Information for current and future keepers of the popular rodent - the common degu.

How to Tame an Degu

How to tame an octodon?

Domesticating an octodon is not a simple process and therefore it must not be rushed. Taming can be divided into 3 parts, which I will describe in more detail. When taming an octodon, keep in mind “Work is slow, work is not worth much.”

  • After you bring your octodon(s) home and put them in their enclosure, you should not try to touch them for 5-6 days or so while they get used to their new environment. For now, sit with them and talk to them. Say anything. It doesn’t matter. It’s a good idea to repeat the degu’s name often, it’ll get them used to it.
  • The second stage is to put your hand in the kennel and let the degus come on their own (they always do – they are very curious). They start sniffing the hand and biting a little. Just don’t flinch and keep talking to them in the calm voice they should be used to. You can also try to touch or scratch them. And keep in mind that force will only make the situation worse.
  • The third stage is similar to the second, except that you put your hand out so they can get into it and put something they like on it and wait for them to come. They take the food and run off to eat it. Repeat this maybe 5 times a day for a week or so and then you can try taking the 8th grader’s hand or letting them climb onto the hand on their own (it usually works).

Ochočení osmáka

How to train a degu to come when called

It is a good idea to combine training to run when called with taming, then there is a better chance of success. This part is relatively easy. It consists of saying the degu’s name when rewarding him (treats..). He will associate it with food and the fact that he has to come. Some degus get it, others don’t. Nothing to do but try.

I’m the master here..

Degus live in natural groups, ruled by the strongest individual who has won his place in the pack. Even in domestic breeding there is such a leader, you should always be above him. Which means that sometimes it is necessary (for example, when they start fighting) to rake them a little harder and explain to them that this is not what you do. Most of the time it is enough to gently yet firmly pin the 8th grader to the floor (with your hand!) to make him understand.

However, if you intervene at the wrong moment (when it’s not just a fight for food, but for position in the pack), you can easily end up with a bloody wound. Quite often you can’t tell the difference, so the old saying “Measure twice and cut once” applies here literally.

It is ideal to intervene if the fight is obviously unnecessary (who will eat first, who will spin in the carousel…), but if it is a fight that has merit, it is better not to intervene!

The degu reunion

It can happen that when you breed two degus one of them dies, runs away or something else happens to it. Or if you keep only one and you don’t have as much time for it as it needs and you need to get it a friend. You’ll have to get them used to each other before you can get them together.

Closely related to this topic is the situation where you want to add a new individual to your degu.