Getting To Know
Make sure before you buy a glider that your cage is ready with toys and pouches. We like our joeys to know the owners before they actually come home, so we ask that they bring a T-shirt by or sleep with a piece of fabric and drop it snail mail. Every time we play with the joey we make sure that it goes to sleep and knows that scent! We also ask the owner to name the joey so we can start to teach it their new name. The first day you meet your new joey remember you are someone new and different. Your glider might be scared, hanging onto the cage frozen, or perhaps run into its pouch for cover. If cage setup permits, place the pouch on the door of the cage, being careful that it clears the doorway when you open and close it. It may crab or lung at you, but do not give up just yet. You have a long road ahead of training and bonding so be patient. Let your glider be in the cage a day or two to get used to its surroundings if it has been crabbing or lunging at you. If it just crabs and does not nip, go ahead and pick it up, cupping it into a ball until it is quiet. Being nocturnal your joey will probably fall asleep in your hands. This is good because it also another way of it getting used to your scent. If you find that after a couple of days you cannot get it to stop crabbing and lunging, then you need to take a consistent and patient approach to get your joey to bond with you. A glider has to build a trust with its new owner, and for this to happen certain things need to be done. First of all, sleep in a T-shirt that you do not mind sharing with your joey. Then, place it on top of the cage or hang it with clothes pins on the outside of the cage placing it next to their cage pouch, so the first thing they smell when they come out is you.
Every morning and evening hand feed it treats like Mazuri New World Primate soaked in Applejuice, apple pieces, applesauce or honey on your finger. Place your finger covered with goodies at the top of the pouch. They will slowly come out and lick it. They will be apprehensive at first, but the objective is trust by associating good things with your hands. With the other hand try and pet your glider while hand feeding it with the other, saying itís name sweetly and softly. Do this until it will no longer crab or lunge at you. If the glider nips at you, take the bite and do not draw your hand back even though it is alarming. You want your joey to know that this does not keep you away. Do not ever scold or say harsh words to your glider no matter how naughty they are. Do not ever scream out when they bite you, just grit your teeth because if you let them see that they can get their way, they will continue to dominate you. Some gliders are overprotective of their pouch and will naturally crab when you invade their sleeping quarters, but eventually they get over this. After doing this for about three days, put the piece of food in the palm of your hand and wait for them to venture out to your hand to retrieve it. It would be a good idea to record your daily progress so you will know how far you have come. Try and keep your routine the same every day and be consistent. Donít miss a time of hand feeding them. They remember!
All gliders personalities are different, some more aggressive than others depending on their past experiences with previous owners and their individual character traits. Donít give up! Once it took our little Jasper three months to not bite and lung at us and then he was as tame as a kitten. After about 2-3 days you need to pouch your glider with a bonding pouch (a pouch that you wear) every day for several hours. Adults need one with a drawstring because they will be a little more bold than the joeys. Gliders really feel safe under your shirt, so do not let it be off limits. Remember, the closer it lies to your skin, the more it smells your scent. If pouch bonding is not successful, trim their nails and put them directly down your shirt during the day. Try to stay at home with it unless you are working. If you see your glider will sleep all day in the pouch, take it to work. Your boss will never know.
Try not to introduce it to anyone until you can see it bond to you. A good indication of bonding,is when a new person comes into the room and it runs for cover under your shirt. Then you will know that you are the protector and it trust you. If you don't feel comfortable carrying them different places just carry them in the house until you have established a bond with them.
Handling your Joey: There are a few ways of holding a joey that make them feel in control and comfortable with you. When I am trying to get a joey to bond with me, I never grab it from behind or on top unless it is running away to a dangerous area of the house. Even if it runs away, try to stand by it and wait for it to jump on to you. If it has started bonding with you, it usually jumps on to you right away when it is on the floor. When reaching into the cage and the glider is on the cage bars, offer your back hand to them, just in case they are still biting the bite does not hurt so bad. Also the back of the hand is less threatening to them than the fingers coming towards them. If they are on the ground, place you hand flat, palm up and slide your hand underneath their front feet and let the glider walk or hop on to your hand. After it jumps on you, praise it for coming to you, remembering to keep your fingers together. If a treat is handy, feel free to spoil your baby. If they escape and you cannot get them to jump on you, get their pouch and lay it in front of them. Many times they will just crawl back in into the pouch for safety. If you have another glider or animal in the house, wash your hands before handling the joey and the same if you handle another glider after touching the joey. Sometimes different smells like detergent, scented soaps, nail polish, perfume, bother gliders. Just remember to wash your hands before and after handling the joey. Also, keep your joey warm and away from drafts.
Tip: Before removing the joey from its pouch, it is always a good idea to rub your hands over the outside of the pouch to acquire a scent that will be familiar to your joey.