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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I've been following this forum for rat advice and decided to go ahead and sign up, since it looks like a positive group of people and a good knowledge base here.

My fiance and I got three rats last weekend. They were approximately 5 weeks old. We're still having fear issues with these rats running away when they see us., etc., even though we've been holding them daily. I hope these fear issues resolve with time. This is my first time having rats. I hope it turns out to be a good experience.
 

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We had 2 baby girls start out very scared and turned out to be able to be held, one is still a little more skittish than the other but holding them and just letting them get used to your voice and being around them should help :3
 

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Thanks! It sounds like having them start out scared is a common experience. They let us hold them for short periods, but getting them out of the cage is still a challenge because they will bolt or climb the bars like monkeys. We are also trying to just hang around the cage a lot so they get used to seeing and hearing us.
 

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There are a couple methods for getting your new rats to be ok with you. Read up on immersion in the behavior section. That will help a lot. And because they are young you can raise them. You may also notice one being more brave and interacting with you more. Don't ignore him in favor of focusing on the more skiddish. Braver rats can teach the more skiddish ones that the human is a good thing. But giving each one time and trying immersion out and they'll come around. You'll see a lot it isn't a slow thing usually, most of the time it seems one day they hate you or are terrified and the next they want to be on you and kissin you. It's amazing and funny as all.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We have one who seems more brave and more likely to come up to our hands if we're being more still. However, when we reach into his cage he still tends to run. Thanks, we will spend extra time focusing on the braver one!

I read some of the materials on immersion on this forum and mentioned it to my fiance, but he did not feel comfortable with the idea. He expressed concerns that the rats might accidentally get squashed if, say, you were sitting in the bathtub with them and they ran behind you. He says he wants us to keep doing what we're doing. I'm not sure how likely I am to get him talked into immersion. I will keep reading up on it though, to learn more.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We've been rewarding our rats with snacks (fruit) after they've been held, and I hope that helps them develop some positive associations. When they're in the cage, it can be hard to get them to come to snacks when we're holding the treats, but they can sometimes come quickly snatch them.
 

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One of my boys just recently stopped being scared of being held and loved on. Any time someone walks by and he's awake, he'll hop right up on his perch and stare at you until you open the door and spoil him with kisses/scratches. Persistence is key! It sounds like you're making progress. :)
 

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It is just going to take a lot of time and patience but they will eventually get more accustomed to you and overall less afraid. It took about a month for our boys to really start craving our attention. Now I cannot get them to stop following me around the cage with sad puppy eyes! A good idea would be to constantly handle and take them out of the cage to bond. A rat proofed bathroom or a bed with a sheet on it make for good places to free range frightened newbies. The less they have to hide behind in the environment, the more likely they are to come check you out. Rats can only hold onto fear for a short period of time so if you start off doing short 30 minute sessions and show them that out time with you is a pleasant experience, they will learn fast that you are not to be feared. You can also try placing something old that you have worn for a couple of days in to their cage so that they may get accustomed to your scent. Make sure it isn't anything valuable though as it will most likely come back shredded! Another thing you could try is to dab a finger into some yoghurt or baby food and let them come and lick that off. You can also use a spoon for this. The idea is that they need to stay close to the source (your hand) in order to gain access to delicious rewards. You can then slowly move your hand or the spoon closer to your body, closing the fear gap at a pace you feel they are comfortable with. Good luck!
 

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I think you will be fine because it seems like you are being very patient. My 2 boys were both very relaxed when we first got them but i guess there is a difference. I bet they will warm up to you in no time :)
 

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Just spend lots of time with all of them. It will help them overcome their mistrust and learn you are safe. Eventually they will see you as a friend! It can take many concentrated hours though but then they can have a lightbulb moment
 
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