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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I just got my first hedgehog 2-3 days ago.
I'm trying to let her get to know me...etc. Like any owner, I want her to be as relaxed as possible around me and get the most out of her personality as possible. So I've been wondering how to handle this and wanted some experienced owner opinions..

So, when I go to pick her up or touch her and she tenses up some, puts her quills over her eyes, and breathes hard to make huffing sounds, should I;
A) Stop what I'm doing and back off and just take things very very slow so that she doesnt get upset? (but this could also kind of teach her that it's okay to act like that all the time)
or
B) Ignore her and keep doing what I'm doing so that she gets used to it and sees it's not effecting me? (but this could also kind of make her irritated and hate me)

Thanks in advance~
 

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Yes, continue to pick her up. Hedgehogs are territorial of their cages and many will huff and carry on when you reach in to pick them up. It's quite normal.

Once out of the cage, she will either relax or continue to huff and puff until she gets more used to you. Some hedgehogs like to be held, others prefer to run around and do their own thing. Let her do as she wishes. Covering her with a small cloth or keeping her in a hedgie bag will help her relax when she is out of her cage. It takes time for some to settle in. :)
 

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B!!! Definitely B.

Basically, in one phrase: she'll get over it. A lot of them are all noise, no substance.

Just make sure you talk to her as you get near the cage, let her smell you, trying not to descend on her from above like a scary monster. I always pause for a moment while Snarf is struggling in my hands right before I pick him up...just so he kinda knows what's happening. I blab throughout - snarfimgoingtopickyouupdidyouhaveagoodsleeporwereyourunningalot yousuremadeyourwheeldirtyandyouhaveBADPOOPYBOOTSyouneedabath...etc etc etc
 

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Like the others, I say B.

Like MissC, I talk to Priss while I am coming in and uncovering her. Unlike MissC, I tend to heckle my hedgie instead of warning her about what I am doing so our conversation goes something like this...

"OH MY GAWWWWD! What did you eat last night? You pooped everywhere! Who did I make mad to deserve such a spoiled rotten little beast like you? Yeah, go ahead and huff as me. Put up your quills, act all mad, you know you love me you stinken little fusspot. It's a good thing you are so cute because you sure aren't half as scary as you think you are. You know all it takes is a little banana to win over your huffy steam-iron sounding heart, don't you? You are so getting a foot bath and you are going to act like you like it because I am NOT going to bend to your will this time like I always have in the past. Yeah, you think you own me, but I will show YOU who's boss....etc."

She then proceeds to show me exactly who is boss so I will do exactly what she wants in order to get some quality tummy time. Sigh.
 

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Confession Time: for the first month, Snarf thought his name was "Holy Crap!!" cuz it's the first thing he heard every day. :roll:
 

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And another vote for B. Show her the tough girl act doesn't work on you. :) Chances are she'll do this for quite a while, especially if you're waking her up from her nap.

I've found with my little guy that putting my hands in front of him and giving him a chance to recognise me before I do anything makes him much more relaxed.
 

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Yup, definitely B. You will get used to ignoring the incessant huffing whenever you pick her up. I also keep up a running commentary with Pliny, something along the lines of
'hi Pliny, Pliiiiinnnny, hello mr. grumpy pants (uttered to mocking tone of voice), you giant poopy monster etc. etc.' followed my much more 'grumpy pants' mocking. He really is all huf and no action.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay that's what I thought.. I just didnt want to end up finding out I was pissing her off and making her hate me (which would make it worse in the long run).


So, I know that you guys say every hog is different and they all have their own personalities..etc, but in general (i guess the majority of the time), is this huffing when i pick her up out of her cage ordeal usually going to get better as she gets to know me, or is this going to be the norm for the rest of her life?
 

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It may lessen over time. Norman huffs considerably less when I pick him up out of his cage now than when I first got him, and I've only had him for 4 weeks. He puts on a bit of a show if I wake him but it only lasts a few seconds. They will be occasional mood swings where some days they're more huffy than others though. :)
 

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Im going on week three with Jazz and he huffed a lot. I mean HUFFED AND PUFFED and almost blew my house in, ya dig, but every time i go to pick him up i put my hand eye level with him on the other side of the cage and slowly move it towards him, and leave it until he smells it on his own. Then i go to pick him up. and talking the whole time def helps.
He still puts up a fuss but not nearly as bad.
He went from balling up and huffing when i put my hand near the cage to giving a good two or three lil huffs and kinda pulling his brow quills down for a second but soon as hes in my hands he mellows out a bit. I dont think he could ever be a cuddle hog. too much energy

It also helps to give a small treat after you pick him up (but not yet as he is newly rehomed) although Jazz wont eat anything but kibble mix.. i have yet to find a treat he likes.

just keep on loving and holding her and she'll come round.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay great... Thanks for the replies.
Makes me feel better to know I'm handling it right instead of thinking that I'm teaching her to hate me and know more of what to expect.

Have a good one,
Rachel
 

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Rachel,

Hedgies don't "hate" you. That is a very human thing to think, but they are just doing their natural behaviors, like Nancy said, they are territorial regarding their cages. Sometimes they may be afraid, or startled, or just grumpy, but it's not you. Animals don't act out of hate. Fear or surprise - yes. So putting your hand in slowly and talking to her will ease her fear and she won't be surprised you're sneaking up on her.
 

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suwanee said:
Rachel,

Hedgies don't "hate" you. That is a very human thing to think, but they are just doing their natural behaviors, like Nancy said, they are territorial regarding their cages. Sometimes they may be afraid, or startled, or just grumpy, but it's not you. Animals don't act out of hate. Fear or surprise - yes. So putting your hand in slowly and talking to her will ease her fear and she won't be surprised you're sneaking up on her.
Perfectly stated. suwanee. ;)
 
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