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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been hired to tame this little girl's pet store rat. For months, none of his owners have touched him in fear of getting bitten. He squeals whenever someone strokes him and is very fearful. He won't allow to be picked up. He squirms and squirms and Im afraid of dropping him. He has never bitten to be mean, he just bites because he is afraid. He has never bitten me though. Any tips?
 

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Recliner!
Sit him on your lap, you don't have to hold him that way and you can just put a blanket over him..
When he gets used to you, just place your hand slowly in the blanket and pet him gradually.

My go to spot is ALWAYS the recliner, even bed for timid ratties.
Small spaces work a lot better..

Treat overload!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks AdequateRat! The problem is that he is deathly afraid of everything, including hands, towels etc. He screams whenever I stroke him and he turns around like hes going to bite me (but he never does)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, just like 3 dollars a day to pay for his food. Not much.
 

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Thanks AdequateRat! The problem is that he is deathly afraid of everything, including hands, towels etc. He screams whenever I stroke him and he turns around like hes going to bite me (but he never does)
Then maybe a blocked off bathroom if you feel like he's more comfortable with open spaces.
Maybe a few hidey holes.

The thing I don't like about hidey places when you're introducing rats is because I find they won't come out.. Lol.
If you have to do it in a bathroom.. I'd have like a flat box with shredded newspaper for him to play in an abundance of treats.

This is a tricky one.
 

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My most recent taming of a frightened and biting rat is chronicled here:
http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?267114-I-m-not-sure-I-can-do-this.

A shorter version:

Day 1 - Petey was in a tank and I sat on the toilet next to the tank. When he came to the side closer to me I very gently touched him. Perhaps once or twice every 5-10 minutes over 1 1/2 hours. Petey bit me twice and I was a bit afraid of him. Had a second session of 2 hours just like the first.
Day 2 - Got him out of the tank and sat on the floor of the bathroom with him. Again I petted him when he was close enough and if he ran and stayed in the corner, I would wait until the "freeze" relaxed and bend closer and stroke him. Spent 3 hours with him and put him in a single level cage.
Day 3 - Set the cage on the bathroom floor and took the top off. With him in the bottom of his cage, over about 3 hours I pet him when he was close or if he had stayed in the far corner for 5 minutes or more. He took a nap with me petting him. He woke for a while and when he settled down to go to sleep again I put the cage over him and put him back.
Day 4 - Petey in the bottom of the cage. Continued petting, he was running away a bit less and I was able to scritch him once.
Day 5 - Petey still in the bottom of the cage. Petey discovered that he could get under the fleece on the bottom of the cage and I petted and stroked him through the fleece. He was running away less and less. At this point Rat Daddy suggested getting him completely out of the cage. Up to this point I had avoided picking Petey up due to his early bites.
Day 6 - Took Petey out of his cage. He kicked but didn't bite. This time I was picking him up when he was close enough and trying to pet him in my lap. Things were going well until he decided he had to explore the part of the bathroom that was on my other side - where the toilet is. I thought I had the toiled fairly well blocked so he couldn't get behind it, but I still didn't want him over there. He managed to squirm away from me and get over there and much more quickly than I would have expected found his way behind the toilet. So several minutes of chasing elusive rat ensued.
Day 7 - I set up a wall using corrugated plastic to block off the area of the toilet. During our morning session all Petey wanted to do was get behind that wall. He seemed very frantic, and didn't calm down during the hour.
Day 8 - In the morning Petey crawled across my lap to get to the other side of me in the bathroom. Prior to this he got to the other side of my lap after I picked him up and he ran away from me in that direction, so I was thrilled when he willingly jumped on me to run to the other side. Then, that night he was being very busy, not holding still for long enough for me to pet him twice. He was running under my leg and humping his back to let me know I needed to lift it up and make room for him. I was sitting there wondering if I pick him up 150-200-1000 times and pet, cuddle, belly kiss and snuggle him, he will eventually come to the conclusion that being picked up isn't all that bad. Then I wondered, "What if he thinks pets, cuddles, belly kisses and snuggles are fates worse than death?". When suddenly he settled down on my lap and allowed me to pet him for about 5 minutes. Breakthrough!!
Day 9 (yesterday) - In the morning we had our first session in a chair. He generally stayed in my lap or on the chair til he saw a shelf he could reach. I let him sit on it for about 10 minutes before I took him back. In the evening we pretty much repeated the morning session.

Just go easy. One day at a time. Spend as much time each day as possible.
 

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One thing I found helped my nervous rat was having a more adventurous rat with them during the times she was interacting with me. (The adventurous rat was already bonded to me) I think that the more outgoing rat showed her that it was okay to trust me. :)
 

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Also rats are generally calmer if they are closer to your heart. At least that's what mine like
 

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Also rats are generally calmer if they are closer to your heart. At least that's what mine like
This may be because they're closer to your body, and that feels more secure. One site I read said not to handle rats with your hands away from your body, as the rat will feel vulnerable and scared. Holding a rat close to you may not completely ameliorate her state, but it provides some security.

Although I've learned that when my rats are comfortable, they don't care. I can hold my arm out at 90 degrees, and they'll still walk out to the hand as far away from me as possible.
 
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