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I really want to train my girls to come when called (I've had my last pair trained and it was wonderful when free ranging to just call them and have them come to me when I've lost sight of them). My last boys however would come for ANY food at all. My girls, however, are very picky when it comes to treats, especially when free ranging. I've tried nuts, cereal, bread, banana chips, corn chips, plain yogurt drops, etc. All things they love in their cage but find not nearly interesting enough to eat when adventuring is at hand. Has anyone had this issue? Has any long term rat owners found a magical treat that is irresistible to all rats? Or even a way of training rats where treats aren't as necessary (though that sounds like crazy talk haha).

and here's my girls because pictures are fun :)

Rat Sky Muridae Hamster Cage
 

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i think it is just some rats personality. My very first rats would never eat food outside of their cage. It could have been the most delicious best treat in the world and they would not touch it. And one of them was a huge pig who went nuts for any type of food inside her cage. Luckily my rat willow would just naturally come when called & Sookie never wandered off much.

My current rats can just hear me open a bag or a container and come running lol. They don't even care what it is.

My only guess would be maybe try something a bit special like chicken? Or something very smelly like a dog treat. My rats favorite treat is baby gerber puffs.
 

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Hmm, yeah. One of my guys doesn't really want to eat anything outside his cage, he'll eat only sometimes and usually if it's puffed rice cereal or a piece of multigrain chip...
The baby puffs seem like a good thing to try, I haven't but I assume they're very tasty to ratties.
My guys like dog biscuits, the kind I have right now are blueberry pumpkin flavor and are flower shaped, fairly easy to break apart the separate petals so they only get a bite, they love those.
A meat snack might work too... I think the salmon jerky they make for dogs might be good if you can cut it into tiny bits, that's probably very smelly and delicious.
 

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Kale. For my girls that is the magic treat. Plus it's good for them they will also do tricks in exchange for, chicken scraps, frozen peas, banana, oatmeal, rice puff cereal (unsweetened dry), or grapes. Neither is interested enough in apple, romaine lettuce, or their oxbow kibbles to get those for training. Good luck with training your little ones! Also I find that giving my girls about 10mins to explore the free range space before trying to do any training helps them focus on me. This is just a cute story but whenever I am working on come with one of my girls she will come on my knee and take the treat, but when I shoo her off she will popcorn away and come back :) so cute!
 

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Wild type rats only react to treats they know and trust which is also true of some domestic rats. With our part wild rat, if she hadn't tested it and found it safe, she wouldn't eat it... Once she tasted something and liked it, the next day she would eat it and I suppose it could have been used as a treat.

But in general for my normal domestic girls, the worse the treat is for them the more they like it... snickers bars, fortune cookies, or any candy is good... cheese cake and french apple pie being favorites... Sometimes peanuts will work too... Now I can't say how good these treats are to get your rat to come to you, because if I have any of them, I generally can't get my rats to detach from the goodies or me until the treats are all gone... The issue isn't come to me, it's more like get off me.

As I work with rats outdoors, I usually don't train with treats, I reward my girls with affection... Even if I don't have a treat handy, I still need my girls to come when called.

So as everybody else is likely to tell you, the kind of treats I'm suggesting are awful for your rats, but they work, which was your question... I don't use them often so it's not quite as bad as it sounds.
 

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I am with all other responders. My girls rarely eat outside their cage. One day I even had Roxy with me when I was filling their food bin from the bag. Some food landed on the table, and Roxy would not take it. They won't even take the gerber puffs outside the cage. And that is their favorite.
 

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One my girls, Rose, goes nuts when I show her a yogurt treat. It's impossible for me to get her to follow one cause she'll grab it and steal it. Edna doesn't really prefer anything. She likes yogurt drops but never eats the whole thing.
 
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