name training is a good way to start. i also dont let mine free roam too much either. (also may be try shaking their food, one of my rats always comes running when she hears bags(she thinks its food time).
All my rats are 80% shoulder-riders, so even if they're wandering they'll come back up eventually. And then they all know the cue to walk back down my arm into the cage. If I have to go get them for some reason, well... Catch me if you can comes to mind... :lol:
Here's some suggestions that I do:
Block all the places they can hide with towels, like under a dresser.
Or if you have one rat that doesn't mind going back to the cage, use that rat to find the others...if you can. My Minttu does that for me if somehow someone did get under the dresser.
loco usually puts herself back into her cage, but i have to hunt the other four down. i try to get them in "cages"... ginger & loco, then soot, ash & meggsy... makes it easier that way... and i know i havent missed anyone.
I tell my girls its time to go "home", and they climb up the cage or come to me to go in the cage. I just started saying when putting them in the cage "time to go home" or "home time". They learned what the saying means and now they are ready to go home when I say its time.
I also started my girls out on "forced socializing" when i first got them. They know I'm safe and run to me when theyre scared or need something.
Lets see, two of my rats go back into the cage when they get tired or bored. Stewie likes to dart back into the cage when I chase him so that makes it easy to catch him, plus he regularly steals things into the cage, so he's usually in there hiding it from me. Jinxy likes to go back into the cage to nap. But my third one Buddy is a frickin ******* when it comes to going back in the cage. I usually wait until he hops onto the windowsill to nap to catch him. They're all usually easy to catch when I leave my bedroom and walk in closet closed, cept for Stewie his fur is so slippery... (that and hes a lil one so I'm paranoid of crushing him)
My little rat Raz-Ma-Taz has learned his name and I've had him for about 3 weeks. The first week was basically him getting used to me and his new home. The second week he started exploring when I let him out to play. Now I let him out and he starts going here and there. If I need him to go back to his cage or I just want him to come to me I call "Raz" along with kissy noises ans he comes scampering out from wherever he is. it is really adorable.
I would say his name everytime he just felt like crawling on me and I said Raz come everytime he would come to his cage door for treats. Now he gets really excited to come to me. he is too cute!
picasso follows me wherever i go, so i usually just have to start moving around and she'll come out to see me. mozart got like 7 hours of free range time today when she escaped while i was feeding them this morning before work. i didn't have the time to catch her (she's still skittish and won't come when called) so i closed the bedroom door and let her roam. my mom eventually found her in a drawer of my dresser stand. they like to climb into drawers from the back and they'll sit in a drawer 3 feet up and eat paper and hamsteroids. freakin a-hole, i swear, i wish i could get her more tame. she's more a rodent than a little people, like picasso, lol.
I have a little travel cage/litterbox on my desk that she climbs in and out of all the time (I only let her wander about my desk). So if she doesn't happen to run to my arm when I put it on the desk I know it won't take long before she finds a hidden treat and returns it to her travel home to eat it.
I call my Horde of 13 (adults) and wait by their cage, they all come to see Mom eventually with a couple of holdouts and I go looking for them.
My Bronlings & Co cage (9 younger females and 2 neutered males) are easy. I have them running in the livingroom, and I open the bedroom door and start scooping them up as they run for the new "playspace". LOLOLOL
Of my older group of 3, I wait for the tricky rat to catch is around, pick her up and then call the other 2.
And my singles are easy.
I used to shake the yogie bag, and would be swarmed, so its a good training aid. I also can open their container of Suebee's and get swarmed these days if I am having trouble...hehehe.