**Bonding With Your Sugar Glider**

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**Bonding With Your Sugar Glider**

Post by Oakley on Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:41 am

As first posted on Oakley's Glider Site Facebook Page

What do you have to do to bond with your sugar glider?

The truth is, bonding can be scary! Face it, those cute, fluffy little creature that you've so readily welcomed into your family can be more intimidating than a full-grown grizzly bear. In the wild, gliders don't have much going for them. They're small, don't have really sharp claws or huge teeth, and they're bite-sized! So how do they fend off predators? They crab, lunge, and otherwise make a hue fuss at the first sign of trouble. When you think about it, your hand reaching in to their warm, cozy pouch, is about as scary to them as a big animal trying to get at them in their nest!

Bonding with your glider is all about trust. Trust takes time, and the more effort and time you devote to your glider, the bigger the payoff will be. Here's the good news: EVERY GLIDER CAN, AND WILL, BOND! There are no helpless cases, every glider has the potential to be an amazing companion.

You're going to feel a number of emotions when you're going through the bonding process. And this process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years to complete! You're going to feel overwhelming love (at the first sight of your new glider), hurt (when your baby seems to hate everything about you), fear (what if my baby bites me? What if he/she never bonds?), and sheer joy when you start to realize that your glider is bonding to you (My baby took a treat from me today! He ran to me when he got scared! He let me hold him!).


So, here we go. As you read through all of this, keep the following in mind:



  • Be patient! If you get frustrated, put your baby back in their cage and take a little break.
  • Be consistent! If you feed your glider at 6PM then take him out to play at 7, try to do this the same way every day.
  • Use TREATS! Once your glider willingly takes treats from you, you can really gain his trust by offering him treats every time you interact with him.
  • Your favorite tools will become TREATS, a ZIPPERED BONDING POUCH, and a TENT!



First things first, as soon as you get him home with your new glider, you'll want to take him out and immediately begin showing him how much you love him - DON'T. When you get home, let your glider rest for at least a day in his new cage. This means HANDS OFF. Going to a new home is stressful. And once your glider gets to your home, everything is completely different than anything they're used to. Rest and time is key in those first few days.

With that in mind, give him a day or two before you start the bonding process in earnest. During this time, sit by the cage every night while he's up and exploring. Talk softly to him, try not to make loud noises or quick movements. These first few days will have a big impact on your glider, and even though it doesn't seem like much, your glider is already learning how to trust you.

Now it's time to get down to bonding! Once your glider is settled in, you can take him out for the first time. Go into the cage while he is sleeping (during the day) and take his ENTIRE cage pouch out with him in it. SO NOT open the pouch and look at him, direct contact will come later. For now, just fold over the top and put it against you. You can put the pouch inside of your shirt, or even put his pouch inside a zippered bonding pouch so you can wear him around your neck while he sleeps. He will probably crab when you first move the pouch, or whenever you disturb the pouch. This is normal, don't check on him, he is just fine. Let him become comfortable with sleeping in his pouch while it is on you. He will learn that your voice, scent, movement, etc. is nothing to be afraid of. Start of with just a few hours a day of this, and you can quickly work your way up to having him on you all day while he is sleeping Smile

I cannot stress enough how important having your glider with you (in their pouch) during the day is. This lets him get used to you while he feels calm and secure. It's the best possible environment for building his trust. Remember what I said about him learning your scent? There are a few things you can do to help this along. Every day, take a piece of fleece (a small, 6" x6" square of it will do just fine) and put it inside your shirt next to your skin. It will pick up your scent all day, and then you can put it in your glider's cage at night.

Don't try to do any more than "wear" your glider during the day for at least a week. You'll know that he is ready for more interaction when he settles in quickly, and is crabbing less as you move about and talk during the day. Once he's comfortable in the bonding pouch with you, you can begin to shamelessly bribe him with treats. Find out what his favorites are by placing a few on his plate each night and see what he enjoys the most.

Are you ready for your first "real" contact with your new glider? Here we go! One evening, while you are sitting by his cage watching him eat and play, get his favorite treat out and offer it to him through the bars. (Note, there is some controversy about this. Some say this encourages gliders to nip at fingers poked through the bars. I say that gliders will always nip at something that is stuck into their cage, and people should be warned not to offer their fingers as treats.) Move slowly so he's not frightened, and then wait as long as it takes for him to come investigate. Give him as many treats as he will take this way, and make sure the treats are small so he has to come back to you frequently for more. Do this for a few nights until he's eagerly coming over to the side of the cage when you approach. Always take your fingers away once he takes the treat, and offer a new treat when he comes back for more.

Now we are ready for day-time interaction! Today is the day. You are going to take your glider (inside of his pouch) out of the cage just as you do every morning. Now, gently roll the edges of the pouch down until your glider can see everything just by looking up. NEVER reach into the pouch, you can't imagine how scary this looks like to a glider. The picture attached to this post is of a rolled-down pouch. Once you've rolled down the edges, offer him a treat. When he take it, roll the edges of the pouch back up and go about your day. Plan to do this 4-6 times a day, increasing the number of times you offer a treat this way every day. Don't be frustrated if he wont take the treat at first, keep offering a few times a day and in the evening until he looks forward to your visits.

Now it's time to learn about "licky" treats. Next time you offer him a treat at night, dip your finger in yogurt, or applesauce (whichever he prefers) and offer this to him. Be sure to take your finger away before he completely licks it clean or he may bite your finger in search of more! Once he understands how licky treats work, do this during the day as well. Before you know it, your glider will think of you as the treat-fairy.


Now for the next step! Just to re-cap, you are spending time next to your glider's cage at night, speaking softly, moving slowly, and offering treats through the bars. You are "wearing" him inside his pouch during the day, offering him treats a few times a day by rolling down the pouch. Now, you are ready for tent-time.


TENT-TIME:



Wait.... a tent? What the heck is tent time? Well, tent-time is about to be your best friend. You can't wait to play and hold and love on your glider, but I will bet you that if you take him out in a room you will end up chasing him frantically and scaring him to death trying to keep him from getting lost. This is why tent-time is so great. It takes the stress and pressure off of you and your glider. Generally speaking, a small tent is better than a large one. This puts YOU at the center of attention. You want your glider to think of you as a human "tree" and a smaller tent will make this easier.

So, go buy a small, pop-up tent for around $20.00 at Walmart or Target and set it up so you can see what you're working with. Once the tent is up, take some time making it comfortable for you and your glider. Put a sheet on the floor, hand a few toys around, and maybe put some treats in different areas of the tent.

Now you're ready for your first tent time! Take your glider out of the cage in his pouch (it is best to do this about an hour before he normally wakes up). Go into the tent, and roll-down the sides of the pouch just like you do every day when you are feeding treats. Feed him a treat or two, and then set the pouch down (still rolled-down) and let him come out when he is ready. Remember that the first thing he will have to do is go to the bathroom. Now, let him explore, jump around, play, and use you as a jungle-gym. The first few times, just let him do his own thing. After he gets used to tent-time, you can start playing with him. Most gliders LOVE feathers, so a cat feather teaser is a lot of fun. But, your most important job is to be the observer. Your glider will be running around, jumping on and off of you, and you get to enjoy it all. Before you know it, you and your glider will look forward to tent time.

Tent time, just as with your daytime schedule, needs to be done on a set schedule. Shoot for 1-2 hours a night, five nights a week at first. You can begin to do tent-time less frequently as your bond gets stronger, but you'll realize that it is a really great time for you and your glider. Try bringing in new things for him to play with, or hiding treats all around for him to find.


Now you should be well on your way to an amazing bond with your gliders. There is really nothing that tops the feeling you get when you're fully bonded with your glider. Every time you get discouraged, think of how far you've already come and it's sure to put a smile on your face.

On an end note, where your glider comes from is crucial to how readily they will accept you. When searching for your little one, remember that finding a great breeder is one of the most important things you can do!




Take care,

Oakley

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www.oakleysglidersite.com

-Basil, Mausi and Milo, Bagheera and Baloo, LF, Candy and Cane
-my puppies Snickers and Pretzel
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-AND my POSSIBLE boyfriend Wink What happens at the SGGA STAYS at the SGGA
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Oakley
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