Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.


Socializing Your Hamster

     Hamsters were tamed and domesticated years ago, however they do keep some of their wild instinct and fear of humans. It is up to you to earn their trust and socialize them. Socializing is about creating a bond of trust between you and your hamster. This process can take days or even months. The key to success is patience. For this page, I will refer to the hamster as a male, it's just easier to type with a gender in mind. Oh and be sure to wash your hands prior to any handling with non-scented soap so that your hands don't smell like a tasty treat.

1. When you first get your hamster home, he will be very scared. In order to start building a bond of trust do not force him out of the travel box/cage, instead hold the box up to the cage door or the floor of the cage and allow the hamster to walk out on his own. Then allow your hamster to explore and settle into his new home. Do not try to handle him for 3-4 days. During these few days you can talk to your hamster gently and enjoy watching your hamster play and explore.

2. On the second or third day introduce "scented" tissue. This is toilet paper or kleenex that had your scent on it. Keeping it in your sock, up your sleeve or wherever for a few hours will give the tissue your scent. The hamster will then use it is a nesting material and it will allow your hamster to get used to your scent. Continue with the tissue throughout the taming process, giving some each day

3. After a couple of days of the tissue start trying to hand your hamster some treats. The easiest way to his trust is through his stomach. He may be scared to have your hand so close but eventually he should be brave or curious enough to take the treat from your fingers. After a couple of days and once he is comfortable with this, it's time to move on.

4. Now this is where we get a little more hands on. Once your hamster is comfortable taking treats from your fingers, then try laying your hand flat on the cage floor with a treat on your hand. He will eventually get curious and want to check out your hand, though this can take a while. Your hamster may nibble but he is just checking you out to see what you are. If your hamster does bite then slowly retreat, tend to the bite and then get right back in there. Your hamster is scared and if you let it know that biting will get rid of you then he will continue to do so. This time try rubbing your hands in his substrate so that you smell like him and try distracting him by rustling some bedding, making a slight noise or gently blowing in the hams direction if he goes to bite again. Continue each day with this step until he feels more comfortable with it, once he is then move onto the next step.

5. Start with laying your hand on the floor of the cage again and this time try petting his back. If he is too uncomfortable with this then try petting them while handing him a treat. The treat will tempt the hamster to stay while you pet him. Once he is comfortable with this light touch then it is time to continue onto the next step.

6. Lay your hand on the cage floor again and this time when he climbs on, lift your hand a little way off the floor. Continue doing this until you can get your other hand in there and allow him to walk from hand to hand. From this point on you can start to move on to more handling while you continue to slowly build that bond of trust.

Keep in mind that not all hamsters like to sit in your hands or cuddle. Most of them enjoy being on the go and some will never be happy to play in your hands. Most do enjoy their owners eventually though. It's important to at least get them sued to humans in case they require a vet. If they are not used to humans then the vet will have a difficult time checking out the hamster, treatment will be difficult and the whole time the hamster will be stressed.

* Hamsters are near-sited and cannot see more than a few inches in front of them. Because of this you should only handle your hamster while you are sitting down so that if they jump then the fall is not far.
* Always let your hamster smell and see your hands prior to picking it up. If you surprise your hamster then he may bite in defense.

Dos and Don'ts

-move slowly and talk softly when you are around your hamster; quick movements and loud sounds will frighten it.
-always let your hamster smell and see your hands prior to picking them up
-wash your hands prior to handling your hamster

-force your hamster out of it's cage, his terms only
-never force your hamster to do something
-do not wake your hamster to handle it
-tease or punish your hamster
-introduce your hamster to other pets in your house, or to other hamsters.