Sugar Glider Bonding: How to Bond with A Baby Sugar Glider

Tip

Bonding With Your Sugar Glider

Today’s topic is the fastest and most effective way to “bond” with your new little darling(s) – and for the sake of saving time here, I’m going to assume that you have already read the Free Special Report that’s on the front page of our website entitled “Bonding”. If you haven’t here is the link to the bonding report.

Everything I’m about to cover in this email is “built” on the foundational information in that Special Report – so If you haven’t already done so, please take a couple minutes and review these things right now – and THEN continue reading this:-)

Ok, so assuming we’re all on the same page now, at this point it should be clear to you that your sugar glider baby(ies) are not mean and they don’t hate you. Instead, just like in the King Kong story – they are just very vulnerable and afraid of you & your family – simply because they just don’t KNOW you yet. :-)

Fortunately, this is usually a very easy problem to fix – and after having now helped over 50,000 babies bond with new moms & dads just like you – it’s safe to say we have developed a TIME TESTED bonding procedure that pretty much works 100% of the time IF you follow our instructions EXACTLY as they’re laid out for you in these emails – and in the Family Circle section of our website.

Now having said that, if you’ve decided to adopt a little Sugar Bear or two, you’re obviously an “animal person” – and it’s pretty common at this stage to even have your own personal ideas about what it takes to get an animal to trust you. Now, of course, you’re welcome to do whatever you feel is best for your little baby(ies) – but what I’m gonna do here is lay out a very detailed and specific plan for you that we KNOW – beyond a shadow of a doubt – works. :-)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I can’t promise it will work overnight, but what I can promise is that it WILL ultimately work over TIME. The important thing is that you stick with each step of the process – and do NOT give up even if you don’t think its working. Then, if you ever find yourself in a place where you’re following all our advice – and it’s still not working – just send us an email at [email protected] let us know EXACTLY what’s going on.

Again, remember that everyone who works with us has these little guys as our own PERSONAL pets – so we take our responsibility to help new moms & dads like you VERY seriously. The bottom line is you are not going to be alone in this process – and we are all here to help however we can! :-)

Now, that being said, please don’t just email us after a couple days saying: “HELP!, My baby is not bonded yet!..”. Again, this is going to be a “process” – not an “event” – and it will take a little time; so just make sure you do exactly what I’m about to lay out for you – and THEN email us whenever you have questions. As you can imagine, in training over 50,000 babies over the last decade or so, we have a huge bag of extra “tips & tricks” we can dip into if it becomes necessary; but for now all I really need you to do is TRUST that the process we’re going to lay out for you here is – by far and away – the BEST place to start. Don’t worry, I’m gonna break everything down step-by-step to make it very easy to follow, so just make sure you read ALL of this bonding Information SEVERAL times before you even TRY to do anything. :-)

Ok, so let’s get started!..

Right off the bat, it’s important for you to understand that there is two distinct “parts” of the sugar glider bonding process. The first part is the baby getting comfortable with YOU – and the second is you and your family getting comfortable with your baby(ies). Both parts require time and patience.

Two of the main goals in “bonding” are to get your baby(ies) to: 1) trust you, and 2) understand that you will protect them. Fortunately, this will pretty much happen automatically over time and eventually they’ll end up feeling safe and secure when you’re around. That being said, it’s very important to understand up front that all sugar gliders have their own unique personalities – just like us humans – and no two babies will ever bond at the same speed. In fact, the whole process can take anywhere from a few days – to a few months – and how long it’s going to take in your particular situation is largely going to depend on how much time you spend TRYING to bond with your little darling(s).

Now obviously, more time is better – and fortunately this is a pretty easy thing to do for most people. Probably the best way I can describe how all this works at this point is just to compare each baby’s “stubbornness” against bonding to “sand in an hourglass”. Some babies just have more “sand” (ie. stubbornness) than others – but one thing is for sure… In the end, TIME always wins! In other words, if you spend several hours a day passively “bonding” with your baby(ies), that “sand” will melt away a LOT faster than if you spend just a couple minutes a day – get it? :-)

Now don’t get discouraged. Obviously, very few people have 12 hours a day to spend bonding with their babies - nor do you need to – but I just want to use this “hour glass” comparison to clearly point out that the MORE time you can spend with your baby(ies), the faster they will bond. The good news here is that the majority of time you’re going to spend bonding is almost completely “passive” – and doesn’t require your undivided attention. In other words, just carrying the animals around with you in their pouch – where they can smell and hear you – counts as “quality time”, and really helps speed the process along. In fact, if I had to guess, I would say that the average bonding time for most people (given an average schedule) is about 4-6 weeks – but again it can be up to a few months in some cases before your little buddy is just hanging out on your shoulder and going with you everywhere. :-)

Now, like we just discussed, no two Sugar Bears are going to bond at the same rate, so if you adopted two, just know UP FRONT that inevitably one is going to bond faster than the other – and sometimes MUCH faster. :-)

Now, since this is most likely your first experience bonding with sugar gliders, when (not if) this happens, it’s VERY important that you don’t start to think there is something “wrong” with the sugar glider baby that’s bonding slower. In fact, like we just discussed – this is perfectly normal – so whatever happens, the important thing is not to “give up” on the “stubborn” baby just because the other one is already loving and affectionate. No matter what, you need to stay the course so you can reap a LIFETIME of love from BOTH animals.

With that in mind, I’m now going to explain two different “techniques” for bonding with your new addition(s). Each technique is covered in GREAT detail inside the Family Circle section of our website – and they are called “Plan A” and “Plan B.”

Now, we always recommend that every new mom & dad at least STARTS with Plan A - and then only switches to Plan B if absolutely necessary. You can go directly to this section of the Family Circle by clicking here – but before you do , PLEASE make sure you read the rest of this email FIRST so you clearly understand the reasons behind WHY we have two different techniques.

Ask The Vet

 

Plan A

Sugar Glider Bonding - Plan A

Virgil here with one of the most important articles on our entire website… and today’s topic is Bonding

Before we get started, if you’re reading this report I’m assuming that you’ve already:

1) listened to the “Bonding” portion of the purple, QuickStart Audio CD, and 2) read the Day 3 email on this same subject (which most likely is what led you here).

As you should already know we have broken down bonding into 2 different techniques: “Plan A” and “Plan B”. We strongly suggest that everyone starts with Plan A, and then changes to Plan B only in cases where…

1) Plan A doesn’t seem to be working.

2) You have gotten bitten using Plan A and are concerned it will happen again.

3) You feel very anxious about bonding, and are concerned that you may get bitten with Plan A.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: If you decide to switch to Plan B, make sure you have ALREADY read – and fully understand – Plan A BEFORE you make the switch. You can access Plan B in the Family Circle or by clicking "Plan B" Right here.

Ok, all that being said, let’s get started:

In a nutshell, the bonding procedure is a process that:

a) builds their trust,

b) show you are not trying to hurt them, and most importantly

c) establishes that your role is to protect them from danger.

Once they are bonded with you, that’s why they will cling to you so tightly – because you’re their protector.

Now, I know you’ve probably already read my “King Kong” analogy (again, giving the original credit for this brilliant analysis to Lori Hackworth (Bourbon), it’s author) – but I’m going to restate here so it’s fresh in your mind.

Even if you’ve never actually seen the movie, inevitably you’re probably familiar with the King Kong story line – and more specifically with what King Kong himself looks like…

Now, just imagine yourself sitting in your bedroom, curled up in bed under the covers, and all of a sudden King Kong – this GIANT beast – is standing in front of your house. He jams his arm through your front door… into your bedroom… and immediately snatches you up; holding you 10 stories above the ground as he inspects you.

Now, if you’ve seen the movie, “intellectually” you know that King Kong is really a gentle giant who has nothing but the best intentions for you, but in THAT moment I think we could all agree that – no matter what – you’d be absolutely TERRIFIED. Even if you’re usually a calm and gentle person, in that moment you’d be screaming your head off and struggling to get away. You would probably even try to kick, scratch, or even bite King Kong’s hand just to get free, right?..

Well, this is EXACTLY what happens when your new baby Sugar Bear(s) are all curled up in their pouch/cage when you… a giant “King Kong” like creature (no offense stick your hand in to grab them, and hold it (the equivalent of) 10 stories above the ground.

Well, when we stop for a second and look at it from this perspective, it’s a lot easier to understand why a baby Sugar Bear will probably scream – and maybe even bite – given the opportunity, right?…

Now, imagine this same scenario, (being held against your will in his clutches high above the ground, etc,) but the whole time he’s holding you, he doesn’t inflict any harm – and eventually puts you back in your home “safe & sound”.

On top of that, later that day, he comes back to your house and drops off a nice dinner & dessert for you to enjoy… You would probably taste it, eat it, and trust him just a LITTLE more… BUT

Nevertheless, the next day when he comes back and picks you up AGAIN, you’re probably still going to be ALMOST as scared as you were the day before. In other words, learning to really trust – is going to take some time.

The point of this whole story is simply that as this same process occurs every day for weeks or even months, EVENTUALLY you’re going to learn and realize that King Kong means you absolutely no harm – and you’ll actually get to the point where you look FORWARD to seeing him everyday!

The point is that some people will get used to this faster than others – but as long as King Kong never hurts them – eventually EVERYBODY get there. For example, some people in this situation might actually get comfortable after being picked up just a few times. Most people, though, will take a little longer getting used to this crazy situation… and some people (who are just a little more anxious generally speaking), might take a lot longer to grow completely comfortable jumping into the gentle giant’s hands.

Well, this is exactly the same “process” that your little Sugar Bear(s) are going through right now… While some will settle down and bond with you in just a few days, most will take longer; and some will take up to a few months. Having raised literally tens of thousands of these little guys over the last few years, if I had to guess I would say that the average time to “total bonding” is right around 4-6 weeks. For better or for worse, some animals will show little signs of progress along the way, and others will learn to trust you practically overnight; but eventually they ALL get to the point where they totally love and trust you – as long as you don’t give up on them.

OK, now that we all understand what’s going on in your baby Sugar Bear(s) head, the next step is to set up a daily pattern of behavior that they – over time – will get used to.

THE IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER HERE is that the whole “bonding “process” is all about:

1) “baby steps” (pun intended), and

2) using common sense.

Keeping both of these things in mind, I’m going to give you a set of steps to follow so that each baby will eventually learn to trust and love you completely.

It’s important that you don’t get overzealous and “jump” ahead to the next step before each baby has demonstrated that it’s ready. As a new “mom” or “dad”, it’s VERY normal to be excited and impatient about getting your baby to love you – but trust me – if you move through the steps too quickly, it can definitely work against you and end up being counterproductive. Remember, our goal here is that we do NOT want you to get BITTEN to the point where it actually “hurts” – ever – because your little darlings are just scared out of their wits. In most cases, this “Plan A” works great – but again, if you find that you are getting bitten on any kind of a regular basis – we strongly suggest that you switch to “Plan B”.

Step 1: Taking your baby(ies) out of the cage.

If you’re reading this email, then you should have already gotten the first daily email I sent you – which details exactly how to take your new babies out of their cage properly. If you haven’t , please go back and read this now, (you can access that email directly here). I will briefly summarize it again here, but that email is MUCH more detailed – so please make sure you read it first.

Basically the whole idea is simple: Most likely you’ll be taking your baby(ies) out during the day, so they are probably (although not necessarily) sleeping. In the beginning at least, it is probably better if they ARE sleeping; so if this is your first time or two taking them out, it’s usually best to wait for a time when they are sleeping under the blanket.

Either way, the first step is to take your bonding pouch… turn it INSIDE OUT… and put your hand inside it like a mitten. Now, reach inside the cage, and (as quickly and smoothly as possible), “scoop up” the baby(ies) with your “gloved” hand.

Now, if they are running around the cage, it’s probably easiest to try to pin them up against one of the sides of the cage with your gloved hand – and then gently “pry” them away from the bars. Either way, as soon as you have them in your grasp, immediately pull them into the pouch by turning the pouch back to its normal side-out position. This is the same way Doctors usually take off their rubber gloves.

Whatever you do, make sure NOT to release your grip on the baby inside the pouch UNTIL the pouch is zipped completely shut – so therefore it’s probably a good idea to have a family member or friend help you the first few times until you get the hang of it. Similarly, another great tip for right now – (and probably ANY time you take the baby out of the cage until its bonded) – is to keep a towel or small blanket close by. This way, if the baby should ever accidentally get “loose” – rather than panic and chase the little guy all around your house, you can very easily just “toss” the towel over top of him – and it will almost always “freeze” right on the spot. Then you can then scoop them up while they’re still in the towel fairly easily without fear of getting scratched or bitten.

NOTE: If this should happen, it’s usually a good idea to return the baby to it’s cage and start over again in an hour or so, once the little guy has calmed down from all the excitement of getting loose.

In any event, once you have the baby(ies) inside the pouch and zipped shut, it’s usually a good idea to give them a couple minutes to get acclimated and settle down. Now, if you have two babies (like most of our new mom’s & dad’s), it’s important to point out that we recommend going through this process with BOTH animals in one pouch at the same time. However, if you find this more difficult you can obviously go through these bonding steps with one animal at a time as well. It’s been our experience over the years that babies will often bond a little faster when they have a “buddy”; because they are less apprehensive in general. However, as I said earlier, it’s VERY common for one baby to bond faster than the other – so just go into this knowing that this will probably happen.

Now, just in case you’re wondering, there are a few important reasons “why” you should ALWAYS – in the beginning – use the pouch to pick up your baby Sugar Bear(s) – as opposed to your bare hand…

1) It protects your bare hand from getting bitten.

2) It offers a nice, soft layer of cushion when grabbing the babies.

3) It distracts them from what’s actually happening since they ideally don’t even really see you coming.

For example, when you go back to the King Kong analogy, if King Kong used his bare hand to grab you, wouldn’t that be a lot more stressful than if he just transported you out of your house in a small room. I know a fleece pouch doesn’t seem like a “room” to you, but for a marsupial (who naturally likes “pouches”),it’s pretty much the equivalent of a nice room with a big comfy couch

In any event, once your baby(ies) have settled down, the next step is to hold them through the pouch and keep control of their positioning, (ideally towards the bottom of the bag). Then, slip a slice of apple into the pouch with them so they have something to snack on later if they get hungry or thirsty. Once the apple is inside and the pouch is zipped back up you can release your grip on them through the pouch. This all may sound a little complicated at first, but it’s very simple and you’ll get the hang of it very quickly. I am just describing it in great detail here to be thorough. ☺

At this point, “CONGRATULATIONS” are in order, because you’ve now effectively gotten your baby(ies) out of the cage into their pouch without getting bitten (hopefully). ☺ You will repeat this procedure many more times throughout the coming weeks, and rest assured, once they are totally bonded with you, none of this will be necessary. in fact in the future it’s likely that they’ll just jump right into the pouch or your hand as soon as you open their cage door. ☺

Step 2: Passive Bonding

Now that you have your baby(ies) in your pouch, you may find that they “chatter” (a startling noise that sounds something like a locust on steroids :-). That sound is already explained in greater detail in the previous emails and special reports; and it’s just their way of saying “I’m scared.” Just remember, you’re working with a baby SugarBear, so whenever it’s scared, it REALLY wants to be supported and held tightly like it was back in it mother’s pouch. You can ease their worries by putting firm pressure with a flat palm through the pouch, directly on top of the baby. You can press them either between your two hands, or press them firmly against your body in the pouch. As pointed out in an earlier email, you can push against them much harder than you would think without hurting them. In fact, not only won’t you hurt them, but if they continue to chatter, (as strange as it may sound) it’s because you’re actually not pressing hard ENOUGH.

If you remember, baby SugarBears bond almost purely by SMELL. Now if you have been following the previous emails, you should already have a “jump start” on this process by simply putting your old t-shirts or articles of clothing in the cage for them to snuggle up with. All we’re going to do now is continue this same process by letting them get used to your smell while they are “riding around” with you in their pouch. ☺

You will continue to do this throughout the bonding process, and even after they’re bonded, simply because they will get used to their pouch – and LOVE to hang out in it.

To start this process, simply place the pouch (with the baby(ies) inside of course) around your neck with the mesh window facing your BODY. For some reason, people always think the window should face forward, but that is incorrect. The window should always face YOU so that your smell can easily permeate into the pouch as you carry them with you. Ideally, the pouch should be as close to your body as possible; even touching your skin if you don’t mind. If you don’t like the idea of the pouch being under ALL your clothing you can choose to have one layer between you and the pouch (like an undershirt. However, this is less than ideal and may slow down the bonding process a little. In other words, the closer they are to your skin – the faster they will typically bond. ☺

In most cases, once they are around your neck for a couple minutes, they will most likely calm down pretty quickly. However, whenever they start to chatter, remember to just put firm pressure on them with your open palm – pressing them against your body. If they continue to chatter after a few seconds of doing this, you are probably just not pressing hard enough. You can also rub and massage them as much as you’d like through the pouch – and talk to them frequently so they also get used to the sound of your voice.

“Wearing” your babies in their pouch for hours under your shirt is the best form of “passive bonding”. For the most part, you can go about your normal day, even bringing them with you to work this way. As long as they have an apple in their pouch, they should be good for up to 10-12 hours at a time. Until they are fully-bonded, you can let them pee/poop in their pouch as needed – but once they’re bonded I would recommend taking them out every 2-3 hours just to let them stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. You can wash their pouch normally with detergent etc,, but just make sure it’s good and clean/dry before putting your baby(ies) back inside. For this reason, a lot of our mom’s & dad’s like to have at least a couple extra pouches handy. You can always get more on our website www.sugarbears.com.

In any event, the bottom line here is simple… The more time you can “wear” your baby(ies) in their pouch under your clothing – the better. Just remember to make sure they are warm. In other words, if you go outside in the winter, always wear an appropriate jacket – and make sure the pouch is up against your skin – if you’re carrying babies with you. ☺

The whole point of this step is simply to get them used to being out of the cage and around you. By carrying them around they can smell you and hear your voice continuously – and the more time they spend with you, the FASTER they’ll bond.

Again, if you go back to the “King Kong” analogy, it’s all pretty simple. The first time he takes you out of your house you’re terrified, but with each consecutive day he does it, you become less fearful and more trusting. That’s our goal. ☺

Step 3: Peeking In

Hopefully, by this point your baby(ies) has already started to get at least a LITTLE comfortable being in their pouch. Now, if they still seem nervous (ie. lots of chattering), the best idea is just to give them a few more days of “passive bonding” before moving on to this next step. Remember you will continue to do passive bonding (ie. “wearing” them around with you), THROUGHOUT the whole bonding process as often as possible. If you can only do it an hour a day, that’s ok – but continue to do it as much as possible – every day – until it’s obvious that they are comfortable being on your body.

That being said, even though baby Sugar Bears bond mainly through smell, we also want to get them used to SEEING you and having the pouch open. If you’ve ever been in a dark room and someone turns on the lights suddenly, you know how irritating it can be to your eyes. Well, it is relatively dark inside the pouch, so simply opening their pouch and letting light inside will probably make them chatter a little bit at first. That being said, the whole idea of this step (#3) is just to get them used to you opening the pouch and peeking in. ☺

Especially the first few times you do this, make SURE you are not in a room where IF they happen to get loose it won’t be a 3-ring circus trying to chase them all around. Similarly, it’s a good idea to keep the same towel or small blanket (from step 1) close by in case they do get loose so you can just toss it over them.

Once it seems like the baby(ies) are in the bottom of the pouch sleeping, very carefully and gently open the pouch up and peek inside. Most likely the first few times you do this they will chatter etc. You need to mentally prepare yourself for this happening BEFORE you open the pouch so you don’t get startled and jump. There are 2 reasons you don’t want to get intimidated by this sound: 1)That’s what they’re instinctually trying to achieve by chattering, so by reacting you’re actually encouraging that bad behavior to continue the next time you do it, and 2) If you are startled, you could theoretically drop the pouch and either hurt them or let them loose.

As long as you stop for a second and mentally prepare yourself before you peek in, you will be fine. If and when they do chatter, do NOT immediately shut the bag, for the same reasons above. Continue to peek in for a few moments admiring how cute these little guys are; if they don’t settle down after a little bit you can shut the bag and let them relax and go back to sleep and then try again in a little bit. Instinctively they should NOT jump out of the bag if they’re chattering. If anything they will back up out of fear. Most likely the only way they will try to come out of the pouch is if they’re NOT intimidated or frightened by you, which ultimately is a good thing; however even then you still need to be cautious so they don’t get loose. If they try to come out (and aren’t chattering), just close the bag and move forward to step 4 or 5.

Generally speaking, you should keep “peeking in” over and over again until they get used to it and comfortable. That’s the whole point. Try to avoid getting too close, or breathing into the pouch, because the smell of your breath will almost certainly scare them. As stated above, if they chatter, keep looking inside for a few moments and then close the bag back up and wait for them to calm down before trying again. You can continue to play this game of “peek a boo” for as long you’d like. The whole point of this exercise is to condition the animals to get used to you opening the pouch, and not be frightened so you can move on to the next step. Most likely, this process will take somewhere between a day and a week. You’re welcome to spend up to 2 weeks on this step if you’d like but if you’re not seeing progress after that, you may be better off with Plan B.

Step 4: Petting Your Babies For the First Time

So at this point, your babies are already comfortable with you opening the pouch and peeking in. That’s awesome, because it means you’re making progress Technically, if you’ve been following our instructions, you still have not touched your babies with your bare hands yet. I know this must be frustrating, but as I said earlier, you’re working with babies, so you need to take “baby steps” and go slowly. ☺ That being said, at this stage we’re finally ready to have you pet your babies – so make sure to follow what we’ve laid out for you closely.

Just like before you are going to get your Sugar Bear(s) in their pouch and wait till they are settled down and ideally asleep. While they are settling down take the opportunity to get a safe “treat” ready like some fruit yogurt or applesauce. Once you’re ready, just as before, slowly open the pouch and peek in, being careful not to breathe on the baby(s). Assuming they do NOT chatter or get frightened, very slowly and carefully reach into the pouch and start to pet your baby on it’s back, not around its head or face. When you do this, I want you to go into it assuming you’re likely to get bitten. Not to the point where you’re all nervous and shaking, but just mentally prepared, so if it should happen you aren’t caught completely off guard and over react. If you’ve been following our instructions up to this point, then most likely they won’t chatter or bite, however it could theoretically happen. If it does, we don’t want the animal to try and do it again next time. You’re going to need to use common sense with this – so move slowly and don’t pet them too aggressively.

The baby(ies) may wake up when you pet them. If they chatter a little it’s ok, just try not to flinch. The important thing for them to learn is that your hands pose no danger to them. If they let you pet them without trying to bite you etc., then shortly thereafter remove your hand, get some yogurt or even applesauce on your finger and allow them to lick it off. This does 2 important things: The first is that it rewards their GOOD behavior, and starts to condition them to want to get petted (which is why you’ll continue to give them safe treats every time they let you pet them). The other important thing it does is help with the overall bonding process itself. The act of licking you really helps to strengthen the bond and make them comfortable with your presence.

Typically, you will continue to do this “petting stage” for up to a week before moving on to the next step. Remember the whole idea is just to get them used to your presence and ideally used to your hands themselves. If the animal bites you to the point that it hurts, you need to either go back a step (and continue to be patient before starting to pet them) or go to Plan B. Remember, getting bitten is not ok and you need to avoid it at all costs.

Step 5: The Shirt Trick

Congratulations for making it this far. When you’ve reached this stage, you’re doing a great job and the animal has already started to bond with you. We are now going to teach you the “Shirt Trick” which can actually be done concurrently with Step 4. In other words, you don’t have to stop petting your Sugar Bear(s) in the pouch simply because you have progressed to Step 5, you can do both at the same time. ☺

The “Shirt Trick” is a form of advanced Passive Bonding (as taught in Step 2). If you remember, baby Sugar Bears bond largely based on smell, and you are supposed to try and carry them around with you in the pouch as often as you can. The Shirt Trick is essentially the same thing but even better because they have free range of motion and are completely surrounded by your scent.

Basically, all you do is put on two shirts: an undershirt and an overshirt. Tuck both shirts in so that your little one(s) doesn’t accidentally fall out – and you’re all good to go! If it’s a nice shirt you may want to wait to transfer them inside your shirts till after they’ve gone to the bathroom so they don’t stain you. In the future, once you’re “fully bonded” you’ll be able to “Depoop” and “Depee” them quickly and effortlessly to avoid accidents, but at this point it’s probably best just to use an old shirt you don’t care about too much. ☺

If possible, the most convenient “outer” shirt is one that has buttons all up/down the front. This way, you can button it up so they can’t easily come out – and when you want to reach in and pet your baby(s) – or take them out – it’s easy to get to them.

By doing this, all you’re basically doing is giving them a BIG “bonding pouch”.. It gives them lots more room to move around than inside their bonding pouch – and they are still continually surrounded by your smell and the sound of your voice.

Also, while you’ll no doubt be moving around “stiff” for the first couple days (afraid that you’ll squish them) – pretty soon you’ll figure out that they will move out of the way if they aren’t comfortable – and you can do ALL your normal daily activities without any restrictions. For example, don’t be surprised if they snuggle right down the center of your spine when you are sitting, because remember – they LOVE tight spaces (ie. their mom’s pouch). Of course, you’ll have to use some common sense here, in other words, don’t take the animals in your car the first time you do this because if they get loose, they may go up under the dashboard etc.

Usually, you’ll find that they end up sleeping right in the small of your back – just above your waistline. They like this spot because it’s comfortable – and they can hear your heart beat (which again, reminds them of being in their mom’s pouch)..

It’s during this “shirt” phase of bonding when a LOT of new parent’s say their baby(s) “cross-over the hump” and REALLY start to bond with them….so if you haven’t already gotten to this phase, go ahead and start it now.

While the Shirt Trick is a great tool to use for bonding, most of our customers continue to keep their animals in their shirts (typically right up against their skin once they’ve totally bonded) for their entire life. You’re still welcome to use the pouch or a pocket to carry them around once they’re fully bonded, but consider this a good option as well.

Step 6: Handling your Baby(s)

Congratulations, because you’ve arrived at the final stage of bonding! ☺ That’s not to say that your baby(ies) are FULLY bonded yet, but if you’ve made it to this point, they definitely know who you are and have bonded with you pretty extensively. Like always, you’re going to need to use common sense to determine when it’s appropriate to take the leap to this step. There’s no reason to rush into it. When in doubt, continue with steps 1-5 until you feel more confident on the baby’s bonding progress. Remember you have a lifetime to play with your animals, so there’s no point in preemptively skipping ahead only to get frustrated by getting bitten etc.

If you’ve made it this far without getting bitten it’s unlikely they will start now, however it’s always good to be prepared. Most often when people do get bitten it’s because they are restricting a baby’s movement. Even with a dog, if it sees a rabbit it wants to chase, and you physically restrain it, you’re likely to get bitten. It’s the same for most animals, and Sugar Bears are no exceptions. Most often when I see people getting bitten by a SugarBear that’s gone through all the steps of bonding it’s because they’re so worried about it “getting away” that they end up squeezing the animal so tightly that they are actually hurting it. While Sugar Bears do like a tight spaces in the pouch, often times this is not the case when out in the open.

In any event, there are a few ways to address this issue if you should start to get bitten on any kind of a regular basis. The first is to follow the steps in Plan B. I know you may be proud that you made it this far and haven’t had to resort to it, but at this stage the “Pop Up Tent Trick” described in full detail in Plan B is probably the best way to initially learn to handle your animals. Read it over and seriously consider it. There is literally NO shame in using Plan B at any point. It is a great bonding technique, nuff said. ☺

If you decide not to go with a pop up tent, the next best thing is to find a small room in your house with no furniture for the baby(ies) to get under, or holes in the wall, etc. Remember, at this stage, your baby(ies) are still not fully bonded and will likely try to jump off you given the chance – so if (and when) that does happen, you want to minimize the drama of catching them so it’s not too traumatic for either you or the baby(ies).

Start with the baby(ies) in your shirt and try to coax them to come out. Remember you want to try to avoid aggressively grabbing them in any way. The idea is to kind of nudge them through your shirt out into your hands or on your shoulder. Don’t be surprised or disappointed if they try to climb back into your shirt. This is actually a good thing technically, because it means they’re very comfortable with you – but at this point we really want to try to get them used to being in your hands out in the open etc.

Once they’re on your body they will most likely try to jump off. The best way to minimize this is to keep moving so they never feel comfortable jumping. Again, just imagine if King Kong was holding you in his outstretched palm. While you may try to jump if it was steady, if he was moving around you’re probably going to stay put and cling on so you don’t fall. Walking around the room should probably suffice. If they do jump off – no worries. You should already have your towel or small blanket handy so its easy to catch them. Unlike in Step 1, if they jump off and you do catch them with the towel, just put them back on your shoulder or body (not back in the cage). and try again.

The truth is, even a fully bonded adult SugarBear may jump off you if you’re in your own home. Remember it’s their home too, so even after they are fully bonded they are not likely to be intimidated by it and more than likely want to go explore. Obviously it’s a very different story in an unfamiliar location, where they’re more likely to cling to you because they’re nervous about predators (and you’re their protector after all).

The other great way to get them used to your hands and ensuring they won’t get away from you is to use the “Treadmill Trick.” It’s probably easier to learn the Treadmill Trick by SEEING it done so we made a video teaching it in great detail. You can access the video by going to the Family Circle, clicking on “Important Videos for New Moms and Dads” and then clicking on “Walking Your New Baby Before it’s Bonded to You.” In a nutshell, as the name implies, you’re creating a little “treadmill” with your hands so the baby can keep moving without leaving your actual hands.

Plan A: GRADUATION TIME!!!

So that’s all there is to it! ☺ At this point, you are well on your way, so just continue playing with your baby(ies) and taking baby steps forward. Before you know it you’ll have a fully-bonded pet that you take with you everywhere you go. ☺

Keep in mind, bonding is a PROCESS, not an EVENT. It happens over time. While these “steps” were meant to be completed sequentially, it’s wasn’t all supposed to happen over night. Jumping ahead to the next step before the baby is “ready” doesn’t make the bonding happen any faster.

Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’re going 2 steps forward and then 1 step back at times. This is often the case, and is par for the course, but as long as you: 1) stick with the steps laid out here, 2) refer back to them often, and 3) don’t give up – you’ll eventually get to the point where your little darling(s) can’t wait to see you every day – and will “ride around” on you practically everywhere. Now, of course, if you’re having any problems, don’t hesitate to email customer service at: [email protected] . Remember, everyone who works with us also has these little darlings as our own personal pets – so we are MORE than happy to help you in every way we can.

Good Luck and Happy Bonding

Plan B

Sugar Glider Bonding - Plan B

Plan B

Alright, so you’ve decided to go with Plan B, and I’m sure it was the right decision for you. Just to be clear, before starting with Plan B, you should have already read/listened to ALL of the following:

1. The purple Audio CD section on “Bonding” (and/or the written transcript labeled “Special Report: Bonding”)

2. The 1st “New Mom and Dad Email on Bonding”

3. Plan A

If you haven’t done all of that already, please do so right now before progressing any further. ☺

Now, first off, it’s EXTREMELY important to understand that you haven’t “failed” as a parent – and your baby(ies) aren’t just mean or hate you – if you’re opting to use this bonding strategy. In other words, there’s absolutely NO shame in deciding to go with Plan B. I myself have trained several of the 11 pet Sugar Bears we have in our home using “Plan B.” ☺ Not only does it work INCREDIBLY well, but it also pretty much guarantees you won’t get bitten IF you just practice some common sense and don’t get impatient with the process.

Plan B is essentially a “hands off” – and extremely effective – approach to bonding, which ensures that you can never get bitten. Again, just to review quickly, there are a couple problems with getting bitten besides the obvious one (it can hurt). ☺

The first major problem with biting is that it has the potential to “turn you off” towards your Sugar Bear(s). Nobody likes getting bitten, and if your baby is biting, eventually, you may begin to dislike or even hate your pet(s). Even if you realize it’s only biting out of fear not aggression, eventually it won’t matter and you’ll either stop trying to bond with it or you’ll probably give it away to someone else who will have the same problems. To be clear, this situation obviously isn’t good for anyone – and we are here to help. ☺ It’s not good for you, because you paid money for your baby(ies) and were excited to have a sweet loving pet – and right now it looks like you have the opposite. Now, as bad as that situation is for you, it’s actually even MUCH WORSE for the Sugar Bear(s) because if this behavior is not changed, they will not get the attention they deserve – and instead of having a wonderful, loving relationship with their “guardians” – hanging out all day with you in your pockets – they are ultimately dooming themselves to a life of loneliness inside their cage.

(NOTE: Incidentally, if you ever decide that you can no longer properly care for your SugarBears or know someone else who is neglecting theirs, just email and let us know immediately. We are happy to rescue any animal and rehome it to one of our more experienced customers for free.).

Now, having said all that, the other major problem with getting bitten regularly is that it inevitably TRAINS an animal to continue to bite. Let me explain… When the animal bites, it’s doing so for one reason: because it’s afraid. If you remember our “King Kong analogy” from the audio CD, the basic idea is that King Kong shows up at your house… reaches in your door… grabs ahold of you and pulls you out of your house… and lifts you 10 stories above the ground.

Well if that happened to you, even if you’re normally a very civil, calm person you’re still going to scream and kick and BITE. HOWEVER, if King Kong suddenly put you back down – or showed fear – when you bit him the first time, you better believe you’ll remember that the next day when he tries to take you out of the house again; only THIS time it will be the first thing you do since now you know it works.

Well, its the same thing with the Sugar Bears. If they bite you (and it hurts), no matter how hard you try to pretend like you are unaffected, they’ll read your body language and KNOW they got the reaction they were instinctually trying to get (ie. To leave them alone). So, the next day when you take them out of the cage again, they’ll remember to try to bite you again… and again… and so forth.

It’s almost like “training” them to bite you, because your reaction to the bite is essentially REWARDING their bad behavior. Make sense?

Well, in my experience having worked with many customers over the years, in cases where they are getting nipped or bitten regularly, it’s almost always (whether they realize it or not) because they are restricting the baby’s movement. Understandably, when they try to hold their baby(ies), they’re so worried about them “getting away” that they end up holding it too tightly. For example, even with a trained dog, if it sees a rabbit, or something that it realllllllly wants to chase, and you physically restrain it, you stand a decent chance of getting bitten. It’s the same for most animals, and Sugar Bears are no exceptions. While the Sugar Bears do like a tight spaces when they are sleeping or inside their pouch, often times this is not the case when they’re awake and out in the open.

My whole point here is that “Plan B” solves all these issues perfectly. Another advantage of Plan B is it allows you to “interact” with your baby(ies) right from the beginning, even if technically you’re not touching them.

As stated, if you follow the steps in Plan B, you should never really get bitten…AS LONG AS you practice some everyday common sense. Now, if you’re following all the instructions laid out here for at least a few weeks – and still aren’t seeing any progress – email [email protected] and we can try to work with you to figure out what’s going on. To be clear, the animal is not likely to be FULLY-bonded within a few weeks, but you should most likely begin to see significant signs of progress. As stated previously it can take up to a few months for a particularly stubborn little fuzzbut to fully bond, but usually only 4-6 weeks (depending on how much time you spend with it). The ONLY downside to Plan B, is that it can slow down the overall process a LITTLE bit – but again, for a lot of people it’s well worth the extra time to ensure that you never get bitten. The important point here, is that you stick with the process… don’t get discouraged… and NEVER give up on them. Remember, even though they don’t know it – ultimately, they have a LOT more to lose than you do. ☺

Alright, so let’s get started!…

Now, technically there are only 2 times you CAN get bitten. Since Plan B’s main objective (besides getting you fully-bonded with your SugarBears) is to make sure you don’t ever get bitten, we will address both these situations. The first scenario is when you’re either feeding the babies or changing out their apples etc. It’s unlikely you’re getting bitten during feedings because the animals are afraid of you. More than likely, they will chatter when you put your hand in the cage, and maybe even lunge at you just to try to be intimidating, but they probably won’t actually bite. Regardless, since we don’t want you to get bitten EVER, if this is an issue – or you’re even overly concerned about it – we have a simple solution. Just go purchase a brand new glove meant for gardening, ideally one made of leather. They’re very inexpensive so don’t skimp and use an old dirty one that can cause health issues for your babies. Then, whenever you put your hand in the cage to feed the animals (or remove the old apples etc), just wear the glove so that you don’t have to be fearful of getting bitten. Now, just to be clear, this glove is NOT meant to be used later on to handle the animals. It’s just to protect your hands when reaching inside the cage for to feed your babies. AGAIN, this is not even necessary unless your baby is ACTUALLY physically biting your skin when you put your hand in the cage to change out the food. In fact, the only reason I even mention this option here is so that every possibility is covered.

Now, with that in mind, the only other time a baby can bite is when it’s out of the cage and you’re either trying to pet it or handle it. So, if that’s happening, the first step is to stop trying to pet or handle it until you feel confident it won’t bite you. This is very simple, and we can break this into 2 steps:

Step 1:

At this point, you are still going to practice “Passive Bonding,” laid out in step #2 in Plan A.. The “Plan A” email report, explains all this in great detail, so even though you’ve read it already, I strongly recommend going back and reading this entire report again right now so that it’s all fresh in your mind.

When you go back and read that report, you’ll notice that neither of these steps involve actually touching the baby with your bare hands. As a quick refresher, Step 1 simply details exactly how to take the baby out of the cage using your bonding pouch as an inside out glove. Step 2 then outlines how to carry the baby around in the pouch under your clothes with the window facing you. You can still pet/massage the baby through the pouch and talk to it throughout this step. The most important thing though, is that your baby(ies) get to spend a bunch of time getting used to your smell through the pouch.

Again, the more time you can carry the baby around in the pouch with you the better. You can put it under your clothes and go to work, or run errands all day, as long as there is a slice of apple in the pouch as well. Most of the time, no one will ever even know you have a live animal on you. ☺

Step 2:

Step 2 is a little “trick” we discovered many years ago now, and it is EXTREMELY effective at getting even the most stubborn little babies to fully-bond with their new parents.

It involves the use of a childrens “Pop-Up Tent.” At the time I’m sitting here writing this report, we’re currently still trying to get a source to buy them inexpensively so we can offer them at a discount to our customers on our website – but so far we can’t beat the prices of Wal-Mart and other big box stores that sell kids toys etc. Depending on when you’re reading this, it’s worth taking a peek on our website to see if we’ve gotten them in yet, but if not, they’re very easy and inexpensive to come by. They’re usually around $20 at stores like Wal-Mart, but I’ve seen them “on sale” at toy stores for as low as $5 after the holidays.

Now, if you’re not familiar with a kids “pop-up” tent, they’re basically just small fabric enclosures for kids to play in – kinda like a modern day “fort”. This is not like a tent for camping. It’s a small enclosure made of plastic pipes and vinyl – and while an adult could not stand up in it, they should easily be able to sit comfortably. It doesn’t matter if the outsides say Sponge Bob/Square Pants or Dora the Explorer, etc.. (the one we used in our family initially was a pink Disney “Princess” tent), but what IS IMPORTANT is that it has some sort of way to completely close the door, (Ie a zipper or Velcro).

Now, once you get one of these units, set it up in a convenient space in your home where you can spend time bonding with your baby(ies). Keep in mind, the idea of the tent is twofold.

  • First, it allows you to interact with your pet in a small space, where you don’t have to worry about it getting away. You can let it run free (as per the detailed instructions below) without having to worry about it getting under the couch or whatever. Also, since it’s vinyl, if the baby poops or pees in it, cleaning up is a breeze.
  • The other important thing the tent does is it allows you to essentially be INSIDE the bonding pouch with the baby as it runs around. Remember, this is a very small enclosed space. You will not be able to stand in it, only sit. When sitting in the tent, your smell will fill up the space very quickly, so when the animal is in there with you it will be surrounded by your scent and will even get to see you the whole time it’s smelling you.

So, keeping all this in mind, here’s what you do… As often as you can, bring the pouch with the Sugar Bear(s) inside the tent with you and zip/velcro the tent completely shut. Once the tent is sealed, you can open the pouch, slowly turn it inside out – and coax them out of their “nest”. Now, you need to mentally prepare yourself the first few times because they will likely chatter – and even lunge – at you. It is important that you don’t get intimidated by this. Just knowing in advance that it’s probably going to happen usually solves that problem. Remember, the baby(ies) will NOT bite you as long as you don’t touch them – but if you’re still worried about it, just make sure to wear long sleeves & pants and shoes.

Remember, Sugar Bears are not “aggressive animals” They bite out of fear alone, so if you don’t put a hand right in front of them to bite, they’re not going to run over to get closer to you than they have to. Now, don’t be surprised (especially after having gone in the tent a few times with the baby(ies)) if the baby(ies) run right across your legs or even up your back. If this happens, it’s a GOOD sign, and it’s important you don’t freak out. Remain calm and try to avoid touching the animal with your hands. If they want to crawl on your shoulder that’s fine. If it get’s to be too much, you can use the pouch like a glove and gently remove them.

From this point forward, you’re going to want to try to spend as much time as you can with your baby(ies) in their tent on a daily basis. You can even bring an ipod or ipad in the tent with you if you want. The more time they can be in your DIRECT presence, smelling you, seeing you, and getting used to the fact that you don’t pose a threat to them – the better. Also, remember, this is being done in ADDITION to the passive bonding explained in Part 1 above. So, between being in the tent, AND being carried around in the pouch as often as possible when not in the tent, the whole plan is that your baby(ies) are getting a LOT of time to get used to your smell etc. ☺

Now, before we go any further I want to address a question I often get when I tell people about the Pop-Up Tent Trick. People always want to know if they can just use a closet or bathroom instead of the tent. Now, while the answer is technically “yes” – in my experience it doesn’t work NEARLY as well. If you think about it, even though a small room is still a relatively small space, the ceilings are much higher, (which means your scent won’t fill up the room as much), and this is a big factor. Furthermore, depending on the size of the room, the Sugar Bear(s) more than likely will be able to run several feet away from you. The whole point of the tent is that you fill up the whole thing – so “bottom line”, avoid trying this option since it doesn’t work well.

Ok, let’s move on….

Now at this stage, ideally you’re carrying you baby(ies) in their pouch daily – and going in the tent for at LEAST an hour or two a day. Now, I said this was “ideal,” so don’t worry if you can’t spend that much time with them. Again, the more time spent the better – but just do it as much as you can. In any event, after going in the tent several times with your Sugar Bear(s), at some point – AND I CAN’T PREDICT EXACTLY WHEN – “common sense” will tell you that you can probably PET your baby(ies) and NOT get bitten. This could be after several days of going in the tent – or it could be after several weeks. You will just have to use common sense and your best judgment.

Now, with that in mind, here’s a quick idea of some “signs” that MAY help to indicate you should be alright to pet the Sugar Bear(s):

  • The animal doesn’t chatter/lunge anymore…
  • It runs across your legs or body…
  • It approaches you frequently without seeming afraid…
  • It no longer chatters if you make sudden movements.

Now, this list is not comprehensive. It is just meant to give you an idea of what to look out for. You really just need to trust your gut. If you decided to get a Sugar Bear, more than likely you’re already an “animal person” – and you will know when the timing is right much better than I can lay out here.

When you reach the point that you think you could PET your baby(ies) without getting bitten, we’re in very good shape. The NEXT time you go into the tent with your baby I want you to bring with you a little yogurt or applesauce (make sure it’s sealed initially so the baby can’t smell it).

Here’s what you do next… Once you’re in the tent, and the Sugar Bear(s) are running around, just let them be for at least a few minutes, as previously done – so they’re all settled in. Then, IF you still feel common sense is telling you that you can pet them WITHOUT getting bitten, proceed. If you’re still unsure at all, remember there’s NO harm in giving it more time. Now, you’ll notice I keep saying “PET” in all caps. The reason is, you are NOT going to try to “pick up” or hold the baby(ies), at this point. All you’re going to do is just pet them.

Now, the first time you try to pet them there are a few simple things to keep in mind. First, don’t try to pet their head (especially the first time). You’re going to GENTLY stroke their body. Also, try not make a sudden movement or corner them so they get all nervous. Remember, the whole point of this is just to show them that you pose no threat – so the less threatening you can make the process – the better.

Now, don’t be surprised initially if they pull away at first, but just move very slowly. You can even offer them your finger, and they will often come up and sniff at it (like a dog). Then, IF, after you pet them you don’t get a negative response (Ie chattering or biting), I want you to immediately follow up with giving them a little of the yogurt/applesauce as a treat. Try not to give them too much, just a little “dab” on the end of your finger is more than enough – and they will likely lick it CLEAN! ☺

Obviously, the idea here is to REWARD their good behavior. In the future, when they let you pet them, you still want to give them this kind of treat (for the first month or so). The idea is for them to learn that not only does nothing bad happen when you pet them – but that they get a treat as well. This will hopefully create a positive reaction when you go to touch them in the future.

If you’re brave enough, when giving them the treats it’s best to let them lick it off your fingers. The act of licking you really helps to strengthen their bond and makes them comfortable with your presence. Even if you don’t feel comfortable with doing this the first time, you can always do it after you’ve pet them several times and you ar both less nervous. ☺

Now, if you should happen to get a negative response to petting them the first time (Ie chattering or biting), just try hard not to show fear or flinch. Also, don’t let this discourage you IN ANY WAY. Stick with the process and just give it another week or 2 before trying again. Eventually, it WILL happen! ☺

Now, once your baby(ies) start letting you pet them comfortably on a regular basis, you’re just a few baby steps away from actually HOLDING them in your bare hands. Again you will just have to practice common sense and be patient. Don’t rush to this point. If and when you are ready, obviously start by trying it in the tent. The most important thing is to make sure you don’t restrict their movement. If they want to jump off, that’s totally ok since you’re in the tent.

As stated earlier, just like most other animals, if you try to restrict their movement they will likely bite you. Just let them crawl up your arm etc. Don’t be surprised if they try to camp out on the back of your neck. If you need to grab them, try not to jerk them or squeeze too tightly.

Re-read Step 6 of Plan A: “Handling your Baby(ies)” for more tips and advice on exactly how to do this. We also have a great video in the Family Circle section of our website (www.SugarBears.com), that will show you the “Treadmill Trick” for keeping your baby(ies) in your hands – as opposed to running around.

In any event, once you feel comfortable handling them in the tent, you can start to try the same thing outside of the tent, in a room that has been “glider proofed.” Keep in mind, even a fully bonded adult SugarBear may jump off you if you’re in your own home. Remember, by this point it’s THEIR home too, so even after they are fully bonded they are not likely to be intimidated by it – and more than likely will want to go “exploring”. Obviously it’s a very different story in an unfamiliar location where they’re more likely to cling to you – simply because they’re nervous about predators and you’re their “protector”. Again follow the advice laid out in Step 6 of Plan A and you should be just fine. ☺

Well, at this point, that’s really all there is to it! Again, if you have diligently been trying to follow Plan B for a couple months – and still aren’t seeing any progress (or are just getting very frustrated) – don’t despair. Just email us at: [email protected], and we can try to work with you to figure out what’s going on. As I said in an earlier email, we have a whole bunch of other tricks we can use, but for the vast majority of new mom’s & dad’s, “Plan A” and “Plan B” are the best places to start. Only after we’ve tried them does it make sense to try out some other strategies – but always remember this. The bottom line is that we will do whatever it takes to make sure you ultimately have a wonderful experience with these little darlings – and no matter what – we are here to HELP you. ☺