I hold him once per day from about 20 to sometimes 45 mins. Do you suggest I do it more then once? I have in the past done it multi times during the day but it seemed to make him more aggressive so I backed down to just once.
I do what you have suggested about holding him secure and loosening when he relaxes. He will stay put for a short bit. Some days better then others and when he tries to bolt then I repeat the process. I've tried treats but he refuses to take anything. Just recently over the last week when he tries to bite me I have been sticking a piece of treat into the bite. He does take it, he just does a lick or or and leaves the food alone. And seems to stop biting for a short time. Nit sure if I should continue this or if it's a bad thing using food. But like I said I just started it hoping it might persuade him I'm not so bad.
After our holding session I will go to put him in his enclosure and the will start the whole tail whipping, biting, hissing, and trying to break away all over. I secure him again not putting him down or back until he calms down. Once he stops then I return him to his enclosure. Once he is in he runs like crazy away from me.
If I stand infant of him enclosed at all even if I'm not going into it he will puff up, whip his tail, hiss etc.
I feel like I'm making no progress with him. I know he is only around a year or year and half old but is this what you would consider normal even though I've had him for a year?
I definitely would love some tips and ideas for ways to get him social.
Oh and he is a male if that helps.
You are doing this right. And be assured, he no longer fears you. He is now just asserting his genetically coded strong drive to be a loner. It's been proven to even the experts that iguanas can be convinced to accept their owners and that taming is good for them in the long run.
Does he free-roam? It's good for him. Throw a towel over him to catch him.
Retained shed is uncomfortable for igs and it changes their behavior. If he doesn't have a tank in his enclosure big enough for him to get his whole body into, then: Even though your guy is un-tame, it would be good for him to be tubbed each morning for 10 to 20 minutes. During tubbing, my igs drank. Even if his skin looks normal, it may be beginning the shed cycle, needing to be moisturized. Captive habitats are just too dry to allow normal shedding. “Parting fluid” seeps from the body to just under the skin, lubricating it for a smooth shed. When it dries, it glues the shed to his new skin. So the added stress of getting used to the tub is offset by the benefits of improved hydration. He will feel better.
The rationale for taming is that it is for the iguana's own best good. Tameness will bring his cortisol levels back to near normal, make it less stressful for cage maintenance, be non stressful for tubbing, cut back his anxiety when you are near his cage, and let you feel good about him free-roaming in your ig-proofed home.
“ I can trim his nails but it's a long process as i do 1 or 2 then he tries ti bolt. Then I secure him again then wait a bit till he relaxes and do another 1 or 2 and so on.”
It's quicker and less stressful for him if you use the Iguana Burrito trick. Lay a large enough towel on the floor, place him on it, and roll him up snugly. Iguanas tolerate being wrapped very well. You can pull out one leg at a time for trimming. You will need bite-proof gloves to pull out his front legs.
It's best to take him out for training three times/day, it may make him give up sooner. When you reach into his cage, look for ways to make the chase as short as possible. Don't be afraid to catch and hold him with enough force to make it effective and quick. Press his belly firmly into your belly until he stops struggling, 30 seconds or less, the relax your grip just enough so he can breathe. Carefully (no surprises) walk to a comfortable place for you to spend some quiet time of about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep the duration the same every time. Iguanas thrive on routine and are crushed by unexpected events. He will come to know to the minute when his sessions are over. Every time he tries to bolt, or when you get up to put him back, press him down or into your belly until he stops struggling.
Never let him get away from you, it will lengthen the taming time.
It's great that he swallows the treats. Many start out by spitting them out. When he is still, put a one to two tsp sized piece of treat close to his nose. Use banana for two months so he can get used to it's particular allure. If he doesn't take it by then, try pizza crust, or two halves of grape. You are likely to find something he goes nuts for. Then he can start really appreciating you as the bringer of treats.
Don't stroke him until he shows some sign of acceptance. It can stress him, especially top-of-head strokes. His parietal eye is there and he may dislike it being touched. His closing eyes are not a sign of bliss, but is his only way to minimize the unwanted experience. Eventually he may like to be gently scratched along his cheeks or along his throat to under his chin, or along his sides.
Everything that happens o him needs to be a dependable routine, like feeding and tubbing times, lights on and off, etc, down to the slightest detail. It's best if your clothing is always the same, and avoid busy patterns like polka-dots. It's often reported that igs have a bad reaction to a particular blouse or other clothing. But nobody knows the right or safest style or color.
The literature does not mention it much, but captive igs should have night-dropped temperatures similar to their native jungles, about 55 to 60F. Don't let anyone tell you that is too low: look up the night temps of the jungles of low-land Peru and of Belize. IMO it's OK to have the habitat drop to your home's interior nighttime temperature, with the cage's thermostat night-set at 60F so it can't get too cold, like in the low 50's or lower. This way, in the AM the lights come on and he will seek out the warm zone, which is a healthy activity, and establishes another healthy routine in his environment.
“ but it seemed to make him more aggressive so I backed down to just once.”
It always seemed to me that three times/day made them give up sooner. His increased resistance will fade to normal resistance as he gets used to the new schedule.
“If I stand infant of him enclosed at all even if I'm not going into it he will puff up, whip his tail, hiss etc.”.
Not at all surprising. That's natural for him at this point.
“I feel like I'm making no progress with him. I know he is only around a year or year and half old but is this what you would consider normal even though I've had him for a year? “
Not true. You have made progress. If for instance he had been with you for seven untame years, his reaction to taming would be the same. He acts like a normal untame iguana. Make a firm decision to do this taming for 12 months, so you don't give up early. If after a year you eventually have to stop the taming, then that is an OK option as long as you can accept him a a show-only iguana. Many people keep show-only iguanas. I keep a show-only WC California Gopher Snake who is happy and calm, and even very curious, as long as I don't have to handle him or break his routine. I like him a lot. I'm very interested in following your taming efforts with your iguana :-)