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Handling & Training
Degu FAQ
Handling & Training
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Training Degus

Before handling your Degu comes training or taming. Degus are intelligent animals. When you first bring your Degu home, let him settle down for a day or two before attempting to put your hand in the cage. Once you feel your Degu has settled in well, slowly put your hand in the cage, whilst talking to your Degu with a calm, quiet voice. Use his or her name oftenly. Open your palm when it is in the cage. A lot of Degus will hop on immediately. He may only stay there for a second, but every second is progress. Some Degus will act shy and stay at the other side of the cage. It is important that you do NOT approach him/her. Degus are not like Hamsters or Guinea Pigs in that you can just quickly grab them and lift them out. They need to come to you. They will only appreciate being invited! First, you must find out what your Degu enjoys. Maybe it's a treat he will do anything for (Head over to the feeding section!) or maybe he likes a scrath behind the ear! Once you have found out what he likes, you can use this to your advantage. Degus learn from reactions to what they do. They will learn when they do something right, because they will get something they like in return. The same for vice-versa. They will learn that they don't get the thing they want if they do something wrong therefore, learn from their mistakes! But you need to remember that your Degu is only capable of so much. Don't expect to much out of him, aim low and progress slowly. The key is patience and persitance. If when your suddenly doing really well, your Degu all of a sudden goes back to step 1 you need to accept it and go through the stages again. Some good treats to use are bits of cracker, bread and corn-flakes but again, you can find out what your degu really loves!
Alough younger Degus may be easier to train, it's possible to teach an old Degu new tricks! And remember, some Degus are slower learners than others. Be patient and stick to it - Don't give up and you'll get there!
Firstly NEVER EVER EVER pick your Degu up by the tail! While it is true that some rodents can be safely picked up by the base of the tail, this is NOT the case with Degus, and your Degus defence mechagnism is loosing a part of their tail or some of the skin so don't do it!
Instead, let your degu walk onto your palm or up your arms. He will stay there longer if he doesn't feel restrained, or has a treat to nibble on! 

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