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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a male prairie dog that we got about a year ago. At first he was super loveable and friendly. About 6 months ago, he became territorial and only liked the 4 of us in our immediate household. He has always gone to me with no problem. Last weekend I stuck my hand in the cage to get his food dish and he bit my hand pretty hard. I have been shaken up since and sort of avoiding him. I want to keep interacting with him but I am affraid of getting bitten again. Any thoughts or ideas?? Please help!! My husband wants to get rid of him but I would hate for that to happen
 

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Is he neutered?
 

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That might explain it. Google something like "neutering prairie dogs". They make MUCH better pets when neutered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks, I actually made an appt for 2 wks from now, any other reason you think he is acting like that? Do you have one?
 

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thanks, I actually made an appt for 2 wks from now, any other reason you think he is acting like that? Do you have one?
No, I don't have one, that's why I didn't want to give more specific advice. But from my limited experience with them, they really need to be fixed to make good pets.

Hopefully someone with more experience than me can chime in :).
 

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Well thanks for the advice, hopefully he will be back to himself 2 wks from now after he is fixed
I hope so too! I know it's supposed to be done when they're younger but I hope it still makes a difference :). I think Ravnos has experience with prairie dogs so maybe he'll post here too.
 

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In the fall/winter, mature males will often experience rut - which can basically make them seem like they've gone psychotic. Every prairie dog is different, some get worse than others, some years can be worse than others, and even the length of time it lasts can vary widely - sometimes for months. Neutering can mitigate a lot of the effects of rut. Personally, my two males are not neutered. I just leave them to their own devices when they don't want to be dealt with.

The problem with this, is that they are remarkably smart, and have good memories. Once they learn that biting gets you to go away, they can keep doing it any time they want to be left alone. Or get defensive, because of how you may have reacted previously. If you try to punish them, they remember, and will often act out with the bad behavior just to get your attention. It can make avoiding undesirable behavior very difficult.

As for suggestions, I think neutering may help, but I wouldn't expect it to be a complete solution. Try to baby him when he's recovering. Find some treats he likes. Be patient, let him come to you. If he acts up, put him immediately away, leave him alone for a while, and try again at another time. The hope is that he'll eventually get the point, that if he bites or misbehaves, he'll get put away and ignored. If he wants attention or treats, he has to be good.

If handling is completely impossible, I'd suggest a nice pair of thick leather welding gloves. I keep them on hand for dealing with difficult animals, from unruly rodents to monitor lizards. You can get a pair pretty cheap at any hardware store.

I also keep UV lighting on my prairie dogs. I honestly don't know if it helps, but they seem to appreciate it, and are more active when the lights are on, as opposed to days I forget to flip the switch. I haven't had any real serious problems with rut.
 

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You are more than welcome to call for help with this because there are several things you can do and things in your home acting as triggers to promote this behavior during rut season. You can find my information on my profile and I'm happy to help you.

Neutering will help, but there is a lot to this, having a better understanding of it will be helpful to you post neuter as well.

Gena
 
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