Bob sure does love a peanut!
I searched through the Hamster Central forums for how to get a hamster to warm up to you when it seems they just go back and forth. Bob is the moodiest creature I’ve ever known. Once again he was getting a little reclusive with me. So, then I saw a bit about the “bathtub training method” and this involves getting in your bathtub with your hammy (without water in it, duh) and setting it up of course before hand – and letting them free roam in there while you talk to them. This gets them familiar with your smell. Your voice. And as well gives them a positive experience of free ranging it with you there. Then they will make their way over to you and you continue to do this for several days in a row.
What makes me sad is how MUCH I want to spend time with my Bob and Strawberry. (My two Robos could care less if my hand EVER comes into their habitat – that’s just how that species is – they are the fish of the hamster world – for watching to enjoy instead of cuddling). But I just cannot spend the time with them that I want to. I always have a 2 year old or an infant vying for my attention. And there is chores. I have to keep my house up. I have to get dinner on the table. I have to bathe and I have to attend to the hamsters cages as well. A lot of this just results in hamsters in their balls and that is the extent of free ranging for them. And that doesn’t involve interaction from me.
Strawberry came to me tame. He wasn’t tamed by anyone at the petstore. He was just already tame in nature. He naturally enjoys me. I think we bonded immediately at the store. He’s “that” hamster. The one you have every so often that is intensely special? Yeah. So, though I don’t get to play with him one on one as much as I would if I didn’t have two little humans that need me more – he stays tame. He stays the same. Doesn’t run from me. Runs TO me. Lets me cuddle and seems very content with being held in my hands for good periods of time. Perches on my shoulder and plays in my hair – that sort of thing. So, Bob being moody and nowhere near like that makes me so sad!
So, today my husband was off work because he is working tonight as a favor. Long story. Anyway, I was able to get the free time to get in the tub with a little set up of my son’s bathtoys – a ship with shapes for windows big enough for Bob to climb in and out of. And I grabbed a toilet paper roll that had been set aside for the Robo’s (and Bob actually squeezed through that thing! He’s all hair that guy – looks way bigger than he really is I realize now). And I had a towel in there set up like a mountain. And I sat at the end and he just really enjoyed himself. He warmed up super much to me.
Not to mention I always have his favorite treats so he associates my voice and hand with something pleasant. He’s getting now to where he’ll come up to my hand to take a treat. But he can still be moody about that.
I’ve only had him since mid-August. I’ve read Syrians can take up to 3 months to really tame. Probably if you have a busy life with only a wee bit of time to spend with them one on one.
A lot of people get pets and have no time to spend and they just sort of give up and not think much about it. But I YEARN to play with my hammys so bad. I feel so sad about it. It’s something I want to do more than my hobbies. I want to spend time playing with my hamsters more than I do drawing, or writing, or reading.
Now that is just plain sad. Because I COULD have more time with them if I sacrificed blogging or other internet ventures but the thing is – it’s not just my schedule. My hamsters have THEIR own schedule. So, my free time isn’t exactly THEIR free time you know?
BUT I’m making progress. I’ll continue to update on it.
PS – I could kick myself that I forgot to have my cell phone with me in the tub. I wanted to take a photo of the process but I was just so excited to have free time (with my husband wrangling the kids) with my hamster at a time where he was coming up to me in his cage being social and friendly – that I just didn’t even think about things like documenting with photos! I just wanted to play!