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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 25
Unhappy Behavior problem with my male

Hi! While looking up some information on good ol' Google for help on this issue, I ran across your forums and thought I'd post here as well

My prairie dog is approximately 3-4 years old (not sure exactly LOL) and I've had no problems with his behavior around me at all, except for today ...

The usual routine: I come home from work. Ginger (my prairie dog) yelps as soon as my hand touches the door handle to my bedroom. When I enter he is hanging on the side of his cage, nose poked out, following me around the room monkey-bar style as I put away my work things, anxiously awaiting to be let out to run around and get cuddled and generally be a pd. I call his name, he yelps, I hand him a treat through the bars and let him out. Happy time for a few hours and then he crawls back into his cage to nap and I move on to whatever

Today: I came home from work. Ginger was hanging on the side of his cage, motionless. I called his name, and he began chattering his teeth at me. Okay ... so I figured maybe my dad came into my room and stressed him out (he's a one-person kinda pd). I go over to his cage and start talking to him soothingly which usually calms him down. No go. Now his mouth is open threateningly, little squeaks interspersed with the chattering. The message is clear: BACK OFF.

So I decided to give him some time to cool down and went to play on my PC. His chittering and squeaking is growing louder by the minute. I cough and he lunges at the bars. Figuring the stress was no good for him (and the threatening behavior no good for our relationship) I did the only thing I could think of to give him some solitude: I threw a blanket over his cage. Within minutes, the chattering stopped.

A few hours later, I pulled off the blanket and guess who was happy to see me? So I let him out and cuddled with him and all that good stuff ... gave him some treats for behaving so well now ... put him back in his cage while I went to the kitchen for a snack for me

When I came back, he was threatening me again! Chattering and squeaking up a storm

No, he is not neutered, but this isn't rut season, is it? I thought that was supposed to happen in autumn - spring, not spring - autumn ...

I spend time with him lots so it's not that he's not used to me anymore

Anyone have any ideas? I'd hate to think that my fuzzbutt hates me now
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 32
It really sounds like your dog is going is going through rut. It would be a bit late for rut to be happening, but not exceptionally late. Just a few weeks late, really. Lots of people recommend getting prairie dogs fixed because of this, but not until they're completely out of rut. Male prairie dogs are especially recommended to be fixed because they are a bit unpredictable during rut.

Other than that, all you can really do is leave them alone when he's having a bad day. He should calm down in another month or so, but until then you might have days in which he reacts like this. Placing the blanket over him is probably a good way to calm him down if you can't stay out of his room. Otherwise just staying away for a little bit is probably recommended.

He still likes you, but sometimes needs some alone time when the hormones are especially bad.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Well, rut was my first thought too, but like you said, it's late. Also, when he's going through rut he usually gets signs of it other than this just aggressive mood-swinginess (like the musky smell and the *cough* physical changes). That way I can tell when to start giving him space and when we can go back to cuddles again. But this time, nothing

I don't want to let him bite me or anything and his mood seemed to change pretty quickly yesterday. I guess I'll just have to assume it's late rut and have less floor time and more cage time It's just not easy to leave him in the cage when he's giving me puppy eyes and poking his little nose through the bars LOL but I'm sure you all know how that is

I've always meant to get him fixed ... but it's always seemed to slip my mind since he's never had a difficult rut. Guess this year will have to be the year!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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people often forget to get their dogs fixed until the rut becomes a big issue. That's one of the reasons my dogs aren't fixed. It just hasn't been an issue yet!

It does seem weird to me that there aren't other symptoms. Maybe someone else will have another idea. There are a few other prairie dog groups on the web you might want to talk to as well. I'm a member of luv-r-pds email group on yahoo. A few vets are on there as well, so that might be a good place to ask.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Okay, thanks, I'll try there

He's doing it again as I type this I just got home from spending an evening with my boyfriend and he was fine for about ten-fifteen minutes ... I gave him some treats, took him out for a belly rub, and checked his teeth (which I do every so often to make sure they're growing right and not getting too long) ... he was happy and cuddly and his usual self. And an agressive pd will not be too keen on letting you flip him over onto his back and open his mouth and pry inside. But Ging being his usual self just loves the attention

Then, about twenty minutes later, suddenly, bam. More chattering. There are definitely no other signs of rut, as I gave him a pretty thorough checking when he was on his back getting his tummy rubbed, but I can't think of any other explanation. There's been no change in routine, diet, or environment ...

Oh and it's not because of him smelling my boyfriend on me and getting jealous. Yesterday I didn't see my boyfriend at all, so that can't be it

:puts the blankie back over the cage:

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hi foursixtwo, I have several prairie dogs at present. I had to have one put to sleep two years ago. His name was Beefcake. He was 5 years old. He was supposed to be neutered, but the vet didn't know anything about pds. We beleive she used the opportunity to explore a new species. It took forever for his 3.5-4" incision to heal! Since then, I have found a wonderful vet in Levelland, Tx.,who knows all about pds. I had to drive my 2 baby boys over 100 miles to get them fixed, but they are worth it. I was so impressed with the tiny incisions this vet made. They got over their surgeries very quickly. One of them was packing his bed on the way home! I highly recommend getting males fixed before they are 6 months old. Poor Beefcake was very seldom tame enough to hold. He was horible to my husband & son in the winter. Even though we knew it wasn't his fault, it was hard to forgive a vicious attack, when all you wanted was to show him some affection. We had some fun with him while he was with us by letting him run loose in the living room. Sometimes we had to scare him back into his cage because he would attack us if we tried to pick him up. We did learn something from this. The longer they are allowed to run loose, the more agressive they get. Now before anyone gets to run around, we get our holding first. When they get too figitty we put them down to play. We also have a 4 year old male, which has not been neutered. I really expected him to get nasty with my husband, but he has only tried to bite him once. They are extremely close. None of my females are spayed, so I am curious about pros & cons of having them fixed. My girls are very sweet & only one of them has ever shown aggression. Deana
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