trustyourmechanic asked: How often does this "teenager phase" occur? This is the first time I've ever heard of that. Have you ever personally experienced it with one of your chins, or have you just heard about it? I got my chin at 5 months old on the first of November, so he's embarking on his one year pretty quickly. I don't think I could have asked for a sweeter chinchilla, honestly. Patience has really paid off with this one. He doesn't even nibble my fingers anymore, he just wants to kinda sit with me during his free time out every day and loves getting scritches. I've noticed he doesn't freeze or run away if I walk at him from across the room at all either anymore. So I'm just curious about this "phase" you mentioned. Sounds scary! haha
I have experienced it with both of my boys, and am not sure if it happens with females as often as males. I have also read others’ anecdotes about the ‘teenager phase’ on Chins N’ Hedgies.
Here’s what happened with my guys:
Max: I spent a lot of time trying to bond with Max as a kit. He was so shy when I first got him, that he just sat in the corner of the cage looking terrified of existing. After quite a few months, I was able to give him ‘scritches,’ and he would run to the front of the cage, even stepping out onto my palms at times. When he was about 1.5 or 2, the hormones kicked in and he became grumpier. He still recognized me, and came to the front of the cage wanting pets, but was just slightly more aloof. I feel that it was just a small setback in the work I’d put into taming.
Osker: He was naturally more outgoing as a kit than Max, so I didn’t spend as much time trying to bond with him (although I should have). He is much more curious, and willing to explore new things/ approach you. At about a year old, his personality “change” just made him a little feistier. He acted bolder and more fearless, I suppose, and just wanted to do whatever he wanted- which was usually getting out of the cage to bounce off of the walls like a psychopath. I would say this change stuck with him slightly, but it’s not as pronounced as it was a couple of years ago- if that makes sense.
The situation in which you should really be concerned about this possible phase is if you have two male kits living together- or one male kit and one male adult. The hormones can often cause them to suddenly have disputes or reject each other, and a perfect, cuddly pair can suddenly be having fights all the time, requiring their owners to finally separate them permanently- for safety reasons.
All chins are different, and you may not even notice a change with your chinchilla. I would just keep doing what you’re doing- it sounds like he is bonding well. It’s not like all your efforts will be in vain, if he does have a personality change- all that bonding doesn’t usually get automatically reset, from what I’ve read and experienced.