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a little bit of rat training

3370 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Night
I've inquired about some of these issues in another topic, but wanted to put them together with some of the other questions i have.

1. Coming to their name
Simply... they don't. They will come to me. No to their name, but they will come to me... when they feel like it. Hasn't really been an issue, but I would like to give them more freedom, but I think I need to get this down first.

2. Taking treats
They won't take them while I have them out... they hardly show interest in it, but as soon as I put them back in their cage, they'll grab it so fast... This is a problem, because most of the positive reinforcement comes from... treats... how am I supposed to teach them their name or anything really, if I can't reward them while they're still out?

3. Running when I try to pick them her up
Only one of my rats does this. She'll run every time I try to pick her up. Once she's out though, she's fine. Maybe she just views it as a game? While in the cage, if I stick my hand in there, she'll come sniff it, whatever. She only does it when I go to pick her up... She'll even come sniff me right after I've tried to pick her up, but as soon as that hand goes over her, she's running again lol.

4. Sleeping too much?
They don't seem to be too terribly active. Well, somewhat. I heard the wheel going last night, I got up and looked, could only find one of them. The other was up in her hammock napping. That same one also seems to sleep later than the other and she doesn't run around on me as much. I took them to the vet a few weeks ago and they were perfectly fine. She's eating fine still. Maybe I'm just catching her at her down times?

That's all I can think of atm. Any help would be appreciated... I'm just not feeling that strong bond I've heard about. I love them to death, don't get me wrong... I just feel like both them and I are missing out.
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Coming to names is the one area where i've had success with my boys!!!! Oscar comes to his name every time without fail - Moss is getting the hang of it, but he's still just a baby so hopefully by the time he's Oscar's age he would have perfected the art too :D

I started off by giving them a treat (yoghurt drop, chicken, bread - in very lttle bits though, so it doesn't take them long to eat it) every time they came near me, and crinkled the yogie packet, or rattled their treat tin (quietly), They'd be so curious about the strange noise that they'd come to investigate, and find a treat waiting for them when they came to me! Oscar soon began to associate the rattling of the tin and yogie packet with food. Once he'd learned to come to me with the tin-rattle, i started saying his name either while i rattled it, or in-between rattles. I gradually stopped rattling once they got good at coming to the name-rattle combo. I then began by just saying his name, making sure i said their name until they came to me (in the same tone of voice) and while they were eating it. Now Oscar comes to his name AND the biscuit box, which is good but a pai if i'm trying to fill it up quietly while he's asleep! They both go crazy if i even lift the lid off lol :D

I know that's a bit of a ramble bu it worked perfectly for me and so long as you've got some time and patience to put in (and don't mind monotonously saying your rats name over and over again :D) it should work for you too, fingers crossed!

My rats will also only eat small things like yoghurt drops and tiny bits of food outside their cage - anything that's bigger is a prize deemed worthy of stashing so they take it in their cage and hide it to eat later. Eating outside of the cage will probably only happen whtn they trust you and know you're not going to steal their food xD

DonnaK: Rats are nocturnal? I thought they were crepuscular...they are active during the dusky/twilight hours of morning and evening, and they sleep off and on during the day and the night in shifts...my boys sleep from about 11pm (my normal bedtime) and sometimes don't even wake up when i get up to go to College the next morning at 7am. They're in my room and i'm a light sleeper, i rarely if ever hear them up in the night.
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