Rat Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, my name is Alex and I'm a 19 year old college student who got a pair of rats two weeks ago. They are both black hooded rats (their hood is black, body white). Their names are Shale and Mica - I'm studying Geology in school :) They are brothers and have lived together since birth. They are about 4 months old. I owned a guinea pig when I was a kid, but I've been drawn to rats for years for their increased intelligence, sociability, and curiosity. I absolutely love them so far!

Unfortunately, there were no rats up for adoption in my area (I checked the Michigan Humane Society and multiple other sites for small animals/rats - The only rats I found were in rural areas far away from where I live). I even checked multiple rat breeder websites but the only rats being sold by breeders in Michigan on these sites were again quite far from where I live. I had to purchase them from a local petco. They are very sweet and don't bite me, and I've made some successes in socializing them. However, they weren't handled well. If anything, I think they were only handled when their cage was cleaned. It looked like the workers simply grabbed them from above (which I know is the worst way to pick them up!)

I've been lurking on these forums for advice in multiple areas and wanted to ask some advice on how to best proceed hand taming them. Over the past few days I've made great success with Shale by picking him up for a minute or two, letting him down, then giving him a cheerio. He lets me pick him up without much struggle now. He was the most tame of the litter at Petco (as in, he would not run in fear the second my finger got near him). However, Mica will squeak loudly whenever I try to pick him out and breathe really heavily. He'll defectate/pee on me quite profusely. If I let him down he won't let me hand a cheerio right away and I fear he isn't getting the point of the training.

I've read about "forced socialization training" where you hold the rat for 20 minutes. Supposedly this is the longest amount of time a rat can sustain its fear. I had a bit of success with this with Shale, but he's been doing much much better with short intervals followed by a treat. However, Mica will just poop/pee so much over 20 minutes and frankly it's uncomfortable LOL.

Now, I'm getting confused because Mica has been responsive to letting me pet him, then give him a treat. However, Shale, who doesn't really mind being picked up, doesn't let me pet him. Shale is more curious and doesn't necessarily get scared of my fingers but he'll keep trying to climb on top of them, sniff them, etc...Even if I keep still for him to observe, he'll still repeat this behavior once I try to pet him (slowly) again.

Other than that, my rats respond to my voice and come up to the front of the cage to greet me in the morning and when I come home from work at night. They'll climb on top of my hands to get treats. So far I've fed them cheerios, grapes, carrots, sugar snap peas, and a bit of yogurt and apple sauce on a spoon.

Anyways, sorry for the long post. Thank you so much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Welcome to the Forum! I myself have 2 rats, they are female though. I am at the same stage as you, hand taming my rats. My rats let me pick them up and in fact don't even look for a treat any more, but they are still a bit timid and curious. I need to set up a rat proof "playground" so they can get out of the cage and socialise with me more so I can start training them tricks or maybe shoulder training. It sounds like you're will on the road to trust training your rats, but now start making it a bit more complex to get a treat. Like maybe holding your hand at a little height, flat and open, Then with your other hand, dangle are treat under your ratties nose and lead them up to climb onto your flat hand to get a treat! It takes a while for your ratties to get used to what they're meant to do, but they get the hang of it. Also use words to accompany every action done like "Up"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
Check out the Immersion sticky in the behavior section, its worth a read! Basically the point is to hang out with the rats in a safe space for as long as possible- hours, not just minutes! Engage with them, play with them, pet them, let them explore you and let them learn that you are not a big scary monster with claws.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top