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Old 05-06-2022, 04:56 PM   #61
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

Raffy was no show last night for the first time.

Had quite a long session in the playpen tonight and I added a few more things - the donut bed (he did like most of them do, buried himself in it - but then being a chewer, tried to rip it to bits). And another wheel, so he had two wheels in there. He definitely seems more at home after two weeks and is looking more thoughtful and interested and relaxed in the playpen. Still zipping about but sat casually for a wash behind the wheel a couple of times.

I had one leg in the playpen and he had a chew of my shoelaces and climbed on my foot (then scent marked my foot! Rubbed his way all round it). He's got used to my foot being in there now.

I've been wearing gloves recently so I'm not nervous trying to handle him. But still can't handle him. He avoided my hands tonight although did manage to stroke him on the back a couple of times.

Anyway I thought - time we had a bit of proper taming. I nearly managed to pick him up cupping him between both hands but he panicked and pinged out. And I thought - need to bite the bullet here. I can't handle him in here because the playpen's too big.

So I put a cardboard box in the playpen and let him walk into that then turned it upright, and did a bit of attempted handling in there.

He really doesn't like hands. I did manage to carefully pick him up from behind (while he was trying to climb the sides of the box) so I could hold him hand to hand, but he was trying so hard to escape I couldn't hold him without having to hold too hard. So had to keep letting him go. Anyway did that a few times - so hopefully something will rub off. One time I tried to pick him up he pulled round and bit my glove. But not later.

Anyway I felt really bad afterwards as he seemed a bit stressed and sort of staying in one corner and doing funny little movements.

I think he has had some very bad handling in the past and it's going to be hard building trust to handle him easily.

But he did get lots of treats afterwards. Ate some pumpkin seeds from my gloved hand. Then stayed on his shelf looking at me after I put him back in his cage (I'm not quite sure if he felt more positive after the handling or if he was just guilt tripping me sitting there looking at me). So he then had a bit of cheese through the bars as another treat. Then I went to make some porridge and gave him a teaspoon in the cage with that on. He seemed to quite like the teaspoon!

Gave Pip some again as Pip appeared tonight! After two weeks hiding away.
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Old 05-06-2022, 05:28 PM   #62
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

Yes, i think you have to persevere and handle him as much as possible.
Would he walk out of his cage? Walk onto his door to get picked up as a means of getting out?
Maybe too soon but once he catches on that your hands are his taxi then he'll tolerate getting picked up.
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:34 AM   #63
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

Raffy continues to be as active as ever, out every night from about 8pm, unfazed by lights, TV and people. Desperate to get out of the cage door and come out every night (he climbs the door so it's hard to open it without him falling out ha ha. Hops straight into his snooze cube. Handling is progressing very slowly. Another time in the box was slightly better - he didn't try to bite. Had my gloves on and moved him from hand to hand. At one point I sort of turned him on his back while holding him (it just happened)and he then was quite calm actually. Didn't try to wriggle or escape and let me stroke him (while looking grumpy and wincing a bit). But he didn't try to bite. I think I need to keep progressing with that.

But is still scared of hands generally. He will sniff your fingers and accept a stroke on the back but any other attempt to touch him or pick him up and he pings or sees you off and threatens to bite. Very very jumpy at any hand movement. Time and patience. I can't quite see him every sitting still though! In the cardboard box I can pick him up from behind when he's trying to climb out to hold him and move him from hand to hand but not for long as he strains so hard to escape.
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:48 AM   #64
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

I was wondering how Raffy was doing. It is lovely to get an update. I love how he is up at 8pm every night.
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Old 05-19-2022, 05:38 PM   #65
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

So having thought I'd made progress I went without gloves the last 2 days. Tonight Raffy bit me again! And drew blood. Ouch. This is going to be slow progress.
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Old 05-20-2022, 12:01 AM   #66
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

Aw, that is a shame. I hope your poor hand is okay.
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Old 05-20-2022, 12:40 AM   #67
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
So having thought I'd made progress I went without gloves the last 2 days. Tonight Raffy bit me again! And drew blood. Ouch. This is going to be slow progress.
I wonder why he bites. That's quite unusual for a Syrian.
Must have to do with his past and rough handling by kids maybe.
Did he bite you when you picked him up?
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:27 AM   #68
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

Yes it's just like a scissor cut really on the top of one finger. Nothing serious but bled quite a bit!

Yes I think it's his history. Whatever that was. He does look a bit mean just before he does it - quite sort of grumpy. I don't get as far as actually picking him up!

On this occasion he was doing the thing of digging the carpet in the corner of the playpen. So I stroked him on the back and said no don't do that in a gentle voice. No reaction. He stopped then started doing it again. Did the same thing again, with the odd stroke in between. I then gently tried to guide him away with my hand on one side of him and he moved away then suddenly turned his head and bit me. It just seemed bad tempered really.

After that I didn't see him for a few minutes as had to go and wash my finger and put a plaster on. When I came back he was coming up to the side of the playpen and looking at me and meerkating and looking sweet as pie and I was talking to him and telling him that was naughty - he did seem to look a bit guilty! Then went off and ran in his wheel.

But each time he has nipped he has looked quite mean! Now when he is eating or chewing a chew stick in the playpen, he is quite happy to be stroked on the back! No reaction at all. He will also come up and sniff my hand and fingers from the front and just look interested.

I think with my hand edging round the sides he maybe thought I was going to try and get hold of him.

I'm kind of reluctant to go back to gloves because at some point he needs to get used to the scent of my hands holding him.

Wondering about doing out of cage feeding now. Instead of putting food in his food bowl in the cage, feeding him by hand when he's in the playpen. I've had to do that before with a hamster but for different reasons (that was with our first hamster who wouldn't come out, so he had a good reason to want to come out).

Of course then I risk being bitten when he's feeding from my hand!

I read about something like that somewhere else - the idea being if they bite when they're feeding from your hand, you withdraw your hand with the food. Obviously they do need food though, so I guess it's a case of trying that with gloves first if you have to keep putting your hand back in with the food on.

Can't see that would be good for too long as then they want to go and hoard the food in the cage. So maybe something to do towards the end of a playpen session before putting him back in the cage.
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:45 AM   #69
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

I got bitten a few times by various hamsters including very tame ones like Henry and Rory. Usually when they couldn't see me. Maybe that's the case with Raffy?

Yes, the carpet digging. They were all at it last night. No matter how big the space and how many toys, they still want to get beyond the barrier.
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:50 AM   #70
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Default Re: Raphael (Raffy's) Adventures

Have to say I've had the odd moment of wondering if he has some neurological damage but logically that's probably not the case.

He does the scent marking thing a LOT. In the playpen - especially inside a rat tube and the edges of the playpen. It's almost like he's circling in the rat tube. He also went like that after being handled that first time.

After seeing Pickle having that with his eye problem which was no doubt causing neurological things, it did remind me a bit. But I rationalized that, that that was just an upsetting memory and not the same situation.

But most of the time he's just running around like a hamster, he's young and probably just does funny things and likes to rub his scent glands against things.

It is a bit like he flips personality wise though. So I'm aware it could be some kind of brain trauma - either psychological or being dropped eg - or genetic, or behavioural from previous fear of hands or whatever.

Hopefully in time he will learn to trust my hands and time will tell if he has a split personality or not!

He was friendly from day one, in terms of coming over and looking at you, but not actually bonding with you if that makes sense. Which kind of contradicts being scared somehow.

I think he just needs time.
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