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Old 08-08-2014, 02:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi, I'm new here, and relatively new to hedgehog ownership!
I thought I'd give a shot at making a forum post in hopes of getting some answers/ suggestion/ tips as to what I should do.


So! I've had my hedgehog since the first Sunday of this most recent April (of 2014) and it seems I've made little to no progress on bonding with her.
I've seen and done the suggestion that you should hold your hedgehog at least twice a day and that I should top her cage with my blanket (for my scent), but she still freaks out when I pick her up. Once I have picked her up, however, she continuously huffs and puffs and doesn't seem to like to be in my arms. I was just wondering if there's something I could do to prevent her from being so timid to every sound (so that she doesn't freak out or freeze when I walk into the room) and have her warm up to me more? I thought about using treats as a reward but I'm not quite sure when is the best time to reward her.
Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Picking them up twice a day isn't enough for a good bonding, they say the bare minimum bonding time should be a half hour but in my personal opinion I don't think that is really enough time... I mean it is better than not bonding with them at all or just for a couple moments a day but if you really want to see some progress I would suggest you get your hedgehog out of its cage for at least an hour a day. I get Olive out usually for 2 hours, sometimes more if we watch a movie or she's in a super good mood. Don't think that means you have to hold them that entire time. Just letting them sleep in your lap while you watch a movie or get on the computer is good. Make sure your not stressing her out too much, you can start with 30 minutes and work your way up if she seems too stressed. I also recommend getting a play pen and putting some fun things in there for your bonding time, either get one big enough you can sit in there with her, or sit right next to it. I give Olive treats during this time. I wait for her to completely unball and let all her quills down and give her a meal worm. I wouldn't recommend too many because that can cause severe weight gain. I think it's fun to try different treats all the time to see what she likes, right now her favorite is turkey vegetable baby food. Talking to her in a very calm quiet voice helps a lot, getting her used to your voice will help. My hedgehog hides when anyone talks except me lol. I wouldn't reward her though when she is balled up, it may teach her to not come out. I have 1 spot in the play pen where Olive must come to get her treats, it's the closest to me, and she knows she must sit there completely nice to get her cookies. It will take time for her to bond. My girl still does not like to be picked up, but she has stopped hissing at me, still pops and quills but hey I will take improvement any way I can. She warms up a lot faster now too. I wouldn't use the blanket on the cage because it may mess with her light schedule, a better idea is to put one of your worn t shirts or pillow cases in her cage where she sleeps to get her used to your smell. Also washing your hands with the exact same soap before you handle her every time will make her associate that smell with your hands and can help with bonding. I have noticed that sometimes just letting her sleep in my lap is the best thing I can do for her that day, and other days it's making her wake up and play with me. Find out her favorite things and save them for your special bonding time every day and she should start to warm up to you! I hope some of these help you!
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with what Alex said, and remember that no hedgehog is the same. Sometimes one will warm up to you instantly (I was lucky enough to get that with Phoebe) while other mays take months to a year to start to trust you (more Adella's speed). Patience is they key.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh, and remember all hedgehogs, in general, will huff at you when they are first woken up or picked up.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you are just holding her out in the open that may be why she is scared of coming out. Have a blanket or something on your lap and her under it. I fold mine in half and stick her between the layers. This way she is still on you, hearing your noises and feeling you but she may feel more comfortable to lay down and nap or explore under the covers.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for the replies! Do you suggest of any certain things I should put in this play pen?
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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His wheel if it is easily removable, some cat toys, ping pong balls, toilet paper tubes, a tunnel... There are tons of things. Just make it interesting.
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Old 08-09-2014, 08:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yep, just a bunch of things like mentioned. Tunnels, snuggle bag, wheel, safe cat toys, a toilet paper roll (cut lengthwise), dixie cups, etc. I also made my own dig box for them out of an old shoe box, too, since many hedgies love to dig. I would also change it up every day to keep it interesting.
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Might I also ask suggestions on how to pet her? I take note that most people who own hedgehogs can pet their's- but Luna isn't so willing. She huffs and puffs when I try to pet her and I stop doing it because I don't want to stress her out. Should I use rewards in situations that she doesn't huff and puff when I attempt to stroke her? How do I approach this all?
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Some hedgehogs just don't like being touched.
How old is your hedgie? If she is quilling then it would be best not to try and pet her as she may be sore.
She may never like to be stroked. Or once she becomes more comfortable she may let you. You just need to be patient. I'm not sure a reward system would work (but I could be wrong).
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