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Old 07-24-2019, 06:39 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 1
Default Pretty sure my new Russian dwarf has cage aggression. Wondering if I'm doing the righ

I bought her around two and a half weeks ago now. She's the sweetest thing I've ever seen and I can't get enough of just looking at her. Unfortunately, it seems as though my sweet baby is showing some signs of cage aggression. I noticed some peculiar behaviours that seemed out of character from the typical shy, cautious hamsters so many owners have in the beginning. She:

Chases my hand

Leaps at my hand

Stands upright with paws to chest (apparently this is a defensive/threatening pose?)

Chatters her teeth together quietly sometimes (I read online that this is a warning sound?)

Attacked her wheel twice after running into it while trying to chase my hand

These are pretty big signs of territorial hammies right? I haven't attempted to hold her yet because I'm a bit scared. I've had two hammies (robos) in the past who I never held (not because they were aggressive, rather I was scared) but they learned to appreciate my presence, and admittedly I was hoping to get over my slight fear of holding them with my new Russian dwarf but it looks like I won't have much luck.

I don't mind, I love her regardless but I am worried that simply being around her causes her distress. Whenever she hears my voice she starts going a little wild, and I'd hate to think it frightens her. Do you think she'll at least learn to accept my voice?

Her enclosure is twice the size of the standard requirements, she has all natural wooden toys and hides, about 6-7inches of carefresh bedding and an appropriately sized wheel. I scatter feed her and alternate with fresh veggies once a week. She has a large deep sand bath for digging. I have seen no signs of boredom or distress when left to her own devices.

Just looking for some advice. Even your own experiences or if you think I'm misreading her behaviour. I want my sweet girl to be happy. I am of course crestfallen but her comfort comes first. If she's happy then at the end of the day so am I, but if anyone can help or at least normalise my experience I'll feel a lot better.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:34 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 3,097
Default Re: Pretty sure my new Russian dwarf has cage aggression. Wondering if I'm doing the

To me although behaviour looks like aggression it may be due to fear or stress especially as you haven’t had her for long. Some hamsters won’t allow you to place your hand in their cage when they are unsure of you as they are fearing you as a potential danger to them so these behaviours are her way of telling you to leave her be - usually when they learn you aren’t threat they become accepting of your hand in their cage.
With my own experience I found hamster like this often behaviour completely differently outside their cage. However I would leave her alone for a week before starting taming just to give her time to settled into her new cage.

Usually an easy way to pick them up when they are unsure of your hand is using a mug or a cardboard tube - use treats as a way to encourage her to go in, the first few times don’t lift it up and once she starts going in on her own accord raising it slightly. Once you have her out of her cage you can try handling her - you can also use a playpen and sit in their with her so she get more familiar with your scent - and see what she like being handled once she seems more relaxed with your presence.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:48 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2019
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Default Re: Pretty sure my new Russian dwarf has cage aggression. Wondering if I'm doing the

Try getting a bigger cage and bigger everything even though there already big like really big, try to be more present around your hamster get over your fear, but if your hamster gets too stressed then stop, maybe your hamster comes from an abusive place where ever you got her and robos tend to be more active anyway, and try hand feeding her more, like more treats, or watch a video on how to train a hamster and I recommend "Victoria Rachel, Erinsanimals and Muncies place their videos are amazing and if you need more just subscribe to as many youtubers and experts as much as possible, and go to other forums as well as this one like Hamster Hideout and many more and research as much as you can, and if all things fail try going to a vet.
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:08 AM   #4
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Location: Cornwall, UK
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Default Re: Pretty sure my new Russian dwarf has cage aggression. Wondering if I'm doing the

Most Russians that are cage aggressive are fine being handled outside of their cages. Just use a mug or something similar to lift her out. She’s still settling in though so she’ll most likely calm down a bit as she gets used to your voice and scent etc.
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