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Here's the problem: I can't domesticate my girl. I've had her for more than a month and she's still afraid of me. Well, not that she's afraid but she really doesn't want to be held, she doesn't want to be with me. I don't understand her behaviour cause sometimes she seems comfortable (rarely) and sometimes she doesn't. When I open her cage and try to take her out, she usually runs to her "house" as fast as she can. When I knock on the bar of her cage, she doesn't come out, she just sticks her nose out and sniffs. She's never bitten me though, she lets me touch her nose when she's in her "house" and sometimes bites my fingernails. When she's in my hands, she just looks for a place to hide and when she finds it, it seems she could stay there stoned for hours. It seems I've tried everything: I give her treats (which she takes only if she's in her cage), I talk to her, I even sing to her :oops: No result. E.g. now she's on my lap under the desk and if I try to give her a stroke, she flinches. It takes about 5 mins for her to stop shaking. At first I thought this is normal but now, after more than a month, I'm desperate. Is there any chance she'll get used to me? And what should I do?
 

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Sounds like maybe you just need to be a bit more forceful. Hold the rat rather than letting it run about and hide from your hands. It needs to get used to the smell and the feel of your hands. Beyond your hand, it doesn't know what *you* are. You are 10 times larger than the largest thing the tiny rat brain can conceive of at one time. It doesn't integrate your entire body as being all one thing.... does that makes sense? It's a behavioral research thing - that's how I got involved with rats. Basically she's afraid of your hands because you aren't *holding* her when she's out.

Try this - hold the rat for at *least* 20 minutes at a time 2 to 3 times a day. The rat cannot remain scared for that long - heart rate and blood pressure won't allow it. The rat will get tired, and then it will relax. That last 5 minutes is where you make your progress. The rat is no longer putting all it's energy into flight. Once it's calm, and not squirming about, offer it a treat. If it doesn't take it carefully but her back in the cage with the treat. Soon she will get the idea.

If you do it right, it should take no more than a few weeks to make major progress. Another member here sugested taking the rat into the shower with you... I haven't tried that but it does sound interesting, and the steam from a hot bath is known to be a calming agent for small animals, and even children! I could see it working to your benefit.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much, I'll do exactly as you said. Yeah, I think she needs to be held more because when I take her and she starts to hide, I let her because I don't want to scare her. Now I see it's wrong. Thanks again.
 
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