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Old 04-15-2021, 01:06 AM   #1
Dodo
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Join Date: Feb 2021
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Default stuck with taming

Hello everyone,

I would very much appreciate a bit of advice about taming my male Syrian Cloudy, who is now 5 months.
I got Cloudy from the pet store almost 3 months ago now, super scared and skittish. I was myself a 1st time hamster owner, so I was very unsure of myself and really scared of getting bitten (which is yet to happen thank god ). I made multiple changes in his set up in the 1st weeks as I was learning more about hamster care and I think that set us back as well in terms of taming.

Cloudy has slowly come out of his shell, he is now relatively confident and seems a quite happy hamster. He is in a Detolf with a multichamber hide, has an 11" wheel, sandbath, fresh veggies everyday, foraging stuff etc. He takes treats from my hand, generally accepts being stroked (I don't do it a lot though because I am not sure he is a fan). The thing he loves is out of the cage time. He sometimes literally runs to his little carrier when I present it to him, as he knows it means play pen or free roaming. He doesn't come onto my hand however and will not take treats if I lie my hand flat (though part of me thinks that is because I am not leaving itfor long enough...).

The other night after being back in his cage after play pen he wanted to go out again. For the 1st time I managed to gently scoop him out of his cage. Huge victory! But after a second he tried to escape my hands and started climbing my back (I was alone). I eventually managed to get him in his playpen by kneeling in front of it and he made a tiny jump from my head (yes he was on my head by then but I was very low haha) onto the playpen.

Yesterday I tried to scoop him again but he clearly didn't it so I didn't insist and brought out the carrier.

Any idea how I can go onto the next step with him? He is friendly and more laid back now, and I really think we could bond more and he would enjoy it (maybe I'm projecting...), especially as he gets older, but I am not sure what the next step should be. I'd like to offer him more out of the cage and free roaming time, but it is tricky with a hamster that is not completely tame.

Any help appreciated, apologies for the long post and thank you for reading!
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:43 AM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: stuck with taming

The vision of a you with a hamster on your head made me giggle!

I think your fear of getting bitten may hold you back a bit but you'll get over that once you can pick Cloudy up.

My two Syrian boys don't come onto my hand to take treats either because that's not something we've ever bothered with.

From a top opening habitat it is easier to let the hamster walk into something and he does that so no problem getting him out. A habitat with a big front door makes life easier because the hamster will simply walk out and they are usually easier to pick up because they want out.

I know what you mean with getting a hamster back in though. I have spent numerous 2ams on my hands and knees trying to catch and coax a freeroaming hamster i wasn't comfortable picking up yet.
Hamsters have bad eyesight and they're naturally weary from anything approaching from above so even now i only pick up a hamster when they can see and hear me, stroke them a little first, rustle with my fingers on the carpet before picking them up and have never been bitten.

I got there by doing the pick up exercises until they are comfortable with it which i may have mentioned on a previous thread so may be repeating myself, apologies if i do.

I put a hamster on my lap and stroke his back for a few sessions then move on to putting my hand lightly on his back and eventually cup my hand around his body. Once he tolerates that i lift him up briefly and increase the height over a few sessions. Then pick him up and put him down on repeat. Once he's fine with that i let him rin off then catch him before he runs off my legs and put him back to starting point on my lap and repeat.
Worked a treat with Henry and Rory but Rodney used to run off before i was able to catch him so i had to wait till he was hungry enough to walk into a jug with sunflower seeds in it before i could put him back into his cage.

You could work on scooping up the same way but i find that picking up from above is easier with a Syrian. I scoop up our dwarfs because they're just too small and wriggly to pick up any other way.

Hope this helps. Also keep in mind that some hamsters don't like getting picked up. I always think it best to have no specific expectations from a hamster and accept them for who they are and what they are comfortable with. I will always give it a try though and they soon let me know what's acceptable for them and what isn't.
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:36 AM   #3
Dodo
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Default Re: stuck with taming

Thank you Ria! Just to be clear: how do you manage to put them on your lap to stroke them without them running away? I could definitely put his carrier on my legs if I sit on the floor, bathtub or playpen, but I doubt he'd hang around much
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:09 AM   #4
Ria P
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Default Re: stuck with taming

Yes, Rodney especially legged it a few times at first. He's a rescue i thought i couldn't tame and it took a few weeks for him to trust me but he's so easy to handle now.

I try and keep them on my lap for as long as possible any way i can. I move my knees up, use my arms and let them walk from forearm to forearm so they're walking but not getting anywhere. I always sit on the floor in a hamster safe area. I do your trick as well and let them walk down my back but never had them on my head, lol.
They slow down a bit after a few sessions. I usually need to bribe them with a few sunflower seeds in their husks to sit still long enough to stroke them.
It's a bit of trial and error to find out what works best. I set up a hamster playground in the hall and sit on the floor which is a good and fun environment for taming sessions as well.
I think the more time they spend near you, smell you, feel you and hear you the more comfortable they become.

Doesn't work for every hamster of course and didn't work for my dwarf Ozzy. He's not shy or scared but doesn't like human contact or out of cage time. He's happy in his Hamster Heaven world which is fine with me.
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