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Old 02-06-2019, 11:33 PM   #1
zenithchaos
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Question New hamster owner.. is it too late??

Hi all,

Really worried that i won't be able to repair my relationship with my ham (4 weeks together, he's around 3 months). i have a hard time not picking him up because he is so cute but i think he is afraid of me! he eats a treat or two out of my hand a day but won't crawl in it He runs away a lot and sleeps a lot but also uses his wheel and barely bites. I'm just worried he hates me and will never like me!! Tips?? Help
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:14 AM   #2
Pchatt
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Question Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

I am worried about the same thing! My Misti is about 4 months old too and she runs away from me every time I even come near her cage!
She barely eats or drinks anything. I have had her for almost a week now and I feel like I am doing something wrong!!
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:36 AM   #3
cypher
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

I'm sure your ham doesn't hate you but it is important to take your time with taming & bonding, don't try to rush things & be patient with him.
I wouldn't pick him up unless you really need to just yet, keep giving him treats from your fingers for a little longer & then go back to putting them on your palm, keep your hand still & wait for him to climb on, that may take a while as he gains confidence , if he doesn't take the treat or climb on to your hand after a few minutes just remove your hand & leave the treat there for him & try again another time, he'll soon get the idea.
Let him get used to walking onto your hands & walking over them for some time, a good few days of doing this at least, then you can try gently lifting your hand just slightly for a few seconds before lowering it again, gradually build up to lifting him for longer & he will get confident with that too.
Do you have a playpen or somewhere safe & escape proof you can take him to interact with him? They sometimes don't like hands in the cage & may prefer to just do their own thing in the cage but are happier interacting out of the cage, you can do short sessions to begin with when he's been awake for a little while in the evenings.
Just be patient with him.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

What species is he? Some species are more difficult to tame than others
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

alpacassei I think it's the Syrian with one eye that zenithchaos posted about before.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

It's time and patience It is so frustrating when you want to just pick them up and hold them. But you will get there. It took 2 months until our last Syrian was hand tamed. Set back by the fact I changed his cage cold turkey after 3 weeks and did a lot of things wrong! Also he was a pet shop hamster, not used to much interaction or being handled - or possibly handled roughly.

It is a wonderful moment when they are suddenly hand tame and trust you - and it may take a while but when it happens it can happen instantly. They just need to learn to trust that you're not going to hurt them, or steal their food and nest - and also get used, gradually to touch and handling.

Bath tub taming is the usual thing suggested. Have added a little video I did of how we tamed our last Syrian Charlie. It doesn't show a lot really but there are some written tips with the stages it took.

We did a couple of sessions a week with the odd tunnnel or toy in the bathtub (you don't have to have an Octopod!). They tend to just slither up and down the side of the bath trying to get out. Start by trying to gently stroke your hammy on the back with one finger while he's slithering up and down - just a second or two. If he jerks around as if to bit then wait and try again later. Maybe do this twice the first time. If your hammy does bite when you do that, or you're nervous he will, then use an old toothbrush to do the gently stroke (just one or two strokes) on his back. Until he gets used to it and stops jerking round as if to bite.

Then move onto a finger. After that you can try cupping your hand under him while he's walking around the bathtub. Just slide the palm of your hand under him and lift it 1cm or so but don't try to hold him - just let him walk off again. Next couple of times, do that the odd time. He will then be used to your touch and scent and realise it doesn't hurt.

From there you can move on to lifting the palm of your hand while gently holding him for a second or two and using your hands like a tunnel so they walk between one hand and the other. Just for a few seconds. After that you should be able to pick him up.

Bearing in mind they often don't like to sit still or be held for long anyway even after they are tame and used to you, and baby hamsters are very fast and active.

Setting up some kind of playpen for out of cage time can be good while they're young and zippy and you can sit in it too occasionally. That way they run all over you (as if you're an object) and get used to your scent.

Some hamsters are very scared of hands if they've ever been handled roughly by anyone. And as prey animals they are naturally scared of anything coming from above.

Also their cage is their territory and they often don't like a hand in their territory (and may run at it if they're not tame) - but they can accept a hand much better when they're out of the cage/their territory.

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Old 02-07-2019, 04:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

Forgot to add - a hamster ball is a good way of transporting them from the cage to the bathtub. I used to use a tube with a bit of food in that smells nice - eg cucumber - and put one end of the tube in the ball (ball outside the cage) and the bit of food at that end of the tube. And the other end of the tube in the cage - or over their house entrance.

They should walk into the tube to get the treat and into the ball. Then pop the lid on the ball. And carefully carry it to the (dry) bathtub. And gently set it down and take the lid off. I used to leave the ball in the bath as well (propped so the opening is on the side). Because our hammy often jumped into it when he'd had enough as a signal he wanted to go back to his cage.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:38 AM   #8
zenithchaos
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

Quote:
Originally Posted by cypher View Post
Let him get used to walking onto your hands & walking over them for some time, a good few days of doing this at least, then you can try gently lifting your hand just slightly for a few seconds before lowering it again, gradually build up to lifting him for longer & he will get confident with that too.
Do you have a playpen or somewhere safe & escape proof you can take him to interact with him? They sometimes don't like hands in the cage & may prefer to just do their own thing in the cage but are happier interacting out of the cage, you can do short sessions to begin with when he's been awake for a little while in the evenings.
Do you have recommendations for playpens? I couldn't find anything easily that seemed meant for hamsters as they're so small and i'm worried about him escaping still
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpacassei View Post
What species is he? Some species are more difficult to tame than others
He is a syrian!
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:43 AM   #10
zenithchaos
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Default Re: New hamster owner.. is it too late??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
It's time and patience It is so frustrating when you want to just pick them up and hold them. But you will get there. It took 2 months until our last Syrian was hand tamed. Set back by the fact I changed his cage cold turkey after 3 weeks and did a lot of things wrong! Also he was a pet shop hamster, not used to much interaction or being handled - or possibly handled roughly.

It is a wonderful moment when they are suddenly hand tame and trust you - and it may take a while but when it happens it can happen instantly. They just need to learn to trust that you're not going to hurt them, or steal their food and nest - and also get used, gradually to touch and handling.

Bath tub taming is the usual thing suggested. Have added a little video I did of how we tamed our last Syrian Charlie. It doesn't show a lot really but there are some written tips with the stages it took.


Thank you for this! I have definitely picked him up too early and am very scared that it will make it that much harder for him to bond with me. I am thinking I will give him a few more days of just eating out of my hand (yesterday I picked him up a little too long but this morning he ate out of my hand so he wasn't too cross with me!) before I try to take him to the tub maybe? I've now had him about a month and he will eat out of my hand but that is it. I am completely aware that it's on me that he's so skittish right now. He's also a pet store ham, and I totally cleaned his cage that way too! Ahh! The thing I think I'm stuck on is he will let me pet him while he eats and he will eat a few bites out of my hand but he won't crawl into it. I want to be able to name train him but I know that requires more trust, which I need to build slowly.
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