So frustrated

Posted By: Mema

So frustrated - 08/01/18 06:44 AM

I have 4 gliders. 2 female caramels that I have had more then 4 years and then 1 leu male that is neutered and one female plat going on more then a year. They still run away when I approach their cage and even tho I have done tent time forever, carry them in pouches etc, give treats, I get nothing back. If gliders donít like to be held, donít really want human interaction, what exactly is so rewarding and makes everyone love them so much. I do think they are really cute, soft, and fun to watch but I need more then that. I got the last two from a breeder that allowed me to come and spend time with them prior to coming home. I wasnít going to take the plat because she was still crabby but decided to give her a chance, The boy was sweet from the beginning. He however has decided to start biting me while doing tent time and tonight after getting bit for like the 5th time I was done with the abuse and it took me another 1/2 to get the rest caught to take them back. Once in their cage they ran from me like Iíve hurt them and canít be trusted even tho I devote a lot of time to showing them I wonít. I really feel like itís my fault and that I just donít know what they need or how to read them. After reading one post I did finally understand that if their ears are up and eyes are open thatís a good sign but nonetheless Iím just not sure they are the pet I was hoping for. I unfortunately was misled by pocket pets and now ready to give up. Canít think of anything I can do and am seriously considering rehoming them. They are a lot of work as everyone knows. I do love them but not sure why other then they are the only pet Iím allowed to have because my husband doesnít want a dog or a cat. Any suggestions?
Posted By: Ladymagyver

Re: So frustrated - 08/01/18 10:42 AM

I'm not sure where to start, so I'll begin with what I do with mine. And ask a few questions here and there.

My Gliders don't like bright lights. When I'm interacting with them, I make sure lighting is dim, and I can barely see them. During tent time, same thing. I do my tent time in the morning so after an hour or so, they are willing to go in their sleeping pouch for the day.

I try to keep sudden noises and movements to a minimum. I sing to them, read, let them know I'm approaching their cage, I still put scented (with my smell)blankies in their pouch every week.

I use unscented hand soap, I don't change shampoo, or laundry soap.

I only have 1 out of three that actually likes to spend time with me. But she only tolerates being held, so I wear shirts with pockets, poke her in my bra, or in to a bonding pouch.

The only true cuddling I get is through a pouch or pocket, not fur on skin, unless she's in my shirt.

All 3 hang out on my back, love to snuggle in my old hoodie.

Mine also learn by observing. Kind of a "monkey see monkey do". This is how I am teaching my newest edition Stewie how to interact with me.

I have learned to use a piece of fleece(about 15" x 15") to catch them instead of my hands. My hands are for petting, and giving treats. I also offer them their pouch when I need to catch them. The only time this doesn't work is when they are wide awake for the day.

Biting is always followed by a quick "Sssst" from me. If that doesn't work, a loud no followed with removing them from where they are biting. You can use a toy, or a piece of fleece for them to bite.

Patience comes from the heart. They can tell your moods...

I'm not sure this has helped, and I want to help you. So here are a couple of questions:

Do you know who the alpha is? The head glider? There is a pecking order to any colony.

Do you give treats? If so, what kind?

Have they been seen by a vet?

What diet do you feed?

How long do you keep them in a bonding pouch at a time?

How often is tent time, how long at a time? Day time or night time?

We don't judge here, just trying to advise and help you find solutions.
Posted By: Hutch

Re: So frustrated - 08/01/18 02:20 PM

Howdy! I'm sorry to hear that you're not getting what you hoped for from you fuzzies. Like Dawn, I'm going to lay out ideas & some history that worked for me. There are a lot more details in my on-going posts under 'talk & travel' which begins here. Maybe the stories will spark ideas, maybe not. Moving on:

As was stated by Dawn, check the environment: dim lighting; no excessive or loud noise; friendly/interactive areas (they're smart little buggers who like to be entertained). I will generally greet mine as I approach the cage & open things up, even if they're watching me. It just offers them another identifier. Even with that, they may jerk back as I reach towards them. All I do is stop a short distance away, give them a chance to come sniff, then proceed with whatever I was going to do. I'm insistent, they know I won't go away, but I play to their comforts.

It might help to give them a break from you; a week or so. If they're use to spending time with you, they'll miss it. Whenever I've been away or unable to play much, they're frequently much more attentive than when we've had many nights in a row of playtime. They think of you as a member of their colony & will wonder where you've been. It's like that coworker you normally don't talk with but after not seeing for a while you two suddenly feel chatty.

You wrote you carry them in pouches. Have you spent time just sitting there with you hand in the pouch with them? That is my version of cuddling with them & has helped my bonding a lot. If you do not do this, start with a fist near the top until they calm down. If they're nippy, tssk & push their face away. If that doesn't work, move your hand so it's cupping the mouthy one from behind so they can't reach you. It might take a bit of time, but they'll calm down & go back to sleep. It reinforces that you're a part of their colony, one of them.

Bribery, it's a thing, lol. Mine get a lot of treats... maybe too much, so I try to give them ones that aren't bad for them, like dried fruit pieces or pieces from their dinner. You want them to KNOW your presence if a positive experience, something to look forward to... & goodies for their bellies are an easy way to reinforce it. Do it when they do something you like, such as coming to the front of the cage or jumping on you. Do if right as (or after) you do something they don't like (sorry I woke you, but look what I have). I also give each furball something right before I go to bed as I say good night. Even when they don't come to the front for me, I'll hold my hand still & about a pace or two away so they make a minimal effort. The last time they see me that night is positive. (Okay, & mine are spoiled rotten.) Bribery times are also a good time to do a little very gentle petting since they're distracted with goodies. It is yet another way for them to learn your hand isn't the bad guy. You can also do this while they're sleeping with you hand if you have a free finger or two.

Try spending some one-on-one time with each of them. There are a lot of evenings that I'll scoop just one of them out, plop the chosen one on my shoulder, give them a treat, & we'll walk around the house together. (Keep the treats coming every so often at first so they're getting more out of it than a free ride. Later, that'll be enough.) If they jump off (somewhere safe), let them roam a bit with you staying near by. After a few minutes, they may come back to you or scoop them up. Either way, once they're on you again: another treat or bit of dinner. If you end up hand feeding them half their dinner, so what?

Don't feel bad if they go to their respective corners when you return them to their 'home.' Mine tend to go to their favorite corners after being away for a few minutes. Think about when you come home: at what point do you take that deep breath & think "I'm home?" It's not always the threshold. You can help yourself by giving them a chance to smell you whenever you walk near the cage. I slowly press by hand near them as I go by & remove it right after they take a sniff. (If they're sleeping, just do it near the pouch's opening as you say 'hi' & they'll catch a whiff. It is a simple, neutral interaction associated with their comfort zone.

Okay, I've rambled a lot. Sorry about that, but I really desire to help you bond closer with your gliders. The biggest things to take away are: act like a member of the colony, you belong there; provide positive beginnings & endings; try not to read too much in to their instinctual actions, they're smart but still wild so body language matters more.
Posted By: Feather

Re: So frustrated - 08/01/18 10:47 PM

Dawn and Hutch have given you some great advice. Take your time and go on their schedule.
Posted By: Mema

Re: So frustrated - 08/01/18 11:54 PM

I thank everyone for their suggestions. To answer your questions, no i don't really know who the alpha is but i suspect it is Izzy which is one of the caramel females. I give treats whenever i visit them which is usually around 11 every day. It mostly consists of yogurt chips. They have never been to the vet but appear to be quite healthy. I feed them TPG but am thinking about switching. I initially used HPW and then went to Critter Love which they seemed to like the best (unfortunately the ready made) but i became concerned because of all the negative comments about it. I have been doing TPG for about 6 months or more but to be honest they don't eat much of it. I give 4-6 Tablespoon per night and it seems that they mostly lick the liquid and dig out green beans, corn and thats about it. They don't seem to like any fruits (i have tried both fresh and frozen) and most other veggies other then they love green beans. As a change i sometimes give them baby food veggies which they devour. They are in a bonding pouch for probably a 1/2 hour to an hour a few times a week. My caramels also will sleep in my bra up until i got breast cancer which was in July last year at which time i havent been brave enough to let them go back in even though they do try. I take them in the tent either before or after dinner depending on when they wake up. They seem happiest when i do it about 10 or 11 pm. The caramels don't really play and never have even in their cage. They just sit on me during tent time but the other two run around like crazy.
I feel like i have been patient and have tried to give them enough space. I have given the caramels 4 years to adjust to me and trust me. To this day they still don't appear interested in being with me. They run if i open the cage door. They will take treats and never crab anymore and will let me pet them and pick them up for a short period when i am transferring them from cage to pouch so they are certainly a little bonded to me. Maybe i am expecting way to much from these critters but again then i don't understand how some people get so attached to them when all you get to do is feed them, clean their cage, and watch them. The other two are friendlier i think even though Mia was pretty crabby in the beginning. She barely crabs at all now and will take treats from my fingers and let me pet her. Finn has always been easy going but like i said he is biting now and i hate that. I always thought the more you carry them, more tent time you give them, etc that the friendlier they will become. I hate that they still don't seem to trust me enough to touch them. No one else can even touch them even though the two oldest grew up with my grandchildren and my husband without them trying to escape. I do bring two of them with me when i go to the bar on sundays and its fun because everyone knows now what i am carrying and usually want a peek at them and i have certainly have educated people on them because they have never heard of them before but i also know i have to be very careful when opening the pouch especially if i have Finn or Mia. Last week i had a young girl ask her parents if she could have one after seeing mine. I told the parents that i didn't feel that they were a good pet especially for children and that to be honest if i had it to do over again i would not have gotten them knowing what i know now. I hope that isn't a terrible thing to say but it is honestly how i feel at least right now. The caramels will try to dig to the bottom of the pouch but the other two would try to jump out. I wanted them because i liked the idea of taking them everywhere i went. Is that only hurting my relationship with them. Am i done trying to get them to bond more with me to the point where i can at least take them out and just sit and pet them or is that just not a reality. Thanks again everyone. Hutch i have been reading your blog and am enjoying it.
I also went so far as to buy 2 books written by Arthur Gibbons i think is his name (the owner of Buddy) and even contacted him so i am trying to learn. I have never owned pets of any kind so i think its hard for me to know what to do.
Posted By: Hutch

Re: So frustrated - 08/02/18 04:27 AM

To a large extent, it depends on the glider. My girls, yeah, they leap to come out when I open the door. The boys, though? Up until this very week, they usually went to the back of the cage or even the pouch if I didn't distract them while I opened the door. I've actually been jaw-dropping stunned that Merlin is finally wanting to come out to me. Arthur will look to see if I have food, then go back to ignoring me when I don't. (Such a brat.)

If what you're looking for is something that'll just sit & let you pet away while they're wide awake, gliders will probably continue to disappoint you. They are hyperactive twits with squirrel syndrome. Doesn't mean they won't love on ya, just means it's on the fly as they clamber all over you. A sniff, quick lick or two, then bound away is their modus operandi. Any 'play time' we've had after they're awake usually consists of me being a transport platform for them to find new places to explore or to be used as a springboard for them to access other areas of furniture.

From what you're describing, I will highly encourage you to put more effort into the 'cuddle time' I described above. Well before they're ready to wake, just settle down with them in their sleeping pouch on your lap & watch a movie or a couple of shows with them. Slip your hand in & gentle pet the sleeping fur-babies. Some of my happiest moments with mine are when they wrap themselves all around my fingers & hold on to me while they sleep. It took a lot of hours working to get there, about a year of doing this almost daily... & many nips early on.

As far as your nipper... watch how the colony deals with each other when something is bothering them, & do the same to him. Tssks, hisses, pushing away all work. I even hard to (gently) (-ish) thump Arthur on his nose before he gave up nipping. (Last resort.)

For me, the personalities make my nights (I do have some real hams) & the cuddles before they wake warms my tattered soul. I hope these thoughts are giving you ideas because I personally believe these critters are totally worth feeding & cleaning up after them.
Posted By: Feather

Re: So frustrated - 08/02/18 10:50 PM


Where are you located? I am in Stoughton, WI. Maybe we could get together and talk sometime.

Also there is nothing wrong with Critterlove products. Critterlove is the most tested diet out there and I should know, because my gliders have been a part of it.
Posted By: Mema

Re: So frustrated - 08/02/18 11:22 PM

Feather, I am in Cottage Grove!!!!! Very close. I would LOVE to get together and talk.
If Critter Love is really safe then i would prefer to go back to what they seem to love. I have some left so i am going to give it a try and see if it goes better.
Hutch, thanks again for the suggestions. I do think that i might need to invest more time in just quiet time with them from the sounds of it. Tent time always seems to end up with me having to chase Mia and Finn. Did it for about an hour last night and even though by the end they seemed tired because they were just hanging out on me i still had to chase Mia and Finn because they won't go into a pouch and even though I trust Izzy and Bella to just ride on me back to the cage I am not comfortable with all four being on me especially if one jumps off. I feel like chasing them and feel like i destroyed anything i may have gained with them. At least Finn didn't bite me at all so that was nice. What does everyone do when you are in the tent. I have a wheel and i hand out treats but other then that i mostly just sit on my iPad and talk to them. I don't interact with them much because they just don't seem interested other then like some said using me to jump off off or onto. Like i said Bella and Izzy never play nor jump or anything. Finn does most of the playing (ie jumping, running on the wheel) and Mia comes to investigate me but not much more. Anyway i am going to try to go back to CritterLove and some cuddle time. Thanks so much.
Posted By: Feather

Re: So frustrated - 08/03/18 03:09 AM

Maybe we can get together on a weekend.

I also have toy making parties throughout the year at the Oregon Fire Station. Its fun to get together with others that share the same interests as you.

I have rescues coming in some time this weekend, maybe we can get together for a bit on Sunday.
Posted By: Hutch

Re: So frustrated - 08/03/18 05:21 AM

Originally Posted By: Mema
What does everyone do when you are in the tent.

I bring treats, a toy or two they are able to climb on &/or hide in, & maybe a toy we can interact with like a feather or 550-cord. Mostly, it's about me giving them a safe space where they may run wild. I generally just sit there watching them & will interact as they come to me. It's a back & forth thing. I've kind of developed a feel when they want something from me & will reach towards them to make an easier jump or climb. For us, tent/bathroom time is when they're in control. Usually, after an hour or so, they'll get tired & head back into the pouch to nap (which is why I do it shortly before their normal wake-up time).
Posted By: Hydrus

Re: So frustrated - 09/05/18 03:38 PM

Hi Mema,

I completely understand your pain. I was just about to make a post myself actually. I got my girls in March and they are still very angry with me. I had a glider about 17 years ago and she was soooooo sweet and gentle, she'd let me hold her and cuddle her, she'd be happy to get in a pouch and come anywhere with me and VERY rarely crabbed. She was the perfect little girl. She passed away rather early at an age of 6 - granted we now know so much more about them. Back then I had only fed her yogurt, veggies and some seeds/nuts. It seems so horrible thinking back to that...

Anyway, now we are armed with so much more knowledge and resources I went ahead and purchased 2 females in March. They are nothing like my previous girl is. And I know better - not to get pets with the assumption they will be like a previous pet as you will almost always be disappointed, but again, I did it anyway and here I am.

I do tent time with the girls several times a week and the only way I can get them in there is if I take the pouch in with me and let them crawl out on their own. Then once they are out, I have to wait for them to go back in the pouch on their own as they will not let me touch them.

When I carry them in a pouch around with me, there is NO way I can put them in there myself. They both bite hard and will bite through the fleece. I have to basically put their cage pouch opening to opening with the pouch I wear around the house and slowly squish them like toothpaste into the carry pouch. This seems like the less traumatic way, that way I'm not grabbing at them and they won't bite me. I rub the outside of the pouch and talk sweetly to them. I give them a lot of yogurt drops which they will take from my hand but they crab very loudly while doing it.

When in the cage, they will jump to the front and will reach their little hands out to me to take a yogurt drop and when I put my hand in there I put the yogurt drop on my wrist so they have to step on my hand to get to it. That works great and they don't attack me anymore as they once did. But if I try to move my hand or wiggle my finger to try to maybe touch their side then its all over and they run away/crab/bite.

I'm so sad as I desperately want them to be friendly - however that being said, I do see some improvement. I have read that in some cases they can take a very long time, others a very short time. And in some cases they just won't allow you to handle them.

I wish I had some advise to give you but I'm in a similar boat frown I wish I lived closer to you so we could chat as well but I'm in Minnesota.

I wish you luck <3
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