Ever since I got Ink and Dreamer, I have made an effort to play with them every single night. It started out with fifteen minutes, and slowly grew until I was spending an hour with them. I have found this to be a very effective method of bonding.
A lot of people do daytime bonding where they will carry the sleeping gliders around with them in a bonding pouch, bra, etc. This is a great tool to use and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I definitely encourage it. However, I want to talk about the benefits of nightly bonding and how it can enhance your relationship with your glider and take it to the whole next level.
Nightly bonding can be done in several ways. Tent time is probably the most common. You basically sit in a mosquito net tent with your gliders and let them crawl on you and the tent. Another method is to sit beside the glider cage and just read or talk to your gliders through the bars. This is good for unbonded gliders as it gets them used to your presence and the sound of your voice. My favorite method is the one that I have always used. It’s to take the gliders into a glider safe room (my bedroom is what I use, which is also where I have their cages) and then to let them free roam while you supervise. I’ll talk more about this later.
One benefit of playing with your gliders at night is that they are awake and aware of you and of your affection and care. The waiting time for a bond will be greatly diminished by doing nightly playtime.
I’ve seen amazing results from using this method. I have a glider, Yiska, who was a rehome and who was extremely shy, jumpy and terrified of humans. I made a commitment to play with him every night. It started out with me standing by his cage and talking to him. Then standing beside him and waiting for him to become interested in me. Every night, he became less and less shy – even if it was only by a miniscule amount. Gliders are very routine oriented and it wasn’t long before he realized that every night, I would be there and we would hang out. He learned that there was nothing to fear from me and his trust in me has grown immensely. I believe that he would still be a terrified, shy glider hiding in the back of his cage if I had only done day time bonding and hadn’t committed to nightly bonding as well.
So what is my method? Like I said, I have a glider safe room where I allow them to play in while I supervise. My gliders often choose to hang out with me instead of wandering around the room. This is partly because I am the tallest thing in the room (aside from my desk, which they can’t climb on) and they naturally want to be as high up as possible. But they also know that this is bonding time with mama and they really crave it.
You DO NOT have to spend hours every single night with your gliders! With Yiska, I started out with ten or fifteen minutes a night. That isn’t long at all, and the results have been amazing.
Nightly bonding isn’t always easy and it takes time and commitment. But it is so worth it. If you want a deep, lasting bond with your gliders, I encourage you to try to spend at least ten minutes with them every night. You’ll get to see a whole new side to their personalities. You’ll get to see how playful they are and how they accept you into their colony. You’ll get to be a part of their lives and experience that in a way that you wouldn’t have, if you had only stuck to daytime bonding.
Figure out a method and a schedule that works for you and your gliders and try it! You’ll be amazed by the results.