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Old 01-03-2017, 08:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I've had Mabel over a month now and after a totally disastrous attempt at a bath.... I'm really feeling discouraged. She still gets really upset when I handle her, hissing/popping/balling if I so much as twitch a finger around her. She doesn't trust me at all. Some days I think we're making a tiny bit of progress, and then we'll have a stretch of nights where she's so upset, she won't un-ball for a second and hisses the entire time. I've left used shirts in her cage, I've tried giving her treats (which she won't eat), I've been handling her every day.... I try to only pick her up when she can see me coming, but she still freaks out, so I feel like she's only getting negative associations with being handled..

Now I feel awful because I tried bathing her because she was getting smelly and I'd read that it can help with bonding -- and trimming nails because hers are quite long. It was awful, she was so scared she balled up and got her head entirely submerged. She's in my lap now while I'm letting her dry but I feel like I've undone any of the minimal progress we might have made....

What do I do next?
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It will work out. Be patient. Hold her until she stops hissing, listen to calm music. Relax, your hedge can feel your frustration. Keep her cage clean and let her eat her treats alone. Hold her in the afternoons until she stops hissing and uncurls then put her back in her cage and hide some treats. Make it fun, because hedgehogs are all different and she is skittish because of something. Is her home quiet? Is she eating healthy, her poo? Is she active? Is her home warm enough?
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You have only had her for a month, no more bathes till she is comfortable with you. Foot bathes, hedgehogs don't care if they smell.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It also helps to talk to your Heggie so it can get used to your voice.
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Old 01-03-2017, 10:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Keep an eye on her for the next few days to make sure she's not sneezing or having a discharge from the nose, since her head was submerged she could get a URI.

Be patient and never put her down when she acts up and talk to her even when she's in the cage so she gets used to your voice.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Salt&PepperHedgie View Post
It will work out. Be patient. Hold her until she stops hissing, listen to calm music. Relax, your hedge can feel your frustration. Keep her cage clean and let her eat her treats alone. Hold her in the afternoons until she stops hissing and uncurls then put her back in her cage and hide some treats. Make it fun, because hedgehogs are all different and she is skittish because of something. Is her home quiet? Is she eating healthy, her poo? Is she active? Is her home warm enough?
Thanks so much for your reply... I do most of what you described above already, minus the treats because even leaving them in her cage, she won't touch them. She seems pretty healthy -- big appetite, runs marathons every night, and the house is usually quiet. She's got her CHE heater and I run a space heater nearby when the temperature dips.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Just be patient and keep working with her. I like to softly sing or talk to my Hazel in the evenings while I'm near her cage. I let her wake up slowly by carefully peeling her blankets away, while talking softly to her. I'll let Hazel sniff my hand, and then slowly scoop her up. Hazel still huffs and rolls up a bit, but now she comes out quicker to investigate and run around.

Another thing I like to do is lay a towel on my bed (for any poop or pee accidents), put Hazel and some little toys on the bed, and then I lay there with my arms forming a big circle around her. Hazel will wander around, check out her toys, and wander up to check me out as well. It's a lot of fun!

From what I've heard and experienced, hedgehogs can take awhile to get used to their human friends. Even then, they may always huff or puff a bit. But be patient and you'll be rewarded eventually!
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am in the same boat! I've had Scooter for 2 months now. I have found when he is balled up, I talk very softly and gently blow on him. He gets curious about the smell and once he opens I use a treat to get him to relax. Once he starts to munch, he is in a much better mood and will hang out for a bit. I also started leaving a radio/tv on a lower volume during the day when I am not at home. I have noticed this helps with amount of popping.

First time bath was interesting. I find very shallow water and something for him to grip on helps. Once his feet touch the bottom of the sink, he relaxes.

Just know you aren't alone. I'm right there with you. I made some fleece pouches and use that for cuddling. Progress is being made but not near as fast as I'd hoped.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everybody for the reassurances.... It's really reassuring to hear that other people also have hedgies who are slow to come around... A lot of threads I was reading about bonding with new hedgies made it sound like I should be seeing so much more "improvement" between us. I love my little girl to bits, so it just tears at me to see her so upset when I try to hang out with her.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Seriously don't worry about it! Every hedgehog is different, and there is really no set time that bonding should take. Don't feel worried by the fact that many had faster success because there are just as many cases that took owners much longer than a month to gain their hedgehog's trust. By the sounds of it you're doing an awesome job with her, and I'm sure she'll warm up to you soon if you keep at it as you have been.
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