Part of the fun of owning a hamster is picking it up and holding it or letting it walk on you. But before you can hold and play with your hamster, you’ve got to tame it. It will take some time and patience to tame your hamster. But if you start taming your hammy when you first get it, he or she will be letting you handle him or her in a few weeks or sooner.
Start with the voice. Talk softly to your hamster when you are feeding or watching it. This helps your hamster get used to your voice.
Next, work on making sure your hamster can recognize your scent. Put your hand next to the hamster cage bars and let the hamster sniff so it will know your smell. After that, you can put your hand into the cage and let the hamster sniff it again. Then try putting food that your hamster especially likes in the palm of your hand and put it inside the cage. See if you can get the hamster to climb on to your hand to take the food. If at first your hammy doesn’t want to take the food, it’s OK. Just slowly take your hand out and try again later.
Don’t try to do all of this at once. This part of the taming should be done over a few days time.
After the hamster is used to taking food from your hand you can gently and carefully stroke it. Stroke along its back and sides. Stay away from the hamster’s head as this may frighten it.
Talk in a soft voice to your hamster as you pet it. In this way, your hamster is getting used to your voice and smell, as well as being petted. This will help relax the hamster for the next step, getting your hamster used to getting picked up.
You do this by first gently lifting your hamster up a little way while it’s in your hand. You might try doing this while he or she is eating a snack. Do this for a few seconds at a time until your hamster looks like it’s comfortable being lifted or doesn’t try to jump off and run away. This step may take some time.
Next, bring your hamster out of its cage while it’s in your hand. Put your other hand over its back when it comes out. Be sure to cup your hand over the hamster’s back, not over its head. Do not hold the hamster tightly. It might then get frightened and try to nip your hand.
Finally, staying close to the floor, let your hamster move from one hand to the other. Just remember, a hamster can move fast, so keep an eye on it as you do this. Make sure the door to the room you are in is closed.
Your hamster may be tamed quickly or it may take a few weeks. It all depends on the personality of your hamster. Try to work with your hamster every day but don’t wake it up to do this training. And you’re more likely to be successful if you do this training toward the evening because hamsters are most active at that time.
You’ll know your hamster is tame when it is used to you and feels comfortable taking food from your hand, being petted, being held, and playing on your hands outside the cage. Remember, the slow and gentle approach works best.