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Simple Pet Rodent Socialization Guidelines

You’re about to enter the world of small rodent pet ownership. While you haven’t decided between a pet rat or hamster, you’ve checked out each species’ preferred habitat, diet, and behaviors. Before you introduce this little creature to your family, schedule a new patient exam at Northbrook Animal Hospital, your area Coon Rapids vet. Ask for some pet rodent socialization tips, too.

First Meeting Plan

Don’t sandwich your all-important first meeting between three other errands and work obligations. If you feel the time pressure, you’ll translate that anxiety to your little pet. Plan a shorter “meet and greet” session for a younger animal.

Include time for your little rodent’s toilet and snack breaks. Also, since he’ll periodically retreat to his personal space, prepare to relax until he returns.

Down on Their Level

If you stand above your rodent’s enclosure, your overwhelming presence will make him very nervous. Instead, sit on the floor; or raise your pet’s cage so you’re on the same level.

To retrieve your little guy, don’t push your hand into his cage. Instead, use a small cup or other non-threatening object to gently scoop up your rodent. Let him walk onto your hand. By using this approach, you telegraph that you respect him and prefer a low-stress encounter.

No Punishment

Even with your best efforts, your anxious rodent might still scratch or nip your fingers or hand. He’s acting instinctively, without any desire to hurt you. Don’t physically punish your little pet, as you don’t want to endanger him. Also, by showing aggression now, you’ll set the wrong tone for future interactions. Instead, distract your friend with a chew toy; or blow a gentle puff of air that might make him reconsider that approach the next time.

Consistent Socialization

Socializing your pet rodent will take some time. At least every other day, set aside several minutes to interact with this inquisitive little guy. For smaller animals, plan for slightly longer than 10 minutes; while larger pets might tolerate a 20-minute session. Gradually, your rodent will realize that you’re not trying to snag him for dinner. He might even conclude that you’ve provided him with a cushy life filled with quality food, plush bedding, and lots of enjoyable toys.

Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Maddox, your Coon Rapids veterinarian, he’ll be a well-adjusted furry family member who can’t believe his good luck.

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