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Old 07-14-2011, 07:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unable to touch him

Sorry for the second thread creation today but after watching more hedgie vids on youtube I felt the need to make this thread.

I can't hold or touch Sheldon. He's bitten me twice s and his quills hurt a lot, he's punctured 2 of my fingers causing them to bleed.

When he's on my lap ans he's bounce/huffing I can hold my palm flat against him a bit, but that's it. I usually pluck him out of his cage with a glove and hold him on a thick towel.

I suppose part of it its fear of owies, but -m worried Ill never be able to hold and pet him like people do on here and youtube.

Any suggestions? I really want to hold my baby
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

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Originally Posted by shortnerdy
Sorry for the second thread creation today but after watching more hedgie vids on youtube I felt the need to make this thread.

I can't hold or touch Sheldon. He's bitten me twice s and his quills hurt a lot, he's punctured 2 of my fingers causing them to bleed.

When he's on my lap ans he's bounce/huffing I can hold my palm flat against him a bit, but that's it. I usually pluck him out of his cage with a glove and hold him on a thick towel.

I suppose part of it its fear of owies, but -m worried Ill never be able to hold and pet him like people do on here and youtube.

Any suggestions? I really want to hold my baby
A glove is not helping it use a old shirt or fleece blanket, a glove blocks your scent and only further confuses them.

Watching videos you have to remember their bond did not form overnight, my two are very grumpy and I've had Feral for over a month the quilling has made her quit sensitive and Celes was a Pet Shop Rescue so I knew she'd likely be very unsociable.

From all your posts you may have a rare biter hedgehog, you got Sheldon at a year and there is no telling how well or unwell he was treated and you may just have a hedgehog which will never fully socialize due to this. This doesn't mean you cannot have fun with your hedgehog. When getting one its always warned you can't expect to get what you see in the videos I wish either of mine would float in water and they don't they don't hate it but they aren't comfortable either.

Still if they know you will back off to the huff/puff and quilling up they will continue that behavior. You have to touch it and adapt to get through to your hedgehog no matter the age its like a child if they get away with doing something you don't like it reinforces that behavior and the behavior Sheldon is exhibiting is instinct to protect himself. Gloves I would get away from pick him up with two hands from the sides and use a blanket or something like I said that will bring him comfort. Some hedgehogs need to hide once taken out and come out in their own time have a blanket or hedgehog bag ready so they can come out on their will. Some bonds can take a long time to form and without knowing what this hedgehog has been through it could be tough but based on your posts you and your BF have the heart and care to give this hedgehog a wonderful life, have faith if you keep digging through that grumpy quilled shell you'll get to a sweet hearted little guy! I can't say this will happen, but no matter what all hedgehogs can still bring you so much joy
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

Thanks TWCOGAR, my main point tho is did you guys have any tricks to getting used to the quills? You all make it seem so effortless!

- know Sheldon was mistreated, when I went to view him she removed from the cage with a litter scoop and litterly dumped him on the floor!

Even if he's never 100% social. I love him so much and refuse to give up.

Once - get him fleaced out with his bedding will be easier to go in with the teeshirt or towel - think.

Thanks again
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

Don't feel like you're alone - most people go through this with their hedgehogs, me included! I still have problems sometimes picking Mildred up with my bare hands, especially when she first wakes up and I take her out for play time. And I've had her for about 2 months now.

First thing's first - I've found that it's really helpful if I wash my hands (with the same soap every time) before I take Mildred out of her cage. I have definitely noticed that this helps. When I wake her up, she always huffs and puts her visor quills down. When I forget to wash my hands, her visor quills stay down until I get her on my lap and she realizes it's just me. When I do wash my hands, I put my hand in the cage, she sniffs it, and her visor immediately relaxes.

That said, you shouldn't use the glove when picking him up. Hedgehogs rely on their sense of smell and he needs to learn what you smell like. Using a towel or a piece of fleece would be much better. Gently wake Sheldon up at night, give him 30 seconds or so to get his bearings, then put your bare hand in his cage and let him smell you. If you double up layers of fleece, his quills shouldn't be able to prick your hands. Also, use both hands to pick him up so he feels more secure when he's flying through the air. I use a piece of fleece - I hold it in front of her face so she can see it and then lay it down on top of her. I use the sides of the fleece to kind of tuck under her sides, and then scoop her up.

Oh, and washing your hands with a mild smelling soap may keep Sheldon from biting you, too. It could be that he smells something yummy on your fingers. If this isn't the case, and he's simply a nervous, protective hedgie, keep your fingers away from his face until he starts to trust you more.

I think that cuddling is one of the best ways to bond with hedgehogs. If you wrap Sheldon up in fleece or a towel, or if you have a hedgie sack he can sleep in, that works well. I make sure that Milly can hide away in her fleece if she wants to, and then relax and watch TV or use the computer while she sleeps. I have read that holding them near your heart can help them get used to you, because they can hear your heart beat and realize you're an animal too.

Take baby steps. During the first week of cuddling, you can try holding him in fleece or a hedgie bag with your hand underneath it so he can feel your body heat. Then the second week, keep your hand near him (where he can see it) while he's relaxing. If you take it slow, you can hopefully get to a point where he'll let you rest your hand on his back or cup his body with it while he's chillin'.

Don't be discouraged. Some hedgehogs take a LONG time to bond with. Some hedgehogs will always be grumpy and nervous about you and will never trust you. It all depends on their personality. My Mildred is the crabbiest little thing 98% of the time, but she's starting to learn that I'm worthy of her trust. She is still really grouchy all the time, she's just less protective and more accepting of me touching her. Ya just have to muster up the patience to try to form a bond with Sheldon. It may not happen, but you should try.

Good luck. Having a hedgehog can be frustrating, but it really is rewarding if/when they start showing you that they might not think you're all that bad!
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

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Originally Posted by shortnerdy
Thanks TWCOGAR, my main point tho is did you guys have any tricks to getting used to the quills? You all make it seem so effortless!

- know Sheldon was mistreated, when I went to view him she removed from the cage with a litter scoop and litterly dumped him on the floor!

Even if he's never 100% social. I love him so much and refuse to give up.

Once - get him fleaced out with his bedding will be easier to go in with the teeshirt or towel - think.

Thanks again
didn't like the quills and Celes until today would always full huff and ball up tight often she traps a few of my fingers in her ball cause she is so tightly and quilled and it hurts, but I have a high tolerance for pain cause I came from an abusive childhood, so I literally even when they are full quill grab them with my hand no problem. I am certain it is not easy for others and from just that sentence I can say Sheldon is luck but will not trust easily, its going to take endless time bonding. Reward him for even the smallest mile stones or make a routine of how he gets his favorite food, only give him a cricket or something per say when you take him out and he unballs, repeating this will enforce in his mind that coming out and unballing will result in something good. When any small milestone happens do something similar. Talk to him so he is desensitize to your voice. I can't say about the biting two times on you and two or three on the BF is hard to say cause my girls have bitten me before but I always realized I had handled something even their food and thats likely why.

I take Celes out a lot mostly cause for some strange reason she tries to sleep in the dryer vent and always tumbles down or starts to so I know she isn't sleeping soundly. So if I am home I grab a fleece blanket or tuck here under a pillow near me and let her sleep safely with me around to feel safe with my scent. I never fall asleep mind you as I average about 3 hours of sleep a day at best.

Getting them out a bit before wake up time to sleep on you can help.

Talking near them and reassuring them

Letting them have some out of the cage free roam/play area time can be wonderful too.

I'm still learning too and others will advise you with plenty more of this I am sure, but the important thing is you are 100% committed to giving this little guy all your love and there is nothing more powerful and better then that!
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortnerdy
Thanks TWCOGAR, my main point tho is did you guys have any tricks to getting used to the quills? You all make it seem so effortless!

- know Sheldon was mistreated, when I went to view him she removed from the cage with a litter scoop and litterly dumped him on the floor!

Even if he's never 100% social. I love him so much and refuse to give up.

Once - get him fleaced out with his bedding will be easier to go in with the teeshirt or towel - think.

Thanks again
I had the fear of pokes too and was so envious of people who could actually hold their hedgies when I first got Bulu. I don't remember tricks but I do know it's like the both of you are learning together. At first I always picked her up with a towel out from her cage and stroked her fully-raised quills with the back of my nail (haha this is embarassing). Then I realized I could stroke her with my finger and eventually her quills would lay flat after 5-10 minutes of me doing that. Now she hardly ever has her quills up when I'm holding her.

I made it a point to slowly work down and touch her face, and stroke back along her visor quills. I'm blessed with a hedgie that really doesn't care about anything when she's asleep XP so I was able to do that pretty soon after I got her. I don't know if it makes much sense/works or not, but I always try to have her sleeping next to/on my hand, so that she's always near my scent and goes "ahh mommy".

Eventually I worked my way to holding her balled up in my bare hands over a towel (in case I accidentally drop her). Then one day, I don't even know how, I managed to slide my hand under her and pick her up.

Bulu was really my first pet and I had no experience handling animals even though I loved them. So I was much more hesitant about everything (biting/pricking etc) than anyone else. I couldn't even pick her up out of the cage the 2nd day I got her until my friend did it, because her huffing made me feel like I'd scare her to death if I tried. As I got more comfortable and confident that I won't get quilled every single second and even if I did, it really won't hurt too much , Bulu got more comfortable with me. So we kinda grew into each other.

I don't know if that helps, but I hope it makes you feel like there will be progress haha. I still can't get her out of her cage easily cause she always puts her quills up when I try to but we'll see who wins this war hehe
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

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Originally Posted by TWCOGAR
I take Celes out a lot mostly cause for some strange reason she tries to sleep in the dryer vent and always tumbles down or starts to so I know she isn't sleeping soundly.
Maybe you should take the dryer vent out during the day when she's sleeping, and put it back in at night when she's active.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWCOGAR
I take Celes out a lot mostly cause for some strange reason she tries to sleep in the dryer vent and always tumbles down or starts to so I know she isn't sleeping soundly.
Maybe you should take the dryer vent out during the day when she's sleeping, and put it back in at night when she's active.
Its a two level C & C Cage, if I did that'd leave the ramp a hazard for her to fall from between the two its not so bad, she usually gives up and goes into her igloo, she's just silly about it.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

You all are wonderful and I try all the advise you give me. I spoke to Shawn tonight and he's amazed by the support you all provide.

Will update you on the progress
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to touch him

Please do keep us updated! It's always so nice to hear about hedgies warming up to their new owners. I have my fingers crossed for you guys!
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