Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new home.

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Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new home.

Postby katk » Mon May 17, 2021 2:28 pm

I am becoming overwhelmed and frustrated with trying to figure out how to make my beardie happy- I could use some practical advice- and a little emotional support from people who might've experienced feelings like this in the beginning.

We got Tofi in early September 2020 from a local reptile/amphibian pet store. They guessed he was 3-4 months at the time, so in a way, at that age maybe he was kind of like a rescue since I imagine he was very rarely handled? He was terrified when we brought him home and we gave him some time to acclimate to his new home.

We started slowly by getting him to eat insects from our hands. Then we tried taking him out and holding him to our chest. He was extremely skittish and would try to desperately escape- once jumping from my hands so quickly as I was putting him back that he fell behind his viv.

It's now been 8 months, and he will eat from our hands and will sit on my chest for a few minutes. But, he remains skittish and mostly afraid of us. After a few minutes on my chest (while I'm reclining on the bed) he moves to jump off and run away. He went through a brief period where he stopped eating very much, but then randomly started eating again. Some days he basks- other days he doesn't want to wake up and will sit there all day in the cool spot frozen in the same spot.

I think his setup is fine now (I've gotten lots of advice here)- temps are normal (~92-97 basking; ~75-83 cool), UVB is good (T5 10.0 reptisun tube in his cage), 55 gal tank with reptile carpet and window to look out at the scenery...plenty of salad with hornworms and/or dubia on a daily basis (dusted with vitamins and calcium).

Basically, he just seems like he hates us and is depressed. It hasn't been very enjoyable for us- it has been more stressful than rewarding so far. Does my beardie need to be rescued from us or am I just giving up too easily? :(
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby KarrieRee » Mon May 17, 2021 4:43 pm

Your dragon is fine --- as long as you spend time w/ him everyday --it sounds like your doing a good job --- just make sure his UVB is 12-15 inches directly above his basking decor piece --- keep working w/ him and spending time w/ him -- it may take a little while for him to come around --- Blaze is almost 2 and he is afraid of everything real skittish as well -- he doesnt really like it out of his tank as he runs from everything --- he has a completely different personality from my 3 year old -- they all have different personalities --- unless you want to give him up I would not --- but that is up to you
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby katk » Tue May 18, 2021 9:55 am

I don't want to give him up, but he doesn't seem like he's thriving and all I do is worry about him. Today he is again sitting frozen on the ground in his cool spot- like he can't wake up. (Yesterday my husband eventually moved him to his basking spot because he was so cold to the touch.) It's just starting to feel like he's never going to like us- and I can't figure out his behavior.
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby ComicBookMama » Tue May 18, 2021 11:44 am

Animals, even reptiles, have their own distinct personalities. Some are more outgoing, others more reserved, still others are timid by nature. I'll admit that I've been jealous on occasion of the people here who say their beardies love to spend time with them, come running to the front of the hab when they see them, that sort of thing - because mine isn't that way, either. I had a pair of Rankins before I got my Figment and, frankly, they had all the personality and charm of a pair of sticks. I passed them along to a collector who wasn't looking for a terribly interactive pet, and she was THRILLED with them.

I did get rather stressed early on with Figment, trying to get his hab just right, and worrying about whether he was happy or just existing. Then I sat back and thought, waitasec. I am looking at this from a mammalian brain, thinking like a primate (which I am). What is this like for a REPTILE? Well, for a reptile, what we see as "existing" may actually be quite pleasant. Existing means you're not in constant fight-or-flight mode. Existing means you're not searching for your food, because it's provided for you. Existing means you have the luxury of deciding how much, or how little, you move about - because nothing is actively trying to eat you. I don't think our pet reptiles require as much in the way of stimulation as a pet mammal does, honestly. If you're providing for your dragon, and if he is maintaining his weight and eating well, he may simply not be the "cuddly" sort.

Do I think your dragon needs to be "rescued?" No. You are giving him fine care. Do I think you should agonize over whether or not you should rehome him? Again, no. If you feel stressed by caring for him, rather than feeling joy or at least satisfaction... if you're not getting anything from the relationship... there is no shame whatsoever in seeking out a different home for him. You are NOT a bad dragon keeper. But you may not be a "dragon person," that's all. And there's nothing wrong with that in the least.

Take a deep breath, and think about your options. If you decide on rehoming, look into it carefully. I honestly would avoid Craigslist, but that's just me. Take it slowly, remembering that you don't need to rush this. If you decide to keep your dragon, continue daily handling sessions - maybe at a different time of day - but keep them short and positive.

You're asking for help from the right folks. I hope other veteran owners will chime in and let you know their thoughts, too.

Hope all goes well for you!
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
1.0 Bearded Dragon - Figment
2.0 dogs - Ariel & Milo
1.0 cat - Skimble
1.0 husband
1.0 son
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby KarrieRee » Tue May 18, 2021 12:02 pm

Please post pics of Tofi and his tank --- something seems off w/ all the basking on the cool side
https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ click on XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the pic it should post
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby katk » Tue May 18, 2021 12:34 pm

@ComicBookMama, I really appreciate your response. It really puts things in perspective. You're absolutely right that I'm thinking with a mammalian brain, and perhaps only drawing upon my experience of being a mama to kitties (and one human child).

I don't need Tofi to be cute and cuddly. I can be content with his judgmental-looking side-eye as long as I can be sure he's healthy. I suppose I'll wait and see, like you suggest, and keep handling him when I can and try to just let all the weird nuanced behaviors go.

Sometimes he eats, other times he's not that interested. Some days he likes to hang in the cool spot, other days he basks. He's moved to his basking spot now.
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby KarrieRee » Tue May 18, 2021 12:42 pm

He looks really good --- nice thick tail -- Tofi will be fine -- just spend as much time w/ him as you can - he looks content -- believe hes got it good compared to some of the dragons we get on here :)
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby katk » Tue May 18, 2021 4:47 pm

KarrieRee wrote:He looks really good --- nice thick tail -- Tofi will be fine -- just spend as much time w/ him as you can - he looks content -- believe hes got it good compared to some of the dragons we get on here :)


Thanks, Karrie, I'm starting to feel better. He did start glass surfing a bunch today and I just can't ever seem to figure out why. Earlier I had him chill on my chest for a few minutes...he's doing it again now and I'm going to give him some food because I don't think he's eaten. Who knows what's going on his head...
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby KarrieRee » Tue May 18, 2021 4:52 pm

Just make sure he has 2-3 hrs of basking time before lights out
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby katk » Wed May 19, 2021 1:18 pm

OK, now I'm worried again. Last night he went to sleep in his hidey log and now it's after 2 pm and he hasn't emerged. He poked his head out this morning but then retreated even further into his log early this afternoon. It's currently reading 76.8 on that side and his basking temp is 93. He ate one hornworm last night but hasn't eaten since.

When this happens, is it best to leave them alone- or should I pick him and move him to his basking spot?
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby KarrieRee » Wed May 19, 2021 1:22 pm

Leave him alone for now but you want your temps up to 95-100 for basking and I would work on getting the cool side up to the 80's
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby Gail » Wed May 19, 2021 5:56 pm

Definitely looks well fed and healthy. One I can think of is it might be time to upgrade his furniture. He is pretty big for that stick, it might not be that comfortable for him.

I like a nice flat rock they can splay out on, lots of support and it holds heat well.
You might consider doing away with the hide too, some dragons get lazy and simply don't move out of their hide.

Its not uncommon for a dragon not to sit still, they usually like to run around. If you have a safe room, let him out to explore.
Get a reptile leash and introduce him to outside. The more you interact with him, the more tolerant he will become.
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby SnowStorm03 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:15 am

I have been trying to find someone else going through the same thing as I am with Blue and your struggles with Tofi sound almost identical. We also got Blue when he was 4 months old at the petstore so I often wonder if there was some mishandling that happened. He is 19 months now. Our cage is a bit bigger, 4x2x2 because he is very big at 22.5 inches long. We have the same lighting and heat readings (more around 82 on the cool side). The only difference from Tofi is Blue will always come out and bask as soon as his lights are on. Thing is he has so much energy I don't know if I can handle it anymore. Everything seems to be right, he has perfect healthy poops and is a healthy weight, yet he wants out all the time. He will go on like this until halfway through the day when he finally acts normal. I feed him once he's warmed up in the morning then wait for him to poop and then I let him out to run around so I can clean up and he can explore. When he starts to get a little cold I put him back in and he basks. But as soon as he's warm enough he demands to be out again. I try ignoring him but he bangs and scratches so loudly sometimes my anxiety can't deal. He will even go as far as forcing a poop again because he knows I'll have to take him out (I swear he hates me) I've gotten nervous taken him out more than once because he's started pooping a second time once and a while and I can't spend the whole day watching him. He's never been cuddly either, except when it's lights out and he's doppy, then he cuddles right into my neck and freaks out when it's time to go back in his cage. He can be difficult when being picked up too and his nails are like razor blades. I've tried different ways to support him, never coming from behind or above, but he squirms so much I have cuts all over my hands. We are currently waiting for a new leash for him cause he likes going outside but absolutely despises the leather piece on the other one. I'm just feeling so overwhelmed. We had never heard of dragons being this way when we researched them before getting Blue. I heard of aggressive beardies, but Blue has never tried to bite us, he's good that way. I'm just glad I'm not alone.
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:37 am

They will go thru a period of wanting out all the time -- my 3 yr old does it around Feb into March -- I call it spring fever -- even when hes out for 2 hrs during that time period as soon as hes back in and warmed up he will want out and does not settle down till the afternoon -- happens every year the same time --- it is normal -- he should start to settle down here soon but it is weeks that they do it --
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Re: Thinking of giving up...maybe my beardie needs a new hom

Postby Gail » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:28 pm

SnowStorm03 wrote:I have been trying to find someone else going through the same thing as I am with Blue and your struggles with Tofi sound almost identical. We also got Blue when he was 4 months old at the petstore so I often wonder if there was some mishandling that happened. He is 19 months now. Our cage is a bit bigger, 4x2x2 because he is very big at 22.5 inches long. We have the same lighting and heat readings (more around 82 on the cool side). The only difference from Tofi is Blue will always come out and bask as soon as his lights are on. Thing is he has so much energy I don't know if I can handle it anymore. Everything seems to be right, he has perfect healthy poops and is a healthy weight, yet he wants out all the time. He will go on like this until halfway through the day when he finally acts normal. I feed him once he's warmed up in the morning then wait for him to poop and then I let him out to run around so I can clean up and he can explore. When he starts to get a little cold I put him back in and he basks. But as soon as he's warm enough he demands to be out again. I try ignoring him but he bangs and scratches so loudly sometimes my anxiety can't deal. He will even go as far as forcing a poop again because he knows I'll have to take him out (I swear he hates me) I've gotten nervous taken him out more than once because he's started pooping a second time once and a while and I can't spend the whole day watching him. He's never been cuddly either, except when it's lights out and he's doppy, then he cuddles right into my neck and freaks out when it's time to go back in his cage. He can be difficult when being picked up too and his nails are like razor blades. I've tried different ways to support him, never coming from behind or above, but he squirms so much I have cuts all over my hands. We are currently waiting for a new leash for him cause he likes going outside but absolutely despises the leather piece on the other one. I'm just feeling so overwhelmed. We had never heard of dragons being this way when we researched them before getting Blue. I heard of aggressive beardies, but Blue has never tried to bite us, he's good that way. I'm just glad I'm not alone.


Thats sounds like normal behavior for a dragon. Some are worse then others about glass dancing.
Taking him out everytime he gets demanding is just reinforcing the behavior.
A reptile is a lot like having a life long toddler. They are demanding and require a lot of attention.
They will get lazier as the get older but will generally always get feisty spring/summer as their hormones kick in.

If his nails are cutting you up, they need to be trimmed. There are plenty of videos on youtube showing how its done.
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