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Old 12-29-2016, 06:00 AM   #1
Amy S
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Join Date: Dec 2016
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Default Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

Hi all

Hoping you can help

We got our hamster Sooty back on the 5th of November. Still to date we are struggling to attempt to train him. He is so frightened that whenever he is awake, he will not come out of his bed to see us on an evening. If we do catch a glimpse of him, he jumps back into his bed straight away. Any ideas on how we can gain his confidence? I have bought a new cage for him, it is very similar to his cage which he has now just a lot bigger so hopefully will bring him out of his shell a bit more

Any advice would be appreciated

Thanks
Amy
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:08 AM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

Hi & welcome to HC.

Sorry to hear you're struggling with Sooty, some hams do take longer to gain confidence than others so don't get too disheartened just yet.
Which species is Sooty?
Some hams will get more nervous in a larger cage so it might not be the best thing just yet, what cage is he in right now & what kind of set up do you have? Some syrians will do better in a larger cage with more to explore but not all so it's not always an easy decision to make.
If there's too much open space they can find that intimidating.
Have you done the tissue trick with him, putting tissue up your sleeve for a few hours then putting that in the cage & repeating it each day for a while so he can really get used to your scent, that normally helps a bit.
What kind of house does he have?
As it's been quite a while now you may have to encourage him a bit more, he needs a nice nest but maybe not somewhere he can easily hide away completely all the time.
Have you tried setting up a routine time & gently rustling the bedding to let him know you're there then offering a treat, if he's too scared to take it you can just leave there so he begins to associate you with nice things not scary things!
I always spend lots of time just talking quietly to mine even when they hide so they get used to my voice too.
It's hard to know what else to suggest without knowing a bit more about what you've done & what his current cage etc is like really.

ETA I forgot to ask about cleaning, how often & how much have you been cleaning his cage?
A small cage does need cleaning more often than a larger a one but over cleaning can be very stressful & make them much more nervous.
It's best to just spot clean where he pees then do partial cleans ever few weeks always leaving at least some of the old substrate, nest & food hoard, you can replace the food hoard with fresh mix if it's a bit old or any veg or perishable food is in there.
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Last edited by cypher; 12-29-2016 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:54 AM   #3
Amy S
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

Hi

Thank you for your reply

Sooty is a Syrian and is currently in the Rosewood Pico cage. I have just bought the XL version. The pick cafe comes with a house which has a Lid which can open from the outside for easy access. With the standard cage, there is a tube leading from the house into the rest of the cage. He does spend a lot of time either hiding in there or sticking just his head in it and looking out. With the bigger cage, there is no tube which is a bit better. Sooty has literally just picked up all of the tissues for his bedding with my scent on. I have done this quite a few times to get him used to it. Sootys cage has a basic set up with a wheel, food bowl, water bottle, two wood toys, toilet, cardboard tube and a cardboard box filled up with wood shavings to dig in and search for food.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:05 AM   #4
cypher
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

Tubes & new hams really don't go together, it's a shame so many cages have them as they can be a real barrier to taming making it hard to get to your ham without stressing him so a change of cage may well make things easier for you & him.
Is the new cage you've bought this one? If so I'm afraid that really isn't suitable for a ham either, they do much better with a larger floor space & maybe a shelf or too if the cage is high enough but not high levels with little space like that.
The house is far from ideal too, you really need a house with no base on the floor of the cage.
If you could possibly return the cage you can get some really good suitable ones from zooplus, the barney & alaska cages from there are good & used by many members here.
Sorry I messed up that link but it should be right now!
Maybe have a look through here to get some ideas for a good syrian set up.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:19 AM   #5
Amy S
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

Yes I can take this new cage back no problem as I am waiting on it to be delivered. The Alaska cage looks good, may have a look into that one a bit more. Do you have any other recommendations for cages? I try and clean his whole cage out about once a week but I leave some used bedding behind for him.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:28 AM   #6
souffle
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

I would strongly suggest this type of cage Amy
https://petnpony.co.uk/products/ferp...A#.WGU4IfmLSM8
The hammy will feel protected by the sides and the access is great with the wide opening lid. You should not put any enclosed hidey holes in there. We would use only a cardboard box with the bottom cut out and some windows and doors. A good sized wheel, deep bedding and some loo roll tubes for a nervous hamster. Intense taming at least 3 sessions a day is needed. Start by waking him and taking off the lid in a safe spot then stroking his back. Move on to the lift and lay the eventually to the running him through your hands. You must try and be confident with him. He will feel more secure then. Keep him low over a bed or your knee with a towel on your lap. Once you get the hand to hand running with your hand like a tunnel so he can feel your hand all round his body you are well on the way to taming him. Just don't fill the cage up too much for now. Even a smaller bin cage is good for taming and the access must be really good so you can get them out without too much stress.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:07 AM   #7
Amy S
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

Hi

Great ok thank you

I will have a look into different hamster cages for him and see if I can get them any cheaper. I just want Sooty to be happy and at the moment his cage situation isn't helping. With regards to taming him, would you recommend to do the hand on the bottom of age and treats in palm etc before the above
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:21 AM   #8
souffle
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

No I would not let him do it in his own time in this case because I think he is too timid to come out for treats and he may end up biting you due to fear. We have tamed hundreds of hamsters and you can gauge what they need. He needs intense taming and almost forced handing in my opinion. It won't take long
I took some pictures of this little one who came to us very scared and biting. I warn you it does end very sadly but she left her legacy in that she became tame and the pictures sort of show the process.
Sparkle's last chance

Last edited by souffle; 12-30-2016 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:10 AM   #9
Amy S
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

Hi Souffle

I am very sorry to hear about Sparkle, what a beautiful little hamster. We are going to try this technique with Sooty today and see how we get on. Fingers crossed!

Thank you

Amy
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: Attempting to train a frightened Hamster

When looking for a new cage for a Syrian, it needs to be big enough to fit a wheel of 10 - 12 inches, as Syrians can grow rather large and need a wheel they can run on while there back is straight.

Have a look at cage reviews and layouts to help you choose the best on to suit your hamster.
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