Help with alpha behavior?

Posted By: weyrsinger

Help with alpha behavior? - 11/20/14 06:15 AM

I go through phases of being fed up with Athena and just accepting her behavior as a part of her personality. She seems to really be the alpha of my 3. Even when I put food in the cage hours before they wake up and place it far apart, she'll crab like crazy at the other 2 if they try to eat or come anywhere near her...or even scamper in her general direction without getting near her. She doesn't do it all the time...but definitely a lot. The behavior that really bothers me the most though is the biting. She'll bite me without crabbing or anything like that, so I'm pretty sure it's not because she's scared. She's always been not very easily frightened. The biting seems to me like an "I'm in charge and you'll do what I say" kind of thing. Sometimes it's more of a pouch protective thing if I try to pet them while they're all curled up, so I have open pouches which helps a little but not always. Sometimes it's during play time, she'll just come over and bite me. I'm sure I don't smell like food or anything, the others only come over to climb on me or groom. And I do mean she will bite me, not just use her teeth while grooming me, although she does that too. She bites hard enough to draw blood not infrequently. Usually I just put up with it but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask for some advice.
Posted By: GliderNursery

Re: Help with alpha behavior? - 11/20/14 01:46 PM

I'm not really sure what to tell you on this one. I've only had one glider, than no matter what I seemed to do, she just liked to bite me. I have rehomed her to someone else and, had I not seen the video, I would never believe that she has become such a sweetheart and no biting!

Sometimes its simply the glider's personality. Sometimes it's because they don't particularly care for the cage mates we gave them. Remember, they didn't choose those mates, we did. And just because they get along doesn't mean they are truly "bonded" cage mates. It also could be a sign that your trio is failing.

I'm not sure any of those scenarios fit yours, just thoughts that came to mind as I read your post. Hopefully someone with more knowledge/experience will come along to offer better advice than I can. wink
Posted By: Terry

Re: Help with alpha behavior? - 11/20/14 03:29 PM

Is this relatively new behavior? How long were they all together before this behavior developed?

Do the other two gliders get to eat at anytime, does she let them eat after she's gotten her initial feeding in?

Maybe getting down to when this behavior set in and any patterns it may have will help you understand her actions.

I know since we homed Ollie, he is a little nipper, has been since we brought him in last November. Unfortunately, we moved the following February and living conditions prevented keeping "out of cage" playtime schedules, which of course means he hasn't had as much bonding time with me. I'm hoping when I can get a better routine, he will become less of a nipper. His behavior changed towards the girls a short time after the move. My Ollie boy's previous mom was not his first home, she had told me that he had some trouble with his cage mate in the past and has a deformed foot from injury that occurred in a fight prior to her homing him. He was paired with a female, I believe older than him while with her and got along very well with her. I share this because reading there is a possibility that there may be a dislike of the cage mates, however maybe they can learn to respect each other's boundaries and end up ok.

I would continue with developing trust, following all the bonding tips you can, maybe this one will need more time. About my Lulu, she was one of my first pair, and she was an extreme biter. After a while of bonding method practice (pouch time during the day and play-time at night or early am), she came around. Now, since the "out of cage" play time hasn't been so routine, she has given me some pretty fierce nips lately, and returning to her lung/crabbing my hand if I bother the cage to much. These are actions she had in the beginning, however now I can still trim her nails and hold her in my hand while feeding her mealies afterwards, she shakes a little, but she doesn't bite me at those times.

I'm sharing about my experience with my individual gliders so maybe you can see if there is anything familiar and see if any changes that have been made regarding them could of onset this behavior.
Posted By: weyrsinger

Re: Help with alpha behavior? - 11/21/14 12:56 AM

I don't really remember when it started, I think it's always been like this, since I got them 3 years ago. I got her and her brother at 10 weeks old originally and added the third (who is the same age) a few months after that so they've been together most of their lives. They've never injured each other or anything, just fight over food a lot. Athena does let the others eat after she's had her fill, they're all a healthy weight. Maybe the lack of routine is the problem, I have an erratic work schedule so sometimes I can play with them every night and sometimes it's more like once a week or so. I'll try paying more attention to whether she's more bite-y during times when they get less out of cage time.
Posted By: Terry

Re: Help with alpha behavior? - 11/21/14 01:01 AM

Yes, I believe routine plays a huge roll in their behavior. I noticed the biggest change in Lulu for the better when I held a regular routine. For the most part, time to time there may have been disruptions, if the disruptions were long, I'd notice a negative change, as well has her over-grooming her eyebrows. Since I've been in AZ, and the living arrangements being what they were, it was harder to have a routine. It has played a toll in her behavior and attitude, as I've stated, and also unfortunately hasn't given me the time I'd like to have bonding with Ollie.

I'm hoping this lack of routine can come to an end soon.

I hope you can find a way to develop some routine and see if it helps your little Athena.
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