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Hi there,

I'm new to having rats (had other types of rodents before, but a long time ago!). I got these from a pet store which I don't think handles them much, they're 10 weeks old now. I am not sure if I am doing the right thing with socialising them but I'm trying to be patient. I wanted to do gradual onset trust training which has worked to a certain point - they will step onto my hand for food if they are hungry when my hand is placed inside the cage. They will come up to the door but are wary of stepping onto my hand if I place it outside the cage. At the minute they freak out if I lift my hand or pick them up. They aren't comfortable being held and will hide up my shirt or in my hair, I've done it a few times but I think I need to step back so as not to make them too frightened of me.

Just wonder, how long does it take rats to get used to being held? I've had mine 2 weeks. I know it varies between individuals but I was wondering what other people's experiences are. Any further tips?
 

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I suppose as the author and human co-founder of immersion, I'd recommend "the guide" at the top of this section... I realize it's evolved into more of a chap book, but it pretty much begins with the basic philosophy and how to build a bond with your rats through communication. After that the tread rambles through various questions details and debates. It makes for an interesting read, but you don't need to read all 40 pages to get the idea or know what to do.

Do keep in mind rats are unlike many other rodents. They are social animals and will actually build a family or pack bond with you. In that way they are much more like dogs than other rodents you may have owned. Rats are also considered by many to be metacognative which actually makes their brains a whole lot like ours.

This is a picture of the late Fuzzy Rat at the beach meeting people and pretty much swimming and exploring on her own. If she were a dog, I suppose it wouldn't look so unusual... but she was actually a very amazing rat and the rat co-founder of immersion.

Water Fun Beach Play Summer

Don't try this with your rats. Fuzzy Rat was highly trained and naturally brilliant. She was for all intents and purposes a tiny dog... only smarter than many. But I like to show pics of her doing her thing to folks who have had other rodents to make sure they understand they've stepped up to a higher level of intelligent animal. Your rats may never walk at heel without a leash at the park or go swimming with your children, but they are in fact incredibly intelligent animals capable of having a real relationship with you and your human family... Our rats live free range around the house much like my dogs used to coming out for food and attention.

Sometimes when people have owned other rodents they may overlook the potential their new rats have to be extraordinary. Keep in mind rats will only rise to the challenge and become competent if you allow and encourage them. Immersion a great start to a beautiful relationship. It is based in large part on the life and lessons of a truly amazing rat, but it works with just about any rat.

Congrats on your new rats and best luck.


Best luck
 
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