Hello! If you have read my 'End of April Goals' or 'Taming the Beast' blog posts, you will know that Schmutz is quite the kicker. My aim for the month is to reduce his kicking significantly so that I am less scratched. At this very moment, I am covered in scratches and white scars from where he has kicked me. It makes it an ordeal to get him out of the cage, and quite frankly, unenjoyable. So that is why I made it my mission to change his ways. I will also mention now that he is not neutered and at this stage I am still unsure as to whether I will bother neutering him.
I started feeding him vegetables only when out of his cage, his favourite being silver beet, I would give him some of this around the room for him to chew on when he wanted. I did try to vary it up, so we rotated between carrot, celery, silverbeet, and apples. This seemed to work well. He would have a romp around, a nibble in between sprinting around the room and his kicking reduced significantly. He had stopped altogether kicking when grabbing him out of the cage, and only a tiny bit when picking him up to go back into the cage. He still would kick off me to get into the cage but that was fine compared to what he used to be like. Everything was looking up, so I continued this daily with putting treats down while he plays.
Unfortunately, that didn't last long, maybe a week and a half at most and now he has reverted back to his kicking ways and I was left with new scratches each time I took him out of the cage. From here, my next step of plan was to hold him while he ate food from me personally instead of leaving it around the room. I would still give him time to run around, but I would mix this up with holding time. I also done this at different times during his out of cage time. I varied it from at the start, during or after so that he didn't get into too much of a pattern and start to kick me when he knew he wouldn't be getting treats.
I am currently still doing this process and seeing how it will work. I will update you all again in a couple of weeks and tell you how the new method is working out!
Thanks for reading :)