Re-socializing (!Please Help!)
My hedgie is around 1 1/2 - 2 years. She has always been really grumpy, and has always bitten me (I washed my hands, so I do t know why she did it other than to be put back. Which I’ve stopped doing in response). Last year I got a new pet which took a lot of attention, I still made time for her-just not as much. Then during fall I fell into a bad depression, and didn’t get her out much (I continued to give her my best care and always make sure everything was ok with her). I have recently been getting better, and now get her out more. But it take her about 10mins to finally un-ball, and then she just keeps trying to run from me, and bite me almost every chance (I now pick her up when she bites me, and only put her back once she’s let me kiss her. To try to undo the biting=cage mentality).
I know that she has not spent a lot of time with me, so that’s why she’s reverted. But I don’t know what I can do to try and get her to tolerate/love me. Any Info/tips would be greatly appreciated. She is housed right next to my bed so she saw/smelled/heard me everyday, and I always said goodbye and I love you. I know she can’t understand, but I hope it gives her some comfort. Please no hate, I didn’t socialize her as much as I should have, but I continued to give her the very best care, and unlimited love.
Best thing you can do is spend time with her. Create a schedule and stick to it. I've taken in rescues who I didn't see even their nose for almost a year (see image in my signature for example). Extremely defensive hedgehogs who had no reason to trust humans. Given enough time, patience and understanding and they started to come around enough to at least see their noses. You may find that you just have a naturally defensive hedgehog who will always be defensive and never really trust you. Some are like that. They are prey animals and you won't change that personality, you can adapt how you interact with it, but it will require a lot of work and you may have to change your expectations of how your interactions will be. You may not have a social hedgehog but one that is just defensive.
Basically, the too long didn't read, is spend more time with her. Listen and watch her reactions. Change how you interact if she doesn't like something. Create a set schedule, and stick to it. Don't miss times. Give her a reason to trust you.
If that doesn't seem possible, consider doing something hard. Give her to someone who can. Yes I know that sounds harsh, but seriously no hate intended. I take in rescues and have taken in hedgehogs because folks just couldn't dedicate the time that the individual required due to many reasons. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is give them to someone is better situated at the moment to deal with them.
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