After a short amount of time of no contact with humans, dwarf hamsters become untame. To avoid this, you MUST handle your hamster at least once every two weeks. Unlike dwarfs, once Syrian hamsters are tame, they are tame for life. Because dwarfs have not been domesticated nearly as long as Syrians, they have a tendency of losing their tameness if they aren't held often enough.
Is your dwarf biting or nipping your hand? Is it difficult to get it to trust you? Are you afraid to handle your dwarf hamster? If so, you are not alone! Below is a 3-step guide for you so that holding your dwarf hamster will be fun, not dreaded.
1. First of all, you have to HOLD your hamster. Luckily, I know of an easy way to do this. Before you even begin to hold your hamster, always wash your hands to remove food smells! You will need either a rubber glove/ski glove or a tube of some sort. Habitrail tubes, jars, toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls will all do the trick.
GLOVE METHOD: Put the glove on and reach into the cage. Grab your hamster around the middle or scoop it out. Place the hamster in your other hand. It most likely will not bite.
TUBE/JAR METHOD: This is my favorite method because gloves are bulky. Get your tube and put the opposite end (the one you're not holding onto) next to your hamster. Usually they climb right in, but if it doesn't, push the tube over the hamster and quickly scoop it up. Dump it in your hand. Even though the hamster will come in contact with your bare hand, I have never had a hamster bite me while using this method.
2. Step 1 is the most difficult, so here's how you continue. Once you have your hamster in your hands, go to a quiet, carpeted room or the empty bathtub and sit down. Remain calm, don't make loud noises, and don't make startling movements. Pet your hamster gently and talk softly to it. Offer it treats and do your best to avoid dropping it.
3. Do Step 2 10 - 20 minutes per day for two weeks. For a few days, you will have to pick the hamster up using Step 1, but it will eventually let you pick it up without biting. Each day, be sure to offer it a treat or two and talk to it while you're doing this. This treatment will let your hamster know you aren't going to hurt it, and he will associate your voice with treats. Once this happens, you have completed the steps and are a master hamster trainer!
If your hamster continues to bite, give it a few days to acclimate to its new environment. Leave it alone in its cage without handling it for a few days. Talk to it softly through the cage, so it can become familiar with your voice. Try not to make any sudden or loud noises around it.
Offer it treats from your hand a couple of times a day. Slowly put your hand into the cage and dangle the treat in front of your hamster's nose. You can feed him carrot or apple bits for starters. He will begin to associate your hand with food and trust it.
After talking to your dwarf and feeding it treats from your hand for a few days, you are ready for the next step. Wash your hands thoroughly. Slowly put one hand into the cage and lay it flat on the bottom. Keep it still and flat and let your hamster explore it. Hopefully, he will sniff and walk on it. If so, this is a very good sign. Keep doing this for at least a week before trying to handle it. If the dwarf climbs into your hand and sits there, lift him up a couple of inches and set him back down. He will get used to you, and hopefully allow you to handle him.