I don't think my baby degus want me - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-02-2005, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think my baby degus want me

I brought home two degu babies of 6 weeks of age Oct. 27; Myandi and Paprika. I am feeling un-loved, even un-worthy. Never have I welcomed a critter into my life and had it refuse me even though I give patience and understanding to their new world. Obviously, time is needed but I give them treats from my hands and let them get used to my presence and smell. When Myandi crawls onto my hand, she immediately scampers off! Paprika will not come out from hiding. Both of them run for cover when I simply walk through the room. My 4 1/2 month old degu, Degu Baby, quickly succombed to the joys of being let out of her cage to crawl all over my arms and neck. She awaits with anticipation for me to walk through the room. I've had her @ 3 weeks. Degu Baby, Myandi, nor Paprika will tolerate being pet. Degu Baby flinches and scampers when I try, even if she's content to eat a treat while sitting in my hand! Myandi and Paprika dive bomb for their home if I as much as think about petting them.
I read several posts where degus love to play and be pet, even scratched by their owners. Why do mine protest it so ?
I proudly own 6 rats. 3 of them were terrified from petstore living when I welcomed them into my life. All of my rats race one another to see who will be the first to the cage door to get the first pet/scratch. They talk to me with little squeaks and grunts. Is this just the difference between animals? I was told that if I love rats then I will love degus (A fellow rat lover told me this, not a petstore). I have also noticed that all 3 degus will nip my fingers and, if I don't use caution, I will soon be bitten. A neighborly petstore owner near my home told me that he sold degus for a little while. He stopped selling them because 50% or more of them are biters and there was no way of telling which ones, or when, they were going to bite.
Do you fellow degu owners get bit or nipped on a regular basis? I was so eager to acquire my degus. They are adorable, their sounds are awesome, and I want them to accept me! What is wrong?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-02-2005, 03:19 PM
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When I first got my degus, I was bitten sometimes. I think it's normal for them to be nervous and a bit nippy for the first month or so.

One of my degus, Ichigo, doesn't really like to be pet either. So, I just let her climb on me, sit on my hand, etc.

Also, maybe they aren't used to being handled? Did the petstore handle them? It'll take longer to gain their trust if they aren't used to human contact.

What I always did was keep a bunch of small treats with me (like tomato bits or sunflower seeds) and when I'd come into the room I'd go over to the cage and give them each a treat. Soon, instead of seeing me as a threat, they'd get excited hoping for food. Bribery helps alot, lol .

I have written a caresheet located here which has some tips on handling: http://www.petinfopackets.com/degus/deguinfopacket.html

I think they just need to get used to you more, personally . I'm sure in no time, they'll be greeting you happily and letting you pet them .




~Stephanie

"We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice."


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 07:11 AM
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Degus can be hard to bond with. I've had 2 of my degus for 6 months now and they still don't trust me as much as I hoped they would by now. Part of the reason is because they were in the pet shop until they were 4 months old and probably never handled while they were there. The other part of the reason is that they just aren't ready to trust yet

I've read degus like being pet/scratched before also and none of my degus (even the ones I hand raised since they were born) will let me pet them. They will run and hop in my hand and let me play with them for hours but they don't like to be pet. I think it is odd if you get a degu that will sit still and let you pet it instead of running around and playing, especially before you've had them for a year or two.

As for biting, all of my degus bite a little. Degus love to chew and they will try to chew anything, even your fingers. They will probably just nibble lightly on your finger just to try it. Most likely if they're doing this they wont draw blood. the important thing to remember is if they start to nibble lightly don't panic and pull your hand away or it might scare them and your bonding will take even longer.

I wouldn't worry too much about your degu not trusting you yet. I'd say give it a few weeks, maybe even a few months. Gradually is the way to take it If you rush to get your degus to trust you (by constantly picking them up and such) it'll take even longer for them to trust you. It's easiest to sit with your hand in their cage, without moving it even if they nibble, for a little bit to let them get used to you. If they get on your hand while you're doing this don't pick them up just let them explore. Sitting still will help them not to feel intimidated and they'll get used to you easier if they know that they can go about they're normal day with you around If you can sit there for and hour or two, go for it! The best way to gain your degus trust it to let them come to you. Also as Sasami said, treats help a lot too

As for Myandi taking her treat and running that is normal Most degus like to eat their treats in private, sometimes even away from other degus. I think that Paprika just needs a little bit of time to get used to her surroundings, she is probably just nervous in the new environment Also degus don't like to be touched while they're eating, especially when it's a treat because they think you'll take it.

After your degus get used to their surroundings and to you they will race each other to see you also, it just takes time

Degus are great pets after you bond with them It's the bonding process that takes the longest, but after that they will be very loving to you. Even if they don't let you pet them after you've bonded, they'll show you in their own way that they love you

Good Luck!!

~*~ Kandy's Chinnies ~*~


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 08:53 AM
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After keeping both rats and degus for many years i'd say they are both very simular as they crave your attention and are very loving and interactive little creatures but degu's differ from rats in the fact that they can be funny things and they do take time to trust someone. I rescued two boys six months ago and only now do they fully trust me and it has taken me time and patience but in the end it was all worth it as they are now totally different creatures and ever so loving. The difference between Myandi and Paprika and Degu Baby is that they have each other and are a pair, a team so to speak and have each other for company and will be bonded so you are an outsider to them and they need time to adjust and bond to you. Whereas Degu Baby has only ever had you so you are her friend and she will be deeply attached to you hence her being eager to come out and be with you as to her you are another degu. You just need to give them time to settle in and get used to their new surroundings and you. Don't try to rush it take it at their pace, offer them treats by hand to encourage them to get used to your scent, never try to pick them up just let them come to your on their own terms. As Sasami said bribary helps a lot with degu's its amazing what they will do for a raison or a shreaded wheat Another tip is to always try and keep at their level so your face is near to them and you don't tower over them as it makes them feel safer. And just give it a little time and all the love you are giving them now will be reciprocated ten fold

As for biting. Well i've kept a few degus and out of all the ones i have had i've only had one biter Nippa and he was a little monkey who liked to bite whenever he got the chance but i don't know his full history as he was already 18 months old when i got him so i don't know what might have happened to him in the past to make him bite. The only other time i have ever gotten bitten was when i had to break up a fight and i had to get between them but apart from them i don't find them to be biters at all. Like any animal though they can bite and will if provoked. They do like to nibble at your fingers especially when you give them scratchies behind the ear they like to thank you by nibbling at your hands

Kirsty


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 09:33 AM
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I agree with the others. It takes time and treats.

two of mine are very jumpy and run away if startled when someone comes in the room. They were badly treated before we got them from the rspca and it took ages for them to trust me. they are still very jumpy and hate being picked up, but are happy once they have been, or they're out sat on me. (i've had them for over 2 years now)

the real test is at the vets, when they always run to me and cuddle up in my arms after the vets has "been mean". Thats the only way i know they trust me! They always choose me over my boyfriend.

I always talk to then when i'm in the room and coming into the room, so they know i'm there and don't jump as much! Its less of a surprise because they are used to my voice!!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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UN-wanted by my degus

Thank you for your replies. I feel better. I thought I was losing my 'touch' with animals So, basically, I should expect them to behave as if they are still wild. In the same aspect, I should act as I would for my wild neighborhood squirrels when I want them to take a nut from my hand because they have learned to trust me over the months. Even they still approach with caution and run a few feet after they grab the nut out of my hand...adorable they are!! l
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 05:10 PM
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Yep I agree time and treats is the way to go.. I try and spend as much time as I can with mine.. I sit and chat to them, feed them treats, give them a tickle behind the ears, let them sit on my shoulders and just give them attention..

Steph ~ Owned by 4 bunnies and 5 degus..


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2005, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Degu Baby is letting me pet her! I started with touching her hips (least likely to be bitten here) but she would spin around and charge me. I put the tiniest pieces of treats in the palm of my hand and pet her rump this way, she let me (only if I had treats in my hand). The next day I became more bold I gave her treat from my hand while she ate from her cage, I lightly massaged her shoulders (only with treats in my hand)! Yesterday, I became invincible (ha-ha) and put treats in my hand and started massaging her shoulders, went behind her ears to scratch, went under her ears to scratch, and GUESS WHAT?...she tilted her little precious head completely sideways so I could rub her mouth and under her chin!!
Today...she will let me scratch and rub anywhere without treats so long as she gets them right away!! I cannot believe that she moved this quickly! Is this normal speed for degus? I still get nipped when she's had enough. I just turn the back of my hand toward her and she nips (or tries to bite, I don't know which, as I will not hang out long enough to find out). If this is any indication of how quickly degus move then, maybe, I will trust my Myandi and Paprika (babies) soon. I was contimplating on returning these two as my hands can no longer tolerate their toothy abuse. They will sit their cute fuzzy little selves in my palm, in their home, and without warning--CHOMP! *This makes one quite apprehensive*
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2005, 06:17 AM
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When a degu lets you tickle her them behind the ear or under the chin or arm pit then you are in and you are trusted as degu's tend to only let people they trust do that. As for the speed of her well they do have a turn of speed which is surprising for their stature. With the nipping did Baby Degu do this after you tickled her? As if so she was trying to return the favour to you by flea biting your hand

Kirsty


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2005, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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I feel so special now, it's the greatest feeling in the world to be loved by a critter! As for the 'flea nipping', I don't have fleas (haha) so how do I know to trust her in that she will not draw blood because I get quite shaky when she does this sitting on my fingers.?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2005, 06:56 AM
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I think you basically have to trust her to see how far she goes normally is just nibbling at your hands or fingers as they would to one another when preening and sometimes they do get a little rough with you but never to the extent where they draw blood. One of mine Rupert does the cutest thing when i give him scratchies behind the ear or under the chin / armpit etc.... i always let him have a little nibble then i retract my finger upwards and he always pulls it gently back down and back to where he wants tickling, i call it his party trick

Kirsty


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-24-2008, 06:44 PM
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It takes time, but once they trust you, it's all worth it I remember the first time Gooey let me pet her chest and tummy. It was the best She doesn't so much like to be held, but she likes her rubbins.
I'm still working with Dooey. He now will steal a treat from me and will run to see if I show that I have one, but then he's to the other side of the cage. I got him October.
Remember patience, and good luck!

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-29-2008, 01:21 PM
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It took two years for my first degu to crawl into my hand. It took almost a year before she'd let me pet her.

She's still a bit skittish and not nearly as friendly as my other 5 goos, but when she does let me scratch her, it's so worth it

It just takes a lot of patience and time for some.
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