Rat Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I’m a first time rat owner, I got my boys last Friday. One of them is rather skittish but is improving by the day, the other is confident but pretty impossible.

I did tonnes of research for 2 years into owning rats before I eventually got them but I’m not sure how to deal with this situation.

Every day, I sit by their cage and feed them Cheerios from my hand and we’ve gotten to the point where they’ll both come down to the door whenever I go and sit by it. I’m trying to bond with them and want to get them used to handling and I know the next step is to get them to sit on my lap and take treats. However, the more confident one is at the point where he feels fine coming onto my lap but, and this is the difficult part, he has no interest in food when he’s out so I can’t control him. He’s just interested in escaping.

Just now I was working with them and Bruno (the confident one) showed great interest in coming onto my lap. I was a bit suspicious as he wasn’t taking treats and was sniffing around but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him climb onto my lap. Next thing I know, he’s scaled the outside of the cage and is trying to make a run for it to the back of my wardrobe. Luckily I just managed to grab him in time and put him back in the cage.

I want to continue working with them till I’ve gotten to the point where they’re ok being picked up but I can’t do that if he’s constantly trying to escape. I’ve tried getting them out to train in a free-roaming situation to bond with them and get them some exercise but I can hardly catch them to get them out and put them back.

How do I get around this? How do I bond with them without them escaping?

Any tips appreciated :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
For out-of-cage time, you'll want a space that they're allowed to run around in. They're 100% not going to want to sit on your lap for any more than a second or two. They want to play and explore. Give them fun things to explore and climb on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
For out-of-cage time, you'll want a space that they're allowed to run around in. They're 100% not going to want to sit on your lap for any more than a second or two. They want to play and explore. Give them fun things to explore and climb on.
My difficulty with that is that they won’t let me pick them up to take them to an area where we can have time out of the cage. And the one time I did take them out I struggled to catch them again after a few hours play time. I want them to get used to my presence in the safety of the cage to the point where I can pick them up. Am I better just chasing them around to get them out? Or should I keep doing what I’m doing till they’re ok with being picked up?
 

·
Registered
Rex, Penny, Sugar, Latte
Joined
·
653 Posts
Rats are very squirmy and love to run around so it's not like they don't like you, if they're acting confident around you then that's a good sign. To get them to a free range area you can put them on your shoulder, and once you get their you can teach them 'come' instead of trying to catch them. To teach them 'come' you can either use their names or make some kind of sound, then literally every time you feed them or give them treats make that sound or say their name and lure them to you. Also, when they're running around the free-range room/area, whenever they come near you, you can do the same thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Rats are very squirmy and love to run around so it's not like they don't like you, if they're acting confident around you then that's a good sign. To get them to a free range area you can put them on your shoulder, and once you get their you can teach them 'come' instead of trying to catch them. To teach them 'come' you can either use their names or make some kind of sound, then literally every time you feed them or give them treats make that sound or say their name and lure them to you. Also, when they're running around the free-range room/area, whenever they come near you, you can do the same thing.
Thank you that’s really helpful. Once they get confident enough to go on my shoulder I’ll start giving them more freedom in the free range area. I just don’t wanna stress them out by grabbing them so that’s really helpful. Hopefully they learn come so I don’t have to cause them any stress by picking them up, and least until I get them used to it :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
I would suggest learning how to swiftly and confidently scoop them up. Chasing them around the cage or cornering them is stressful for them. The more you pick them up the quicker they'll learn that it's not so scary after all. For now, their play area shouldn't be so large that you have to chase them around when playtime is over. While they're playing, randomly pick them up and set them back down again to help get them used to your touch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I would suggest learning how to swiftly and confidently scoop them up. Chasing them around the cage or cornering them is stressful for them. The more you pick them up the quicker they'll learn that it's not so scary after all. For now, their play area shouldn't be so large that you have to chase them around when playtime is over. While they're playing, randomly pick them up and set them back down again to help get them used to your touch.
Thanks I’ll give that a go once I get them in the play area :)
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top