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Old 02-03-2019, 06:09 AM   #11
mikatelyn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Cypher, I think it's working!!
It's a little hard to tell for sure because he seems to do better in the mornings anyway
He didn't come out until sometime in the early morning (he sleeps more whenever I mess with his cage) but I finally heard his wheel about 5am. I offered him kale and sunflower seeds. He'd take it and sort of scurry back into that magazine holder. But then he'd keep coming back out when i offered him more treats, and probably within 10 minutes he was exploring all over his cage and he started doing that looking up thing he does when he wants to come out and crawled right on my hand and now we're doing bathtub play time. He didn't do that zombie hammie thing for nearly as long, and when we went to the bathtub he didn't do his usual initial frantic thing. Usually the first trip he looks like he's trying to escape, so I take him back to his cage. Then a few minutes later he wants to come out again so then he's more settled and exploring rather than trying to escape.This time he just seems calmer and curious, and isn't shying away from my hands.
Here's a pic of him exploring his castle (yes, he has a castle. Two actually. This one was a Goodwill find, $2.50,I couldn't resist. He does sort of have me wrapped around his little paws.)

I took out the ladder. The divider doesn't extend the full width of the cage, so there's an area where the bedding naturally slopes down and that's where he's climbing up and down. I was thinking I'd glue tongue depressors to the ladder to turn it into more of a ramp instead to make it safer for him, so he has one more thing to climb and have fun if he wants.

I hope this keeps up and isn't a fluke!
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Old 02-03-2019, 06:50 AM   #12
cypher
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

That sounds great! He should continue to make good progress now.
He does look very cute in his castle
Glueing the sticks to the bridge should be fine, try to make sure it's not at too steep an angle to so he can easily climb without just sliding off.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:28 AM   #13
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Aww, Smokey is just TOO cute!!! I absolutely adore his photo in the adorable castle. He seems to be enjoying it tremendously. I'm so glad that his taming is going much better for you now. Btw, you weren't the only one who had to look up what monkey nuts are, lol. I did the exact same thing when I read about them on HC, too. I think it is just a term that we don't use in the U.S. Besides the other healthy treats suggested, you may also want to try dried mealworms (some Syrian's aren't as fond of them, but mine and a few others on HC always absolutely loved them) and broccoli for additional treats to help with taming. Seeds, millet, nuts, and whimsies are also greatly appreciated by Syrian's, too.
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Old 02-03-2019, 12:12 PM   #14
mikatelyn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Thanks!
I do love that HC is an international community. I've noticed a couple of unique terms that appear to be a British way of expressing things, that I do believe I will adopt into my vocabulary!

I'll have to stop back by the pet store and pick up more treats! I noticed he seems to like egg yolk too. I was worried he wouldn't be motivated to take food from me if he already had a lot of food in the cage, but quite the opposite he appears much more inquisitive and willing to take treats after following Cypher's suggestions (BTW, Thanks soooo much, Cypher!!)
One other thing I've noticed, he likes corn chex (well, Walmart knockoff brand anyway). I'd eat my cereal in front of his cage, and I think that's when he'd normally perk up. A few days ago I was short on time in the morning before work, so I decided to multitask and eat cereal in the bathtub while he played. I was distracted for a moment and he ran down my arm, stole a dry piece of chex from my bowl, and pouched it really quickly! It was rather hilarious. I of course googled it immediately, and it looked like the consensus was that this kind of cereal was safe for him. He seems to like it so much that I'll give him a tiny piece every now and then.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:12 PM   #15
mikatelyn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

I'm happy to report that the calm, friendly, dare I say tame behavior from this morning does not appear to have been a fluke. He went back to his normal wake up time this evening, and after a maybe 15 minute wake up process during which I bribed him with more treats, he climbed onto my hand to go play! Incredible. Thanks so much, Cypher! I can't imagine how many people and hamsters you've helped with your troubleshooting skills! I did wimp out on the cage cleaning, deciding that the odor wasn't quite that bad yet and I can give it a few more days to try and make sure he doesn't regress too much.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

That's such good news! I'm really pleased for you both
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:42 PM   #17
Charlie Dunn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Smokey is gorgeous and it is lovely to hear about the progress you are making x
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Aw what a sweet little hammy! Glad to hear that things are going well.
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Glad it's going better now Monkey nuts ha ha. I have no idea why they are called that in the Uk - maybe monkeys eat them in the jungle? I had a similar interesting experience when drawing up a list with an american friend to go camping - we exchanged lists - she had catsup and flashlight on her list and I didn't know what they were. I had ketchup and torch on mine and she didn't know what those were

It sounds like you've fixed the cage issues so it enables him to feel at home and have normal behaviours.

The Zombie hammie thing is kind of shock - if their nest or hoard has been messed with probably - and that can set trust back.

The next stage goes beyond taming and is bonding. When he bonds with you then it gets very special. Taming is really just them being easy to handle and pick up (and even then they will have it on their own terms sometimes) without running away or "pinging" (wriggling out of your hand and leaping 2 feet in the air).

I still often get our Syrian out in a tube or a little hide with a treat in and let him walk into that and then lift the tube/hide out (with my hands over the entrance until I can put it down in a safe place).

When he seems very tame you could even have him out on the sofa with you or on top of the bed, rather than the bathtub or playpen area - but needs constant supervision and best to have something blocking the edge so he can't leap off and run away (rolled up blanket eg) - just slows them down from escaping so you can pick him up before he disappears.

Coming out at night - this can be a bit of trial and error depending on the hamster. And ours still varies. With our last Syrian I found he was more active at certain times (and too fast when out of the cage) but more relaxed and dopey at other times (and would sit on the sofa and nap sometimes). 6 to 8pm ish he was very fast and active. 8 to 9pm ish he was more dopey and relaxed but had to be tempted out of the cage. Any time after 10pm and he was superfast (in night mode?) and almost impossible to hold for more than a couple of seconds!

Our current syrian only likes to come out about every third night - but he's older now.

Just try and leave the nest in place if you can. If it isn't soiled they will naturally keep refurbishing it - adding new bits of nesting material and sometimes chucking out some old substrate out of the door for you to take away They constantly move substrate around and replace old bits with new bits - quite busy little housekeepers. So keep putting nesting material out if it goes down, so there is always some there.

He is absolutely adorable by the way! And you have made massive progress - because if he was 4 or 5 months when you got him he would have become set in some habits and maybe got used to ignoring humans! When you have bonded he will naturally feel safe with you - an although he might want to to just be off playing in the pen/bathtub and doing his own thing, if he is on you and hears a scaring noise, he will cling to you for safety!
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:44 AM   #20
mikatelyn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Thanks for all the moral support and information! It's really helpful to read about everyone's tips and experiences.
I talked to the girl at Petco who sold him to me. She said they tend to get the hamsters at 8-10 weeks, but he had some kind of scrape on the top of his head so she had kept him in the back to make sure he healed up ok, and she thinks Smokey was there about a month before I bought him. So best guess, he was 3-3.5 months old when I got him, but it was probably another 3 weeks before I started trying to tame him in the bathtub, although I'd been regularly handling him (I've had him almost 2 months now). I was just lucky that he's not a biter, because based off of some of the other threads I've been reading on here, any other hamster and I probably would be missing a finger!

I'm glad to report he has not exhibited the zombie hammie behavior since I started both scatter feeding and providing more hiding places. He goes through a few minutes of wake up time, where he's more shy, but then will climb on my hand, so he's still making steady progress.

As for his nest, I just realized this morning that he's moved out of his tunnels and into the magazine holder under his wheel, so I hope this means when I clean his tunnels he doesn't go back into hamster shock!

I'm not sure if maybe he's starting to bond a little. I've constructed a makeshift play pen out of shelving boards on the sofa (see picture) so we can watch TV, and if he gets startled he'll run and sit right next to me, about 1- 2 inches away from my hip. And every once in a great while he'll get a little cuddly. He'll sit still or even nestle into the crook of my arm and look almost a little sleepy, and let me pet him for maybe 1 minute... which for him is like an eternity!
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