I got 2 male rats 3 days ago, each day they have become slowly more trustworthy, and I decided to take it a step further today, but I took things to far, and I think I really spooked them out. They are 2 months old, and I got them from a nice family who handled them often, and were nice to them. I knew right away they had been well socialized. They are a little older than I wanted, but because of their good temperament I decided it was a good decision (Maybe not?). The day I brought them home I left them completely alone in their cage with the exception of giving them a few treats. I wanted them to relax.
Day two, they had calmed down a bit, I put their cage on my bed, sat on it, and after about an hour of me sitting around they came out. I was able to carry one of them, but he was a little nervous so I put him down. They explored my bed for a short time, climbed on me a bit, than decided to climb to the top of their cage and sit there. I lifted them off a few times, and put them back on my bed. They would run behind their cage, than run back to look at me, than again, than they'd climb back on top of the cage. After maybe 10 minutes they went back into their cage by choice. Again, with the exception of treats I left them alone for the rest of the night. At this point I was able to pet them without scaring them, and they seemed interested in me instead of nervous.
Day three. I woke up at 7:20, and they seemed very happy. I opened the cage and they both came to the door, I lifted one up, and let him sit in my arms, he seemed a little uneasy, so I put him back in his cage. I gave them some cucumber (Which they absolutely love) and they didn't yank it from me like normal, they both grabbed it calmly, than walked off with it, instead of the usual lunge for it, than take off. They seemed fairly happy when I pet them gently. I went to work and decided it would be a good idea to take them out of the cage a little longer, so they can relax out of the cage and get used to it. I got home, and they seemed very uninterested about coming out. I sat at the other side of my bed, on my laptop, I ignored them so they would feel safe coming out. About 1 hour passed and nothing, so I gave them some dried mango, and pet them. They seemed really calm when I pet them. After about an hour I decided I'd pick them up and take them out. I was successful, and got them both out. They seemed more trusting of me carrying them now. They sat on me for maybe 20 seconds, than went behind the cage and under my pillows. Maybe a minute later they just climbed back ontop of the cage and sat there. I gave them both treats, which they took. After them sitting their for 5 minutes I closed their cage door (This is where I made the mistake I think), and brought them back onto my bed. They had enough, and wanted back into their cage, they looked for the door, but couldn't find it, and they panicked a bit. I sat on my bed and didn't do anything, I assumed they would see I wasn't going to hurt them than relax. They than climbed to the top of the cage again, and didn't move. I waited about a minute than I realized they were not going to calm down so I opened the door, one ran in, the other didn't seem to notice. He sat ontop of the cage still for a while. I eventually left the room hoping he'd go back in if I wasn't around, 2 minutes later, hes still there. He took VERY slow steps, obviously scared, and was too scared to climb back down the cage. I knew I took it too far closing the door, so I thought the best thing to do was to put the guy in the cage where he felt safe. I picked him up and let him go back in. Its been about an hour and they seem to have finally relaxed and stopped staring at me. I moved them next to my computer so they can see me, but not have to be handled.
It seems I took it too far, and I'm not sure what to do. I took them out of their cage because they seemed real calm, but wouldn't come out on their own, was that where I made the first mistake? Or was the mistake closing the door to their cage on them? I think I can earn their trust back fairly quickly, but what if they aren't interested of ever coming out of their cage? Should I just leave them in there? Should I take them out? Should I try and let them out in a a large room where they can run around? I have a spare room currently empty upstairs. Should I try my washroom? I'm really not sure where to go from here if they're so scared of coming out. Maybe I'm expecting too much trust too fast?