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Old 10-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My hedgie hates us =[

So we made some progress last night (day two) when after an hour of coaxing he partially unquilled a bit, but everything would set him off so he'd quill up into a ball pretty much every couple of minutes. His poop was finally normal yesterday, but then today when I woke up it was green again so I'm afraid that our play date last night really scared him. I don't know what to do. I've put my scent in the cage, I gave him mealworms while we played last night, I just feel like I'm just traumatizing him. My boyfriend thinks it's a good idea to just leave him be for a couple of days, but he was so unusually friendly when we picked him out I'm just afraid to unsocialize him by leaving him alone.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I love our little guy so much, I don't know what to do =[

(sorry to be blowing up the forums lately, I really appreciate it, you guys :] <3)
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
(day two)
Any positive expectations on Day 2 are almost surely unrealistic. Poor thing. He's just left everything he's ever known. Probably just a little baby also? He is behaving absolutely normally. [Deep breath.]

Negative expectations on Day 2 are absolutely realistic. See? Everything is normal. [Deep breath.]

Quote:
after an hour of coaxing he partially unquilled a bit, but everything would set him off so he'd quill up into a ball pretty much every couple of minutes.
Back way off on the coaxing. Get him out; put him in a safe place right with you (for example, inside a hedgie sack placed on your lap); and then do nothing. Just let him get used to being taken out of the cage; put in a safe place; and allowed to associate this routine as a safe and normal thing. This is as much as you want right now. This is a win right now. [Deep breath.]


Quote:
His poop was finally normal yesterday, but then today when I woke up it was green again so I'm afraid that our play date last night really scared him
Not to worry. Continue to monitor; keep notes; but this is normal. [Deep breath.]


Quote:
I don't know what to do. I've put my scent in the cage, I gave him mealworms while we played last night, I just feel like I'm just traumatizing him.
Keep putting a freshly-worn t-shirt in the cage. Keep getting him out on a regular schedule for a period of time that is expected to be routine He's just going to have to be 'traumatized' for a while and that's the way it has to be. Think "new baby just home from hospital". [Deep breath.]

(I would be really cheap on the mealworms. They just aren't going to help that much right now.)


Quote:
My boyfriend thinks it's a good idea to just leave him be for a couple of days,
No, no, no, no, no. Establish the routine from the start. Get him out at regular times, for typical amounts of time. Help him feel safe by letting him be in his own own little burrow on your lap. Establish the routine and spend the time every day. It's process. Think in terms of weeks and months, not hours and days.

Quote:
but he was so unusually friendly when we picked him out I'm just afraid to unsocialize him by leaving him alone
Your instinct to stay the course is correct. Just lower your expectations / hopes by a lot. It could take a long time, but I wouldn't be surprised to see enormous progress pretty quickly. You just can't expect that progress. You can only create the circumstances that make it possible / likely. Leaving the guy (the little baby) in his cage 24/7 ain't gonna do that. It gets harder before it gets is easier. [Deep breath.]

If you got him from a good breeder that invests a lot of time in socializing their animals, improvement will happen more quickly and easily. If not, it will take longer.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by GoodandPlenty View Post
Any positive expectations on Day 2 are almost surely unrealistic. Poor thing. He's just left everything he's ever known. Probably just a little baby also? He is behaving absolutely normally. [Deep breath.]

Negative expectations on Day 2 are absolutely realistic. See? Everything is normal. [Deep breath.]



Back way off on the coaxing. Get him out; put him in a safe place right with you (for example, inside a hedgie sack placed on your lap); and then do nothing. Just let him get used to being taken out of the cage; put in a safe place; and allowed to associate this routine as a safe and normal thing. This is as much as you want right now. This is a win right now. [Deep breath.]




Not to worry. Continue to monitor; keep notes; but this is normal. [Deep breath.]




Keep putting a freshly-worn t-shirt in the cage. Keep getting him out on a regular schedule for a period of time that is expected to be routine He's just going to have to be 'traumatized' for a while and that's the way it has to be. Think "new baby just home from hospital". [Deep breath.]

(I would be really cheap on the mealworms. They just aren't going to help that much right now.)




No, no, no, no, no. Establish the routine from the start. Get him out at regular times, for typical amounts of time. Help him feel safe by letting him be in his own own little burrow on your lap. Establish the routine and spend the time every day. It's process. Think in terms of weeks and months, not hours and days.



Your instinct to stay the course is correct. Just lower your expectations / hopes by a lot. It could take a long time, but I wouldn't be surprised to see enormous progress pretty quickly. You just can't expect that progress. You can only create the circumstances that make it possible / likely. Leaving the guy (the little baby) in his cage 24/7 ain't gonna do that. It gets harder before it gets is easier. [Deep breath.]

If you got him from a good breeder that invests a lot of time in socializing their animals, improvement will happen more quickly and easily. If not, it will take longer.
*Phew* okay, so we're doing things relatively right, okay. By coaxing, I meant just that, I left him in my lap and sat absolutely still for about half an hour until he was comfortable enough to uncurl and start moving about.

I will continue doing things as I have been. I just felt so awful forcing him out of his cage and making him so scared like that =[

he's also afraid of like....EVERYTHING. Sounds, movement in another room. I just have to sit and be perfectly still for him to even uncurl a little bit. I know it's normal for him to be so scared now compared to how nice and friendly he was it's just a little unnerving how different he is. I'm like starting to worry that maybe he's sick or I've done something wrong.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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GoodAndPlenty already said everything that needed to be said. This post is pure reassurance.

You're doing fine. Keep taking him out, plopping him on your lap, and leaving him be. Watch a movie or your favourite tv show with the lights down low, let him stay covered up, and just enjoy having a tiny living creature nearby.

If he doesn't make a mess (pee or poop), keep using the same blanket/snuggle-sack during playtime for a full week, getting it nice and hedgehog-smelly so it smells like him. Try to make sure you smell as similar as possible, too -- wash your hands with the same soap, wear the same pyjama pants during cuddles, whatever is realistically feasible.

When you have to do your first batch of laundry and cleaning, try to spread it out over a few days so he's always got a few things that still smell "right." (Like, switch the liners one day, but leave all his blankets/snuggle sacks/teddy bears until a day or two later.)

He'll grow accustomed to his "new normal" so slowly while you're going through it, and faster than seems possible in retrospect. Leaving him alone, then trying to socialize him later after he's gotten used to being alone, will just traumatize him all over again!

The really frustrating bit is that right when you do start to make progress, he's going to start quilling and be extra-miserable!
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Annie&Tibbers View Post
GoodAndPlenty already said everything that needed to be said. This post is pure reassurance.

You're doing fine. Keep taking him out, plopping him on your lap, and leaving him be. Watch a movie or your favourite tv show with the lights down low, let him stay covered up, and just enjoy having a tiny living creature nearby.
He seems to be super afraid of sound. Should I watch TV on low or just sit in silence for a bit, so as not to scare him?

Quote:
When you have to do your first batch of laundry and cleaning, try to spread it out over a few days so he's always got a few things that still smell "right." (Like, switch the liners one day, but leave all his blankets/snuggle sacks/teddy bears until a day or two later.)
That's one thing I haven't been good about. I've been moving things in his cage around a lot, trying to find the most space efficient way of organizing it. It never occurred to me that that might mess him up. I also never would have thought of not washing everything at once. SO, I will definitely do that.

Quote:
The really frustrating bit is that right when you do start to make progress, he's going to start quilling and be extra-miserable!
His six month birthday is in 3 days, do you think he still has some quilling to do???
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh! I didn't realize you got yourself a teenager! No, he should be all done with quilling then, my mistake.

Pick what you want your "normal" to be like. My little guy moved into an active recording studio, so he had to learn to sleep his first afternoon while someone was recording a vocal solo mere feet from his cage. Maybe he tolerates noise better by personality, or maybe it's a pure survival instinct of, "Eh, all these noises haven't killed me yet..." He actually seems to love nice low rumbly bass lines, including vfx explosions!

I've read in the archives about some more timid hedgehogs starting at every sound, and people usually write in with advice about having some sort of steady background noise (music, tv) so that noises are less startling than they would be in total silence. I don't actually have experience with that so I don't know if it works or not.

I didn't figure out the smell thing until one day I accidentally washed EVERYTHING in one go, and watched him run around totally confused and even hiding on his wheel shaking. I felt so bad! Since then, unless I have reason to suspect mites or another full-decontamination-inspiration, I wash the hard-plastics one day, replace all the soft-fabrics the next day, and always have a days-old smelly snuggle-sack (as in, if I wash everything else on the weekend, I swap out the snuggle-sack on Wednesday).

Last edited by Annie&Tibbers; 10-15-2013 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well I guess you wouldn't because I keep calling him my baby, hahaha. My fault!! He'll always be my little baby

That's a super good idea! I'll just play some soft music or something at night time!!!

Oh I feel much more positive about tonight. I can't wait to get out of work and go home and try again.

Thank you thank you you guys!!!
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Feel free to talk to him and reassure him when he huffs, puffs, and quakes in fear. Although for the moment he's terrified of sound, eventually your voice will be as much a part of identifying "you" as your smell is.

I coo to my little friend each night as I wake him up in a steady litany of, "You're ok, it's just me, you're ok..." as he huffs and tries to tell me that it is clearly NOT okay, thank you very much. My co-keeper opts for the longer, yet just as accurate, "No one is going to eat you, calm down" as his key-phrase. I'm sure tiny friend doesn't understand English, but while our voices were yet another fear-trigger in the beginning, now we've transitioned to him going from "OMG!QUILL-BALL OF DEATH!!" to "I'm huffing, but it's too much effort to raise my quills." when he hears us talking to him.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've started trying to do that a bit, but mostly while he's sleeping. I was thinking about waking him up and reading to him for a little bit before taking him out. I reading to him while he's on my lap.

hahahahhaha NO ONE IS GOING TO EAT YOU, CALM DOWN.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mellykins View Post
So we made some progress last night (day two) when after an hour of coaxing he partially unquilled a bit, but everything would set him off so he'd quill up into a ball pretty much every couple of minutes. His poop was finally normal yesterday, but then today when I woke up it was green again so I'm afraid that our play date last night really scared him. I don't know what to do. I've put my scent in the cage, I gave him mealworms while we played last night, I just feel like I'm just traumatizing him. My boyfriend thinks it's a good idea to just leave him be for a couple of days, but he was so unusually friendly when we picked him out I'm just afraid to unsocialize him by leaving him alone.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I love our little guy so much, I don't know what to do =[

(sorry to be blowing up the forums lately, I really appreciate it, you guys :] <3)
If it helps you AT ALL, I brought my hedgie home just a couple of days before you seem to have gotten yours and there has already been enormous improvement. Hang in there. You're doing all the right things. You'll get to see your baby's personality very soon as long as you're consistent with what you're doing right now!
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