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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So far I've taught one of my rats to come , go to a place I point to, spin , and shake her paw. But I have no idea how to teach her to fetch . any ideas ?
 

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I've read that you should start by trying to get them to learn that picking up the ball means a treat, by first rewarding them for sniffing it, then touching it, then picking it up. After they learn to pick it up, make them pick it up then walk over to you. I've only read about this, though. Every time I try it, my rats just pick it up and run over to their stash. The next morning there's a few shreds that remain of the ball. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've read that you should start by trying to get them to learn that picking up the ball means a treat, by first rewarding them for sniffing it, then touching it, then picking it up. After they learn to pick it up, make them pick it up then walk over to you. I've only read about this, though. Every time I try it, my rats just pick it up and run over to their stash. The next morning there's a few shreds that remain of the ball. :)
Haha OK. What type of ball should I use ? Is rubber bad for them ?
 

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Im sorry i don't have an answer for you, my boys are in the very beginning of their training. But how do you get them to go where you point? It's amazing that they are smart enough to do that
 

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For getting them to go when you point you basically treat then for A following your finger or B walking over to your finger and touching it.
 

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Rats are natural pointers and they will intuitively follow where your finger points. If I point to the food bowl my rats will just naturally run to see what I left for them there. And I've taught my rats to point with their noses to tell me where they want me to take them or what they want. I usually just teach our rats their commands and they just seem to understand. Oddly, Cloud doesn't follow voice commands much, but prefers hand signals instead.

Mostly I train shoulder rats... those are rats that are competent and confident enough to go out and travel with us... I mostly teach 'come', 'up on hand' and 'shoulder rat', some rats will also get 'stay'. Fuzzy Rat got 'there's food in your cage' and several really odd sentences like 'go to your mom' or 'go to car' or even 'go home'. I think she just learned the meaning of several different words and put them together over thousands of hours of traveling and interacting with her.

Occasionally my daughter will train our rats tricks, like give kiss or spin or shake hands. Then she shows them off to me... I know she doesn't use food rewards or treats so I haven't a clue how she does it...

Not to suggest that dogs are smarter than rats, but dogs do tend to learn more human words and respond better to human commands. Rats, even when they understand you tend to view commands as suggestions. I tend to joke that rats learn about a dozen humans words or phrases, so be careful which ones you teach them. Fuzzy Rat learned a lot more than a dozen words, but I will add that her grasp of words was very specific. If she learned that my chair was 'chair' that's the only chair she would go to... You and I might see every chair as 'chair' but she didn't. Every thing had it's very own name and she didn't generalize. If my chair was 'chair' all of the other furniture in the world must have a different name of it's own... So if you teach your rat that one ball is 'ball' don't expect that he or she is going to see anything that rolls as a ball. You might see all balls as being grouped together as generally the same thing, but your rat is going to respond to each as a completely different thing... so try and work with the same ball or object when you are trying to teach fetch. Fuzzy Rat also learned that treat meant fortune cookie, so if she didn't smell fortune cookie and hear plastic crumpling she wouldn't come for 'treat'... On the other hand if I called her for 'apple pie' she didn't wait to hear plastic crunch, but she would sniff for the familiar smell before abandoning her hiding location.

Remember that rats are smart and metacognative, they aren't nearly as easy to fool as dogs are. They are thinking about what you are telling them and testing their reality and not just reacting to stimulus.

Best luck and have fun.
 

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Haha OK. What type of ball should I use ? Is rubber bad for them ?
You're supposed to use those little white balls with the holes in them, I forget what they're called. They're about the size of pingpong balls and you can buy them at the dollar store, five in a bag. Anything with little holes is easy for rats to grab :)
 

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I just would be careful about anything made in China or the third world... some of the plastics they use can be toxic. Try to find a product that's made in the USA or a country where the manufacturers could be held accountable for poisoning children or animals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just would be careful about anything made in China or the third world... some of the plastics they use can be toxic. Try to find a product that's made in the USA or a country where the manufacturers could be held accountable for poisoning children or animals.
Thanks :)
 

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I have no idea on the fetching but I wanted to say my rats suuuuuper love felted wool balls. They do shred them if you leave in cage, but that's fun too :) You can get them at fabric/yarn shops or they are very easy to make with wool yarn, pantyhose, and a load of laundry.

edit: they are very easy for rats to pick up
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have no idea on the fetching but I wanted to say my rats suuuuuper love felted wool balls. They do shred them if you leave in cage, but that's fun too :) You can get them at fabric/yarn shops or they are very easy to make with wool yarn, pantyhose, and a load of laundry.

edit: they are very easy for rats to pick up
I will try using those :)
 
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