Dealing with a chinchilla who refuses to go back to their cage can be quite a handful! When this situation occurs, many caretakers find themselves in uncharted territory and aren’t sure how to respond.
I wanted to write this article to help anyone who is attempting to reason with a stubborn chinchilla.
How to get a chinchilla back in their cage?
Although many chinchilla caretakers unsuccessfully chase their runaway chinchillas around the house, there are much better ways to handle a chinchilla who won’t return to their cage.
Summary of today’s article:
- Best practices to get a chinchilla back in their cage
- Why can’t I just chase my chinchilla to catch them?
- What to do if my chinchilla is hiding?
- Should I punish my chinchilla if they won’t go back in their cage?
- Why doesn’t my chinchilla want to go back in their cage?
- Patience is a virtue
Every chinchilla caretaker will have stories regarding escapes and instances where they had to lure a resistant chinchilla back to their cage. The following methods have a great track record for success and should be employed when your chinchilla is refusing to go back in their cage.
Method #1. Spark Their Curiosity
Chinchillas are extremely inquisitive and don’t like to feel like events are happening which don’t include them. A great way to get a chinchilla to go back in their cage is to show interest in their personal environment.
You can stand at the entrance of their cage, look in, and start interacting with their belongings. There is a good chance that your chinchilla will go in the cage willingly at this point as they will want to see what all the fuss is about.
Method #2. Transport In A Dust Bath
Chinchillas can’t resist dust baths! One of the easiest ways to get a chinchilla to go back in their cage is to entice them with a dust bath.
Simply place their dust bath house near wherever they are stationed and wait for them to go inside. Once your chinchilla enters the dust bath house, place your hand over the entrance and gently transport the house into their cage.
Once your chinchilla finishes bathing, you can simply remove the dust bath house from the cage.
Method #3. Coax With A Treat
Chinchillas respond to rewards, especially when they involve food. If your chinchilla is being hesitant about going back in their cage, you can appeal to them with a treat.
Hold the treat in your hand and let your chinchilla see it. Many chinchillas will walk right up to take the treat, and when this happens, you can easily place them back in their cage once they are finished eating.
For chinchillas who are still reluctant, place their cage on the floor with the treat inside of it. Some chinchillas will not go for the treat if you are too close but will jump at the chance once they have some space.
As with all treats, gravitate towards healthy options and present in moderation.
Method #4. Establish Trust
A chinchilla who trusts their caretaker is more likely to take direction. By creating an environment where your chinchilla feels safe, you are ensuring that they will not be afraid of you and will respond more favorably to commands.
Speak gently to your chinchilla even while frustrated and avoid yelling or aggressive body language. A chinchilla who is afraid will stay put as that feels like the safest option to them.
A chinchilla who does not trust you will not listen to you.
Method #5. Secure The Room
Sometimes a chinchilla who will not go back in their cage will be on the move, darting from one spot or another. It can be very difficult to track them when this happens and you will want to make sure that all doors are closed to keep them in a localized area.
Identify where the chinchilla is first, then seal off all exit points. You will also want to block accessible small spaces where they can hide.
When caring for a pet chinchilla, it’s important to understand their background as a species in the wild. Chinchillas are prey animals and are always on high alert in case a predator is pursuing them.
Chinchillas will only employ self-defense mechanisms as a last resort and their primary way of surviving an attack is through escape. By chasing a chinchilla you are exposing them to a potentially traumatic situation.
Chinchillas who are being chased by humans will become afraid and often exhibit signs of stress such as fur slips. A chinchilla who is pursued by their caretaker will feel unsafe and suffer from emotional distress.
Additionally, chasing your chinchilla in an attempt to get them back in their cage will set a poor precedent. The last thing you want is to stress out your chinchilla and establish counter-productive habits.
In their natural habitat, chinchillas love to burrow and will use crevices to seek refuge from predators. A chinchilla on the loose may resort to this behavior as it is comfortable for them.
If you are trying to find a hidden chinchilla, the first thing you should do is explore common hiding places such as under beds and couches. Chinchillas can flatten their bodies easily, making any small space a good candidate for cover.
If you have a friend or family member available, it can be helpful to have them assist with the search. Be careful where you are walking as chinchillas can run out of hiding spots quickly and you don’t want to accidentally step on them.
Once the hiding spot is identified, you can enlist some of the methods mentioned previously to get them back in their cage.
Many people who own chinchillas are familiar with managing behavioral issues with other domesticated pets such as dogs or cats. When dealing with a chinchilla who is not following instructions, it is important to understand that they must be treated differently than other pets.
Chinchillas are naturally skittish and will not respond well to punishment. By taking a traditional disciplinary approach with a chinchilla who refuses to return to their cage, you may cause them to become distrustful and fearful of you.
By inciting these negative feelings in your pet, you will not only fail to solve the original issue but create the new problem of dealing with a chinchilla who may become completely withdrawn and depressed.
Instead of punishment for a misbehaving chinchilla, it is recommended to guide them with positive reinforcement. Chinchillas are very intelligent and look to their caretakers for social cues.
By working with them gently, you are establishing patterns that they will respond to. Speak to your chinchilla in a gentle voice and only handle them with the utmost care.
Chinchillas will detect subtle hints if you are angry at them, so make sure to keep an even-tempered demeanor. Training your chinchilla will require patience and repetition.
By maintaining a nurturing attitude, you will be able to teach your chinchilla how to follow directions more effectively and ensure that they return to their cage on a more consistent basis.
If your chinchilla has made a habit of refusing to go back in their cage, it is time to reflect on what may be happening to inspire this behavior. While wanting some additional playtime is nothing to be concerned over, a chinchilla who consistently refuses to go back in their cage may be trying to tell you something.
Playtime and exercise are necessary for good chinchilla health. It’s common for chinchillas who are not receiving enough physical activity to do everything they can to maximize their time outside of the cage.
Chinchillas are curious and often rely on external stimulation to be entertained. If your chinchilla appears hesitant to go back to their cage, they may be trying to tell you that they are bored.
The world outside of their cage may be more interesting to them and they simply want to continue investigating. To resolve this issue, make sure that there are plenty of creature comforts for your chinchilla inside of their cage.
Provide your pet with a variety of toys, adequate bedding, and healthy treats. If you haven’t tried a chinchilla safe running wheel or hammock, it may be time to test those items out.
Calming distractions such as music and television are also good ways to provide entertainment and comfort to your pet. By meeting all of your chinchilla’s physical and emotional needs, you are reducing the chances that they will put up a fight when it’s time to go back in their cage.
It’s common for chinchillas to want to spend extra time outside of their cage. When attempting to return them, responsible chinchilla caretakers must employ safe methods that will not result in negative consequences.
Get to know your chinchilla’s personality and make sure that they have a happy scenario inside of their cage. By treating your pet with compassion and striving to understand their motivations, you will inspire them to stay out of mischief!