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Old 02-03-2019, 04:16 PM   #1
daven
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Southampton
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Default Confident but bites?

we've had lucky (female Syrian) for just over a month and I've been bitten a few times drawing blood. Lots of separate minor nips.

I use unscented soap, rub my hand in substrate, have tried taming in the bath and in a plastic box etc.

If I put my hand in the cage with a treat on, she eats the treat very confidently with no hesitation. She's not scared of my hand. I've tried leaving the hand in for her to climb on but she sniffs around a bit then bites. She's done it twice, once when I had been avoiding hand feeding for a few days too in case she'd associated my hand with food.

After the biting I tried a different tack and am now able to stroke her and pick her up from above using a careful grab. She tolerates being stroked, just basically ignores my hand or comes round to sniff it. If she's stretched out a bit (e.g. she spends a lot of time in the box or bath trying to climb the sides) I'll pick her up in a grab on her back half and she tolerates this fine but does scrabble to get out of my grip. If my hand is near enough her face I do think she would nip but she's not frantically turning to bite me if that makes sense. She seems like she doesn't want to be held but not frantically scared as my hand closes round her, like I had expected her to be.

I've also tried gloves (she wouldn't even eat off them) and am currently using a cut up drinks bottle as a scoop to encourage her to climb onto something that looks like my hand but that she can't bite.

I try and reward her with treat after she climbs into the scoop, or if I pick her up (scrabbling!) I try and put her down next to a treat.

my aim is to train her not to bite so that she can play out of the cage and be picked up safely.

My question is whether eventually she'll become comfortable with the grab? Does stroking and grabbing help with taming eventually?

I'm also continuing with getting her used to my hand with the bottle scoop idea. She eats something from the scoop then sniffs around my knuckles and wrist. At some point I guess I'll have to try without the scoop...

Thoughts from anyone who's experience has been similar to this would be very happily received! 🙂

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:02 PM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Confident but bites?

Have you tried her out of the cage yet?
If you can carry her to the playpen & interact with her there she will probably be less likely to bite.
Some can take a while to get over biting hands but will often only do it in the cage.
Take your time with her in the playpen, let her climb on you if she wants to, run over your hands & get more used to them gradually.
I wouldn't be in any rush to pick her up, young hams tend to be too full of energy to sit in your hand for long anyway! Once you have her out in the playpen if she climb on your hand you can try letting her run from hand to hand or make a tunnel with your hand for her to run through, little things like that will get her more comfortable with being handled over time.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:28 PM   #3
daven
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Default Re: Confident but bites?

Thanks for the reply, cypher.

I've tried her in the bath but she is still a bit nippy.

I don't think I've really given her chance to climb into my hand in the bath though so I'll pluck up courage to give it a go!

At the moment I don't even dare use a playpen because she climbs and jumps and is keen to escape! Once I'm more confident I can pick her up or redirect her without biting I'd love to get a playpen and do some hand to hand fun!

She's definitely getting better about being grabbed - let's hope it translates into being less nibbly when offered a palm ��
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:15 PM   #4
cypher
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Default Re: Confident but bites?

What playpen do you have? There are some that aren't escape proof for Syrians, I think the only one that is suitable is the Skyline Ranch Arizona Indoor Run or you can make one like this.

Do try & be brave! The more she gets used to your hands the less she's likely to nip you.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:15 PM   #5
daven
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Default Re: Confident but bites?

Thanks cypher. No play pen yet, I'd been looking at the wooden one you linked but maybe I'll make the boxes one!

Had lucky out in a little storage box tonight - she's fairly happy to be picked up from above now for a few seconds which is good. I'm daring to be a little closer to the teeth end when I pick her up as well now.

I did a few rounds of picking her up, putting her into a Pringles pot, then putting my hand by the exit so when she came out she walked over my back two fingers.

I plan to extend that until she's walking across the whole back of my hand to get out and then see if she'll climb onto it of her own accord from another obstacle.

I'll try and update fairly regularly because it's annoying that there are so many "help me tame my hamster" posts with no ending! ��
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:14 PM   #6
cypher
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Default Re: Confident but bites?

Well done, sounds like good progress!
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Old Yesterday, 07:34 AM   #7
daven
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Default Re: Confident but bites?

An update - I still persist in picking her up from behind after stroking. She doesn't seem to bat an eyelid now and I'm getting bravery with lifting her closer to her front. She will let me hold her for up to maybe ten seconds and then scrabbles a bit so I put her down. She very rarely shows any sign of reaching around to bite or scratch while I do this, which is good!

She's happy doing this from her cage (I only ever pick her up from the higher level so she gets a bit of choice!) or from her playpen.

About a third of the time I put her down by some treats so she gets a positive vibe.

I've also made a play pen which she seems to enjoy sniffing around.

I've carried on with the Pringles tube idea - she'll walk out over my hand giving it a sniff on the way.

Interestingly if I let her use her ball, which is transparent, and put it down in her cage with my hand in the way so she has to walk over it, she's not keen - sniffs and walks to the other side of the ball, trying to climb out the closed end!

I think doing this fairly regularly until she climbs into my hand from the ball willingly will be the stepping stone to me being confident (and her being confident!) to walk into my hand and eventually through my hands.
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Old Yesterday, 07:55 AM   #8
cypher
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Default Re: Confident but bites?

Lovely to hear that you're making more progress now & confidence is growing all round!
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