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Do's in Sugar Glider bonding/taming

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Do's in Sugar Glider bonding/taming

Post by Admin/arthur on Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:01 pm

This is another way to bond/train/calm/tame a sugar glider. It has some variations to other methods I use and gliders are all different and have been bred or raised differently. That's why ever glider is a fascinating adventure to get them to finally trust you and be calm around us humans. It is not meant to be a process of you must do it exactly as written but more of a guideline of any method here that I have used with my gliders. Some respond to different approaches and some are a little harder to tame but you have to keep working with them and do what they respond to in a positive manner. Sometimes a parental approach or an approach that you can see the glider(box method) and sometimes just sitting and spending hours with them is calming to them. Article is under picture.













Taming/bonding in handling sugar gliders:
We have to look at bonding a sugar glider in two different times and areas. It is a two part process, one at night and daytime pouch bonding. This article is geared toward pouch bonding for new owners that had no idea what they were buying or that were lied to before purchasing on impulse. The usual rule of thumb is to leave your glider alone for 2-3 days, except to feed and water them at night. If your suggie is coming toward you or climbs on your hand at night you can begin the bonding steps/process in taking suggie out in their sleeping or bonding pouch. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change as above. A glider that ran from you when you walked up to their cage and now just sits and looks at you is a positive change and as long as you don’t scare them can probably move forward. If your glider approaches the side of the cage toward you, then can give them treats through the cage bars. But don’t chase your glider when trying to give them a treat. If you open the cage and offer a treat if they run and hide place treat in their dinner dish. Try to glance at them to see if they are watching you placing treat in dish. Gradually later they may approach the cage side to get their treat. Put large pieces of fleece(6 by 6 in. or 8 by 8 in. pieces) in their sleeping pouch or nest box. Large enough that you can pick them up from their pouch and handle them so they have their scent to be comfortable and secure in. Also your sleeping or bonding pouch should be a 10-12in. wide and about 10-12 in. deep.
1) At night and during the day you can walk next to the cage and talk to your suggie. Use a baby voice or a soft whisper soothing tone in your voice. I like to use a certain noise that would be my recognition noise to the glider. What you are looking for is a tone of voice(that if the glider crabs and lunges) that the change in the crab or not lunging at you. It is a voice that the glider is not scared of and that doesn’t bother it. If at night as you walk up to the cage and the glider freaks out as jumping crazy and scared at the sight of you or if it runs and hides. Then you need to stop at a point where you are at a distance that doesn’t scare your baby sugar glider. You can even just stop there and wave at them slightly just so they can see that you ARE NOT a threat to them, and so they are comfortable. You still have to approach to feed and give fresh water. Look at them once say hello and kind of ignore them as you put dishes in cage. Don’t let them escape the cage. If the glider escapes the cage and takes off running, then catching them without scaring them is difficult. There are a couple of ways to corral your suggie. My Dad and I use to catch wild snakes(to have an encounter) by one of us getting the snakes attention and the other person throwing a towel over the snake before one of us would scoop it and then find the head to catch it. You could use this approach(with fleece) to corral the suggie and scoop it up and put the fleece and the suggie back in cage without it associating your hands with the catching if the glider is totally wild and un bonded. When one of my gliders escapes(usually a young one) and gets on top of my seven foot tall cage I use a duster that is puffy to kind of corral the suggie toward the front of the cage. It watches this big puffy thing coming toward it slowly and the suggie then comes toward me and since they are friendly I can scoop them at once with my hands. The funny thing is they sometimes look back toward the duster even after I catch them. They never associate my hands with anything negative which is what you want to do. Don’t scare them with your hands. You can use a piece of fleece and throw it over your glider and scoop them up. But don’t chase behind them with the fleece and miss them. The chasing can really scare and put bonding very much harder than it already will be with a wild glider. If you have a partial bond with your baby and they aren’t scared of your hands you can scoop them up and calm them down against your chest. Either way try to get your suggie to climb up on something as it makes it easier to retrive them and they may jump back on to you. Kind of non chalantly walk behind them and then quickly cover them with a large piece of fleece. Then see if you can hold them against your chest to calm them down if not put them back in the cage and offer a treat. If they freak after you catch them with the fleece then put them back in cage with the fleece. That way hopefully they associate the catch with the fleece and not your hands.
You can at night walk toward the cage and let the baby see you a few times a night as long as you are not scaring the baby. After awhile or when the sugar glider starts to approach the front of cage or takes interest in you then you can walk closer to the cage. In the daytime you can walk up to the cage and use the same tone or softness in your voice as you use at night when you talk to them. Use the same recognition noise or phrase at the same intensity as you use at night. It will be louder or sound closer to the glider and will be like a gauge to see how they react to your voice. If you have a name for him/her then repeat the name in your phrase then leave, you can do this a few times a day with quiet time for glider to sleep in between times. What you are looking for is the lunging or crabbing to change intensity as it gets less loudly or is shorter time duration. You can try once(to just see what the reaction is) a Tsk Tsk or a Psst Psst noise(not loudly but firmly and short quick duration) to see if the glider responds positively or negatively. Positive is if their crabbing stops, negative is if they crab louder or lunge at the side of the bag. If you have a positive reaction then you can move on and can use that as a quieting and calming as you pet the outside of the pouch. What I am trying to relay to new suggie owners is to try and not make your glider be scared enough to crab and bite. Which I think then makes new owners and the glider scared of each other. You need to be calm and relaxed when you approach your new family member and not to think about possibly being bitten by a sugar glider. Once you force a suggie to bite you then human and critter both have a fear even if it is in the back of our minds. It can make people be apprehensive in trying to bond/train your new pet. Just like laughing or being loud around a suggie that is in a new home with everything is strange and scary to them, don’t give them a reason to fear you and your human family. Show them that you understand that they are scared and that with time that you are a wonderful suggie parent. Your new suggie will probably crab but if you stop what is making it crab and shorten the time they crab and can calm them down so they can trust you, is a better approach than forcing them to crab and then even worst to bite you. Example: If you pet the pouch and they continually and constantly crab and lunge then what are you accomplishing. If you pet for a quick couple of times and stop then repeat a few minutes later. Sometimes it is done so fast and calmly that the glider doesn’t have time to react. You have petted and the glider is not forced into a scared frizzy of having to defend it’s self.
Then as they get use to it you then increase your petting and interaction times. Instead of carrying a scared crabby baby around just sit still in a chair and talk a little, pet a little and eventually give a treat to them while in pouch during daytime. You have to find the road or key that will work for your baby. Some will respond to a petting while in the pouch and others may freak out as you pet them but respond to a slight pressure on the outside of the pouch.

2) I would try touching or cupping the outside of the sleeping pouch during the daytime. Only touch them for a few seconds especially if they throw a fit by crabbing and/or lunging through the pouch. If they do this then just cup for a second and let go. If they don’t freak out and crab as you cup them or pet them or apply a slight comforting pressure then continue to do what works for your baby suggie. If none of above calm the sugar glider down then(while in sleeping pouch) just sit still and place your hand or arm across the top of the pouch, so the glider can just get use to you being around them. Talk to them the same way as you approach them. If talking makes them crab as you approach then don’t talk until you actually touch the pouch(at the sametime). OR you can take pouch out carefully and gently, then go sit very quietly in a chair and watch t.v. The reason to watch television is so you are calm and not thinking about what the baby may or may not do. Every once in awhile pet them, talk softly to them, and/or cup them through the pouch. If they crab then shorten the time you do any of the above. Even just laying your hand over the pouch will start the suggie getting use to your hand around them and they can smell you through the pouch. You can even look in on them quickly and then close the pouch so they don’t escape. When you sit down don’t talk at first or move at all. Let the baby calm down before you start petting or talking to them in a whisper voice. Some gliders respond positively to a slight pressure as you lay your hand or cup the glider through the pouch. You have to find which one of these ways may work for your suggie baby and then work from there as you calmly bond with the baby sugar glider.
3) Eventually I would want to have my hand in the pouch with my baby glider so that it gets use to being handled. But first I would open the pouch to see how the sugar glider reacts toward having a bright light floods the pouch as you open it up. At first they may crab or burrow up in their scent blankets that have their humans smell on them so they can smell you as they sleep. I would first try feeding them a treat by moving slowly as you approach them with your hand, offering a wiggling bug treat. The wiggling will get the gliders attention, you can also just hold the treat at the top of the pouch at first to see their reaction. Hopefully they won’t freak out and may come up to receive their treat. Especially if you have been feeding them treats at night through the cage bars. Even better if they take a treat from you at night when you open their cage. Let them see your hand coming toward them and if they look like they are getting scared then stop and hold your hand still for a moment and then move VERY VERY slowly toward them with the treat. If they are still scared then you may want to try later or just leave your hand where it is and sweetly (same voice) talk to them. Sometimes changing your tone to a happy soft up beat tone gets their attention toward your voice as you will see their ears move back and forth like little radar dishes. This is all geared toward them getting use to seeing you as they are in the pouch looking up at you. Try to stop before you make them crab or lunge(if they still do it) at your hand and you can sit and just let them look up at you as you watch T. V. calmly. Kind of be aware of what they do in the pouch but let them look at you as you ignore them, if they bury up scared then shorten the time that you look in at them. If they bury up just because of the light and are not crabbing at you or lunging then you may be able to slide your hand in the pouch and lay it next to your baby or draped over the back part of your sugar glider. If they take the treat from you then just talk softly as they eat it(same voice tone) and don’t make any sudden fast movements or noise that scares your baby suggie. You can try and pet your baby as it eats their favorite treat, also could leave your hand in the pouch next to the glider(that’s why we recommend a large pouch so you don’t force your hand around them at first). You may get a communication nip that they want another treat or because you smell like a bug. If the timing is right then you could switch hands to have your hand around the suggie as long as they don’t object to you being in their nest. Sometimes opening the pouch wide can scare your baby so if this happens and you are working on getting your hand in the pouch with them. You can crease the pouch down the middle and slide your hand in the opposite side of where the glider is, then release the crease. Wait a few seconds until suggie sees your hand if they don’t object then you can slide your hand over to the gliders. If they object by crabbing some, then just leave your hand perfectly still so that you don’t intimidate your baby or scare them into crabbing and lunging toward your hand. Same as just sitting quietly at first only this time your glider gets to see your hand in their nest in a non threatening manner. You can every once in awhile wiggly a finger slightly to see how baby reacts. Do it quickly and then hold still again. Eventually you should be able to slide your hand over near them and pet them softly as you talk softly to them. They may come over and taste nip or groom a finger. DO NOT jerk away, if you have to curl your fingers and only have your knuckles exposed. At this time also the Psst or Tssk may also help in telling them NO if the grooming is to rough. I also like to use a higher pitch to praise them if they change(in a positive way) how they groom me or if they stop nipping my hand. The main thing to be aware of is there is a big difference between a grooming nip, communication nip(for food, water, or tasting you) a pinch nip or a dislike nip and a full scared bite. I believe the only scared bite has to have crabbing that goes along and before they lunge to bite. There also is a territorial crab and jerky jumpy movements toward you(usually at night) that is to chase rival gliders away from their territory. They will mimic the other gliders movements and in an open area instead of running scared they will charge toward you or the other suggie. So in first contact with your hand in pouch(even though grooming or tasting can hurt) you have to kinda try to figure out WHY your baby is nipping or is it biting to chase you away. This is the ONLY time that you may have to take a nip as you don’t want to let the suggie chase you out of their nest. You should try to be at a point in your relationship or taming/training/bonding that your glider isn’t still so scared of you that it lunges and bites you. If your sugie doesn’t object to your hand being layed over them, then you can try to cup them up against the side of the pouch. They may try to wiggle out from under your hand and if they do then let them out from under your hand and settle down in the bottom of the pouch. I would not let them come out of the pouch unless you are in a glider safe room or a tent. If they stay under your hand you could open the pouch and let them look up at you through your index finger and thumb. If they squeeze out then close the pouch and try again after sugie has settled down. Don’t chase them in the pouch to pick them up to hold them.
Written by
Arthur Gibbons
New Age Sugar Gliders

Admin/arthur
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