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Old 07-01-2013, 05:13 PM   #1
supacomboy
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Default HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

Hi, this is my first post hear, any advice or suggestions would by really welcome. Sorry for such a long post but I am a little desperate!!

I have a pet female syrian hamster called Bunny. Me and my girlfriend picked her up when she was 8 weeks old at the beginning of January. She is such an energetic and beautiful hammy!! After some research I got this cage for her;

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The Alexander cage is the biggest I could see and is a quality cage. But because of the design of the cage it was difficult to get an appropriate wheel. Initially I wanted to give her the biggest wheel I could find, a 28 cm wheel but due to the cage limitations I could only manage to get a 20cm wheel, believing this would be big enough. The wheel I have is this one;

link removed

I have removed the removable cover for her. It isn't fixed to the bars but on a stand, and getting a wheel that suits the cage may be tricky due to the horizontal bars. now my first problem is, in nearly six months she hasn't used her wheel, so any exercise she gets is limited to when we play with her or put her in her ball. What reasons may exist for her not using the wheel??

She has a few tubes but I don't really want to clutter her cage, but she never uses them. I once tried to take some out to rotate them so they seemed new but she isn't interested. One thing she does love to do though is dig so I make sure to give her plenty of saw dust, it must be about 10cm deep!! I bury plenty of food in there for her to find too. I occasionally give her monkey nuts to work her way through as a game too, and also she loves pedigree dentastix for dogs. I am really concerned though that she doesn't have much stimulation in her cage. Can any one suggest any really good hamster toys/ amazing wheel/ play items I could get for her?? We also once got one of the log bridges too but she didn't really use it much either. All though the Alexander is big, infact one of the biggest, I still wish she had a bit bigger cage too. I not to frequently used to get her out and watch her while she ran around the living room investigating everything, but now we have a dog so that will be difficult.

My second problem is having the dog around. The dog is a beautiful 8 month old Stafforshire terrier cross. They have a bad reputation here in the UK but he is such an amazing dog. He was found as a stray and abandoned in a derelict warehouse, and after 4 days of people hearing him crying, the paneling was removed from the windows to rescue him. He was taken to the local kennels, but he wasn't micro chipped. we put up an advert on lostdogs.co.uk, searched for adds put up, but no one contacted the adds or the kennels. The kennels are a local kennel and they said if no one took him they would have to put him down, so me and my partner took him. He is really affectionate, and has an amazing temperament and is completely house trained. He is playful with all other dogs, has no interest whatsoever in cats or birds, ignores all cats and pigeons in the street, and shows no interest in my hamster, no even sniffing her cage, infact when he is in the living room he is really placid and likes to lie on the rug or sneak on to the couch.!! But today when I got back home, I took my hamster out to play with and she was so timid and cautious, she seemed completely different, and it really took me by surprise!! It really shocked me and I hope she is o.k. Is it possible that she is scared of the dog and she can smell him?? The dog wasn't in the room when I got her out, but was just prior to that. We don't let the dog in the living room unless one of us is around just to be extra careful with the hamster. At night the dog sleeps in our room and the living room door is closed over (we can't have the hamster in the bedroom as the cage is too big!!). Can any one suggest why my hamster seemed so scarred?? My hamster Bunny is usually so lively and I don't want her to feel threatened constantly by Pongo's presence, I don't want her to feel unsafe in her own home!! Is anyone able to suggest anything that could help or explain the situation??

I hope she doesn't feel neglected or left out by us having another newer, animal that we have just brought into the home.

Any advice, suggestions or opinions would be amazing, and I would appreciate it very much. Sorry to have rambled so much, I've only just got home from work and it is late, but I hope it at all makes sense.

Thank you very much,

Johnnie
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:22 AM   #2
Gizmoandfriends
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Default Re: HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

I love the name Pongo!! Thats brilliant In my cages I give them millet spray, hammocks, hides, toilet roll tubes, that sort of thing, with tubes they will chew them up, also do things like hanging monkey nuts on sisal or cheerios on sisal, make it hard for Bunny to get her treats so she isnt bored

My animals (Hamster, Mouse, Gerbils) all get worried when they smell a dog, and soon she Bunny will calm down and get use to Pongo!
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:45 AM   #3
Nikkigrace
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Default Re: HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

Hi supacomboy, welcome to HC

Bunny may well be using her wheel, but hamsters are more active during the night and you therefore may not see her using it as you will be asleep. When all the lights are out and it's all quiet, she may be running to her hearts content! I would suggest leaving the wheel in as this is a great source of exercise and amusement for her.

With other suggestions for the cage, again with the tubes, she may be playing more during the night and actually making use of these things. You could give her some hammocks across her cage which she may like to climb on or lie in. There are a variety of toys available too, have a look on zooplus for some ideas. If she like digging the plenty of substrate is a definite and hiding food/treats for her to find will also keep her busy.

If she is getting plenty of out of cage time in her ball and handling from you and is active and lovely as you say then I'm sure she's absolutely fine.

With regards to the new dog, the new smells may have just unsettled her a little and she needs some time to adjust to them.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

If you look at this tread Let's see your cages (from January 2013) you might see other people's set up of Alexander cages and that might give you inspiration about Bunny's cage it is shame she can't have 28cm wheel as my Syrian girl just adores hers. She used to have 8.5" wheel but I upgraded to 28cm/11.5" wheel and she never too far away from it.
I have 2 dogs who are oblivious to existence of my hamster apart from when hamster ball knocks them while zooming around floor. However my hamster is very cautious about them. As soon as dogs enter her room hamster stops still sniffs the air and freezes few minute then moves on. This behaviour never changed even after 6 months. But I think that's just normal hamster behaviour towards other bigger animals. I'm sure your hammy will get used to the dog eventually but still will be cautious when dog is near by.
Good on you rescuing and giving nice home for poor abandoned doggy wish there were many others like you and your partner.
Best of luck with your animal kingdom

Last edited by Tutu; 07-02-2013 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:29 AM   #5
kyrilliondaemon
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Default Re: HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

Can you take a shelf out of the Alexander and put a 28cm wheel in that way? We have a few Alexanders and I know we could fit 28cm wheels in them if we removed a shelf (We just don't need to as its dwarf hams we keep in them)
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:49 AM   #6
GhostsInSnow
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Default Re: HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

I never put any of the wooden shelves in my Alexander and so can fit the 29cm Karlie Wonderland in. Plus I've got hammocks and chinchilla ledges and stuff in so Fudge can still climb about if she wants to
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:57 AM   #7
RedSky
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Default Re: HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

We also have a rescue staffy cross, he's 9 now but had him a similar age to yours. He used to love rodents until one of our rats nipped his nose, now he usually runs from them, but he is getting much better and will lay still while they walk around him. We would never trust him alone, the quick movements sometime spark a little interest but with us around he has never done more than prick his ears up and lean forwards.
All dogs are different but if he is uninterested then carry on your normal hammy routine and let her adjust to the new smell in the house. Must be very confusing for her, and scary but after a while it will become the new normal, just stick with it.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:17 AM   #8
Gizmoandfriends
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Default Re: HELP - Hamster scared of new dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSky View Post
We also have a rescue staffy cross, he's 9 now but had him a similar age to yours. He used to love rodents until one of our rats nipped his nose, now he usually runs from them, but he is getting much better and will lay still while they walk around him. We would never trust him alone, the quick movements sometime spark a little interest but with us around he has never done more than prick his ears up and lean forwards.
All dogs are different but if he is uninterested then carry on your normal hammy routine and let her adjust to the new smell in the house. Must be very confusing for her, and scary but after a while it will become the new normal, just stick with it.
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