from me but that's as far as he'll go. he does not enjoy being in a ball. i feel i may never see him again if he has something to completely hide away in. how do i let him know he doesn't need to be scared?
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:35 AM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

Hi & welcome to the forum
Chinese hamsters can be very timid & are very easily startled so gaining their confidence can take a long time.
You say the new cage is pretty open which may be making your ham more nervous, mine likes to have lots of places to run & hide if she gets scared & very deep substrate to burrow into.
I just spent a lot of time talking to mine to begin with, always approach her cage slowly, even now she's tame so as not to suddenly startle her.
I really don't think you can rush it with these hams, you just have to go really slowly & gently & let them get to know you at their own pace.
Hope that helps a bit.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:04 AM   #3
cypher
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

A couple of things forgot to mention, do you scatter feed or bowl feed? I find scatter feeding helps to entice them out into the open for longer giving you more of an opportunity to be around them. If he's used to a bowl you can do both.
Also mine loves to climb, not sure how you can do things in a bin cage but mine has a lot of ledges & hanging toys which she loves, again it means she's out in the open more, otherwise I think she might just spend the whole time burrowing & I wouldn't see much of her at all!
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:05 AM   #4
Almiraswolf
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

My Chinese hammy is very similar, she does hide in her little wooden cabin a lot of the time she is awake in the evening but she will come out when I offer her a mealworm. I find it helps if I take the top part of the enclosure off (its a Ferplast Duna Multy) so I can come down to her level rather than loom over her with just the lid part open.

Have you tried offering your hammy any fresh veg such as Romaine lettuce? My hammy always comes out when she smells fresh food

Sometimes it can help your hams confidence if you just have you hand sat in their enclosure for a while - even if they dont always come over and investigate it shows them that nothing bad will happen when you are about. Ive also found that when it comes to needing to take hammy out of the enclosure, its easier/less stressful if you encourage them to climb into a cardboard tube to lift them out.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:10 PM   #5
tomig
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

Ok well I will get started on his dig box soon. I have things for him to hide/sleep in but I admit that its not so deep, deep enough for him to tunnel and hide, im still working on getting his popsicle shelf hung in his cage. Also I have the shelves from his old cage(it was a two story) And ive made things for him to climb on out of toilet rolls and sticks and even a hemp string type of climbing thing. Ive gotten one of those hanger kit things from the pet store the little wooden balls didnít have the holes all the way through them, so I just placed them in his cage with the wicker type ball I put mealworms in he seemed to like them last night. I do scatter his little treat type things but im going to assume you mean his actual food to be scattered around? Yes its usually in a bowl. I do talk him say his name and such the times he has been out he will stand up and look at me but he will run away sometimes. Thank you for helping me with this
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:11 PM   #6
tomig
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

So I've read on this site about people starting out by waking their hams up with making a bit of a noise about their cages messing with food and water then give them time to wake up and do their thing before messing with them. Since my hammy never comes out then I should put some fresh food out to coax him out a bit?
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:21 PM   #7
Skeever
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

Hams tend to love routines, so getting him used to certain times when the noisy hand brings goodies is a good thing for them. They'll feel more secure with a schedule of sorts. They may change that schedule , but in the beginning, I was very strict on feeding times, and they got used to it, and came out for it to see what the plat du jour was
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:58 PM   #8
tomig
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

Ok! Thank you skeever!
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Old 09-26-2014, 12:23 AM   #9
cypher
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

Given the timid nature of the chinese hammies I'm not so sure the noisy routine would work so well as it does with the other hams, I think it might just scare them & cause them to hide even more. They are all different & individual so no harm in trying I guess.
Mine always knows when fresh food has been put out, even in her house which she usually buries under a few inches of substrate she can smell it & comes out really quickly if it's something she can't resist!
I'd be a bit careful with that string toy, it looks as though it might be possible for little feet to get caught up in it, the other one looks great though.
When I said talk to her I meant whenever you're near the cage so she gets used to your voice, even if she's not out she'll know you're around & she's still safe.
I did mean scattering her normal food yes but scattering treats is good too.
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:40 AM   #10
Almiraswolf
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Default Re: scared chinese dwarf

Sometimes it can take a little while for hammy to decide its safe to come out, even with the temptation of delicious treats/food.

My Chinese ham will sometimes peek out of her house when I start talking to her while getting a treat but then she ducks back in when I bring her the treat, so I start gently scratching at the substrate and continually talking to her. If she is still a little shy (all hammies have "off" days) I hold the food a little closer to her home and she usually pokes out to take it. Sometimes it can take a good 5 - 10 mins before she decides its safe to come out XD but persistence/patience is the key!
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