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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My female rose is always causing issues for me and especially lately because she's just reached adulthood and is always going into heat and lives with boys. It's driving her crazy and she's super hormonal and turns pretty crazy and aggressive when she's in heat. I am going to get her spayed because I think that will solve a whole boat load of the issues I have with her and we can finally live in peace around here and also I know it is good for her health in the long run.

But anyways in the meantime she has started this new behavior of chewing on my mattress...she has been chewing holes in my box spring which is not okay and now today I caught her trying to chew two different holes in my actual mattress. She does nesting behaviors in my floor and under a blanket that's on the floor so I'm guessing this is a nesting behavior too right? Also how on earth do I get her to stop!? My boys are such good listeners. Any problem i've ever had with them took some correction but not after too long they caught on and knew this isn't ok and didn't do it anymore. It seems like she blatantly doesn't care or want to listen to me so my correction just doesn't stop her. She just goes right back to it until I put her in time out. I now have 3 holes in my box spring and one in my mattress and idk if she will ever catch on that the behavior is not ok...I stop her when she does it cuz i can hear her doing it and I grab her and bop her on the nose and tell her no! no chewing the mattress adn then she goes right back to it until I put her in timeout for 10 minutes. Then I will give her a second chance and let her back out again a lot of times later she will end up doing the same thing and i will have to put her in her cage for the night and not let her out anymore. Why does she have so much trouble listening to me in comparison to my boys? Is it possible this will get better too when she is fixed and her aggression and hormones are calmed down? Cuz she is quite a sassy girl now. I don't see her sweet side very often. My boys weren't angels before they were fixed either. They were pretty sassy too.
 

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I think, I've told most of the more humerus Fuzzy Rat stories and those about her amazing achievements, but I don't often go into what a terror she was indoors... slashing wires and trying to tunnel through carpet or chew through closed doors.

You see when she was young she could actually cruise along at human jogging speed for nearly a mile without stopping, so walking at heel sometimes turned into a jog for us. And we could be outdoors most of the day... She would chase the kids, climb a tree, swim in the lake and just keep going hour after hour like an energizer bunny or rather energizer rat. On a Fourth of July weekend she attended a young people's drinking party, did tequila and beer and was the last creature moving.... sipping beer off the floor and licking the bottoms of empty shot glasses. The next morning she had a pretty nasty hangover, but the beach photos of her were taken the next afternoon... she barely slept for more than a few hours at a time. When winter hit, trapped inside the house, you can bet she was bored and trouble and property damage followed where ever she went. And years after she's been gone we are still finding secret nests she built in or behind furniture...

Most of our girls have been complete slugs compared to her, they're generally pretty lazy creatures that come out and play for an hour or so when the spirit moves them. They build one nest and pretty much nap much of the time, and when girls get old they all slow down.... even Fuzzy Rat slowed down a lot when she was over a year old.

Although Fuzzy Rat also had a fetish for wild boy rats I can't really say her behavior was sexually motivated, but rather gender driven. She was a girl rat with lots of energy. By giving her a creative outlet to explore and run over vast outdoor spaces, kids to chase, trees to climb and a lake to swim in, she could burn off all of that energy. Some nights around midnight she would get agitated and run around the house... I would take her down to the soccer field and let her run for about half an hour before bedtime so she could tire herself out. And yes, I recall even the rain didn't dissuade her from her midnight romps... The soccer field had video cameras, so I have to suppose there was someone somewhere watching and laughing at the crazy man being chased around the soccer field in the rain at midnight for about half an hour by a rat. After burning off her crazy energy, I'd put her on the fence rails and let her balance on top of the chain link fences all of the way home or let her run up the street, then she'd snuggle into my arms and fall asleep... Once all of her crazy energy was spent, she loved to snuggle, but she could never stop her feet from moving until she was literally exhausted.

Some time back, someone else had a bored problem rat, I suggested that they should try and find their rat something better to do than cause trouble. For lack of any better ideas, I suspect, they started to go out to an outdoor safe site and it turned out that that rat became a pretty notable true shoulder rat too. Once that rat was engaged in more adventurous activities it stopped destroying the house.

So, I'm not sure a spay would fix your problems, I'm thinking you've got a high energy bored female rat. Now I had a bored 5 year old only child to go with my high energy rat and a sense of humor about running a rat in the midnight rain so it worked out rather smashingly most of the time. But I also solder very well and am pretty good at fixing the hundreds of dollars of damage she did around the house when she was bored... She was the most amazing rat I've ever known and the most destructive...

If I had to give you some advise, I'd say try and find your girl more challenges and activities, you might have a very special rat on your hands.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I definitely can't take her outside as she would love to run away from me and probably never come back. She is not nearly bonded to me enough to be a shoulder rat but I agree that she is definitely hyper as can be and bored and i don't have much to offer her in my bedroom. My boy shoulder rat could go outside with me and he would love it and would definitely come back to me but she hates being touched in general and runs and runs from me just to catch her at the end of playtime and doesn't listen for anything so there's no way I could entertain her in a safe site unless it were on a leash potentially that I knew she for sure couldn't get out of...I do have a harness but it turned out to be too small for my boys but she is smaller than them so it might actually fit her.
 

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I generally don't trust harnesses... although a safe site is safe by definition and the work you put into finding it... But no, I don't suppose my point was that you should take your rat outside, it was just the way we addressed a similar situation. Your solution may need to be just as creative, only different, to suit your rat.
 

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Nimbus had that problem with cabinets. He would keep chewing cabinets...noisily...for attention. He did it so we knew about it. I knew he knew the word no. He listened most of the time, except with these cabinets. During his cabinet sessions I would say "no" and look right at me...wait...then chew. If I went over there to push him away or give him a light bop of the head he would jump on my hand and try to get me to take him to the counter tops (which were dangerous with knives and a gas stove that always had a hot spot). If i pulled him away he went right back. Rat Daddy up there suggested some out of the house activities. We took him to my BF's parents house in a rat proofed room. Once over to my friends house. It really really really helped. Nimbus also liked meeting new people, bringing guest over helped him, sorry us. It helped us. Eventually we took him outside, found a dog free park (Nimbus wanted to meet all the dogs for reasons). It's frighting at first, he disappeared in a hole once but he came back. I think most rats want to go home at some point. He stopped chewing the cabinets and stopped picking on his cage mate.

Winter was bad. He went back to destroying things but he did start slowing down. We used a harness for a short time after winter ended last year, to re-train him in the out doors. It clipped on and off and was more useful to me because it had a bell but I didn't rely on that thing. I've seen some videos of people setting up puzzles for their rats, different ways to get food which would stimulate their foraging and problem solving instincts if there isn't a safe rat place for you. Loki didn't even like windows or new people till he was older but he liked figuring out different ways to get food,boxes filled with shredded paper and treats, fishing for pees, knocking down tp rolls, hiding treats in bookshelves and letting him find them. ect. He was also the architect, loved building nests. Paper balls and cardboard boxes were his treasures. Maybe your female is an architect? Try giving her building materials like paper, small boxes and such. That might be enough to stimulate the brain.

Loki was fat and lazy, and built his world around him to be more lazy. It did something to his rat brain when i would hand him paper towels or tp rolls. He used to like the spare cage (which we used as a medical or spare for cage cleaning day) because he manipulated the environment so he didn't have to get out of the spare rat fort to get a drink of water. He pulled a plush tiki house to him to use as a lazy boy. This is how he spent his free range.
Rat Whiskers Muridae Rodent Mouse
 

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I actually remember Nimbus very well, because there really are so few times I've recommend shoulder rat training. It's dangerous and most rats can't make the cut, but there are a few that are simply born to be adventurers and explorers. They get bored and go nuts indoors and they can become terribly destructive. Locking them in a cage just makes them worse.

I don't think there are any good statistics, but I'd say rats like Fuzzy Rat or Nimbus are one out of a hundred, or perhaps one out of a thousand. They are just so special, like a genius child. At any time, in the whole world there are most likely less than a few hundred true shoulder rats traveling around with their humans. But like genius children, without special opportunities they get bored fast and they cause trouble... they fight, they destroy stuff and they are generally miserable. Once they are properly engaged, they become amazing and remarkable animals.

I suppose a special rat can be kept engaged indoors too and shoulder rat training isn't the only option, but working with a true shoulder rat is really an amazing experience for both the rat and the handler. Sometimes it's scary as heck, but most of the time, with the right rat it's a blast.

I'm glad Nimbus got the opportunity to live a special life, when I read your post, I recognized the symptoms of a bored special rat, and I think I recognize the same thing with Rose.

I wrote a detailed thread on outdoor activities and shoulder rat training... it's only for those people who feel they have a special rat and I describe a safer way to do outdoor training. If you don't feel comfortable trying it, please don't. I don't encourage anyone to put their rats at risk, but for the right rat, it might be the right thing...

I might add that not all bored looking become true shoulder rats, some just want to run away and go off on their own... these are also very rare rats... (the opposite of true shoulder rats) At the safe site they will usually be very clingy, but when they do start exploring on their own.... they just keep adding distance between you and them until they make a break for it... These rats are bright and active but just can't properly bond to you, they don't come back when recalled... When you see things going wrong at the safe site with this kind of rat, don't take it any further... it's going to run away the first chance it gets. I suppose it's natural for certain rats to leave their families and join other packs or start their own colonies, these rats actually act more like trapped animals in your house and to be honest might be happier on their own. Still, it's terribly sad to lose a rat, even if it doesn't want to be with you. Again this is a very rare rat... but if you know they exist and you see the signs if it detaching from you, and you want to keep it, you will have to keep it safely inside, even if it seems to be getting confident outdoors. Once it's confident enough, it's gone.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I think i would have to work with her more indoors first because she's not at a very high trust level of me right now. Idk what it was about her but I don't feel she ever properly bonded to me like my boys did, even though I try very hard with her. I am seeing some slow progress now but it's very slow i've had her 6 months old. I think that's part of the reason she doesn't listen to me or anything. She's very defiant and sassy but I also don't sense a lot of trust or love from her for me either. That's why I would wonder whether she's one of those who would rather run away from me and not come back or whether she really does love me and if she had the choice she would stay with me. I think it would be great though if there was a thread here that had different ideas on how to stimulate their minds indoors. Like the few mball77 lists about nimbus. It would be cool to have a thread with different ideas of things to play with your rat to keep them entertained cuz I can never think of anything to do for them that's creative or that will stimulate their mind. 2 of mine are very adventurous and would probably love something like that. I could probably take daisy outside cuz he's my shoulder rat and I know he'd come back but I'd have to wait til summer to do that with him and find a safe place. But he would love some indoor stimulation right now.
 

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http://www.dapper.com.au/toys.htm

I started there for some indoor activity ideas. Its got some dig boxes you might find interesting New_ratties_mommy.

It was supper helpful for indoor Loki. I agree, if you don't completely trust your rat there don't tempt fate outdoors. Loki was happy inside, he got braver when he was older and would venture into the hallway, once we even left the front door to the outside open for him. He sniffed the air and said "no thank you" and calmly went back to our apt. Also when I trusted both my boys they spent all of our waking home hours outside the cage. We set up rat forts (multi-lvl cardboard boxes) and hid treats, and changed up the rat forts so they had new places to explore. We cut them off from the living room, but we set up a plastic dodads in a few places they could walk on to get out attention. There was a place they would climb up but had a hard time getting down, so they crunched the dodad we set up and we would get them.

I only took the risk with Nimbus because I knew he loved us, and more importantly, trusted us, and most importantly, knew how to communicate with us. Its why I knew he would come back, and how he knew we would wait for him and not just leave him alone forever in some park. Again, I read deeply into Rat Daddy's posts and really weighed out the risk/ reward. Nimbus was half shoulder rat, he had limitations due to eye sight and total lack of fear from predators. He may have been ore attached to us because of his limitations and realized his survival relied on it. I'm glad I took the risk, it made Nimbus a happier rat and I get to keep the deposit on my apt.
 

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I try to only post from my own personal experiences. But clearly, I've been blessed with at least one truly remarkable rat to work with and learn from, and most likely no one should try to do some of the things we were able to do with Fuzzy Rat with their own rats. I've trained two true shoulder rats since Fuzzy Rat, and while they are highly trained and competent, I'd freak out when they just took off into the woods on their own, like Fuzzy Rat did. They are always supervised, even though I'm sure they wouldn't run away and will come back... They simply don't have her survival skills.

Fuzzy Rat was a freaky brilliant rat, so for most rat owner they should take her life story as more of a metaphor. She's a way of better understanding your own rat an his or her needs, not a template for your own rat training program. Most rats should be kept indoors, and many don't even enjoy going outdoors... You can take the lesson about rats getting bored and find something exciting for your rats to do without getting your own rats killed.

Most fancy rats don't hang out in treetops....
Tree Jungle Plant Branch Wildlife

Or walk at heel...
Sand Beach Vacation Fun Shore

Or hike back to the car on their own (she's the tiny white dot next to the black trash can)
Land lot Road Property Residential area Asphalt

And as crazy as this looks... you can bet Fuzzy Rat wasn't bored... This is who and what she was meant to be. But you don't have to do this with your rat to keep her entertained and engaged... unless she's like Fuzzy Rat...

Max was a highly competent true shoulder rat too, but when she got older, her favorite pass-time was napping in her cabinet and fluffing up her secret nest. When we took her into the backyard, she would walk around the house on her own and sit on the top step and wait for someone to open the door and let her in... so much for adventure. She had great skills, but very little interest in the outdoors. On the other hand she never got bored and damaged the house.

Take a look at Fuzzy Rat contently preening in a tree top swaying in the breeze of strolling along on the beach or hiking on her own across the park... and you should have seen her entertaining a crowd of kids or chasing us around the soccer field.... seriously is there anything I could do indoors that would even come close to this level of engagement for her? But odds are your rat isn't like her, so don't go and do something stupid.

So I suppose it's a matter of finding the right activity for the right rat. Just because something worked for me, doesn't mean it's right for anyone else... And I might even add that around midnight Fuzzy Rat would sometimes get all crazy and I'd have to take her outside to run on top of chain link fences until she tired out... even in the rain... which wasn't all that much fun for me. She really wasn't always an easy rat to live with.

The point is bored rat do damage... so you have to challenge them appropriately to their needs. Your rats are likely to be a lot less extreme as ours was, and your solution might be less extreme too.

But after a long day of adventure.... this was our reward....

Mammal Mouse Hamster Whiskers Gerbil

Happy nappy Fuzzy Rat.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks mball77 for the link! I'll definitely check that out. And thanks ratdaddy for the advice. I'm trying to find new ways to entertain her and keep her busy during playtime. My boy could use it too cuz even though he knows better than to be destructive for his naughtiness he still does other naughty things out of boredom. For now though she will be resting for a while, cuz she got spayed today. I am hoping it will somewhat calm her hormonal craziness as well, because she has quite high hormone activity for sure lol.
 
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