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Some of you have rats that ride around on your shoulders, and I'm jealous - I can't seem to get any of mine to stay on a shoulder longer than maybe 30 seconds :p

Clover, I think, may be too old to learn the new habit, Pan is just spastic and can't stay still unless she's sleeping, Lulu is skittish. Meeka is actually the only one who, if I put my hand inside the cage, will run straight up my arm to my shoulder, but she doesn't stay there very long (unless she's playing with my earring or hair). Is it a personality trait some rats have? Or is it something you can train them to do? How do you get them to stay there? Do they just sit and ride around with you?
 

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Hmm. As far as mine go, Marley will stay on my shoulder for a little while. If I'm walking around or he's excited about where we're going he'll try and walk down my chest--I have NO clue where he think's he's going to go lol I'll put my arm across my stomach and he'll stand there, like it's a platform, and he's more content there than on my shoulder. He seems to stay up there longer if I'm standing very straight, but generally he likes to walk down my arm or chest and be on my hand or arm when I'm walking him around.

If you pick one of your ratties up and put her on your shoulder, what do they do? Jump off? It's possibly that they're too young & energetic or too new to you to understand you're safe to stand on lol

Someone more experienced could give better advice :p I'm still really new to rats compared to most people here
 

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I think your rat has to want to be there. Some of mine automatically go to my shoulder when I pick them up, and have since they were little. Others only perch there for a moment before trying to climb down my arm or up to my head. Lol. Squeaky is the only rat that I can make "stay" on my shoulder. If I just plop him there and go about my business, he will stay until I put him down (or lean down for him to hop off).
 

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My guy loves hanging out on my shoulder/back of my neck. He'd actually prefer to be up on my shoulder than on my arms. His favorite game is to play ring around the neck. I never really did anything to train him to hang out up there, he just seems to like it better. And if I have on my hoodie he's one happy rat.
 

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I think its some part personality and some part training. If you don't make shoulder = fun, why would they go?
 

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Fuzzy Rat rode on shoulder looking backwards, this was her way of memorizing her way back to the car or house. Most other shoulder rats I've worked with prefer to ride on my arms when exploring new places but will go up on shoulder to look around when I stop someplace for a while. I also boost my rats up on shoulder or command them there when I need my hands for other things. You can't always carry your rat on your arm.

Indoors, most of my rats don't spend too much time on my shoulder, unless I'm going room to room, they are girls and way too busy to hang out with me if I'm being boring.

The term shoulder rat is mostly from other people's perspective because they don't usually see your rat when she's under your coat or snuggled into your arms... they see your rat when she's up on your shoulders looking around. Hence..."Look Harvey, it's a shoulder rat!"

I realize the term shoulder rat is slightly misleading, because the best true shoulder rats actually spend more time on the ground exploring outdoor places than less experienced shoulder rats, but terms like outdoor competent rat or travel rat are even more confusing. When strangers first see your true shoulder rat, it's most likely on your shoulder looking around so they get shoulder rat to mean indoor/outdoor travel competent. My best true shoulder rats would reliably walk at heel at the park or even in stores, but you can't actually call them dogs either...


Max sitting on a new friend's shoulder at the town fair and hamming it up for photos...

People Fun Friendship Smile Child

People see this and shoulder rat makes more sense. Indoors at home, Max was actually rather reclusive and would never hang out on anyone's shoulder other than to ride up and down the stairs.
 

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Unfortunately a shoulder rat is more personality and just happens than training. It does take immersion and everything obviously so u are properly bonded with ur rat but some rats are more inclined to want to hang out with u and go places than others. I only have 1 out of 3 who ended up having a special personality where he loves being with me and getting attentionand hes explorative so he wants to be on my shoulder when i leave my room and see where im going. If im just sitting there tho **** only stay up there for a minute and then go play. My other 2 are more independent and also a little skittish. They dont like to be pet so they dont wanna be on my shoulder and will jump off. And the one got so scared when i took him out to the living room he peed on me lol. His personality just isnt suited for it.

If ur rats are young they could still warm up to it. Sometimes it taakes a few months.
 

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Some rats love riding on shoulders, some tolerate it, some use it for their own means, and some just absolutely don't understand riding on shoulders. I've had a little of everything.

Silver enjoyed shoulder riding. Peaches insisted on it (she was very pushy lol). Pooka enjoys it, but sometimes he prefers to be held. Bartok, my cuddly laprat, first boggled when he was sitting on my shoulder while my sister was petting him. He loved going places, seeing things, and meeting people and riding on my shoulder was the best way to do that. He even sat on my shoulder while I greeted trick or treaters. Monkey semi enjoys shoulder riding. She prefers being in my shirt, though... Here, I'd read many people say their rats love being in their clothes and I said "I'll never let a rat in my shirt..." Then Monkey didn't give me a choice. XD

Cream only rode on my shoulder when she wanted to go somewhere. Simularly, Anya will force herself on my shoulder, not because she enjoys riding on my shoulder, but because she wants to go somewhere. I will be petting another rat and she will jump on my arm and climb to my shoulder. She actually prefers to be in my hands when I walk, though, watching where we are going and "leading" me.

Eevee has never understood shoulder riding. Ever. Poor baby would climb almost to my shoulder and stop... not knowing what to do next. So far, she's the only one who completely is clueless when it comes to shoulders. Everyone else has at least understood the concept, even if they didn't enjoy it. She just doesn't get it. It's so weird... I mean, I'm fine with that because I stinkin' love Eevee and she's amazing. I'm just befuddled as to why shoulders befuddle her. lol.

For one of my rats, he actually rode on my shoulder on the way out of the breeder's house when he was four weeks old. Being on shoulders just comes so naturally to some rats...
 

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Both of my rats really like tangling themselves in my hair, so they'll both just sit on my shoulders and entwine themselves in it. If I have my hair up one of them loses interest and the other one will curl up on the back of my neck and just hang while I do whatever. I think it's just a personality thing.

Have you ever carried them around in the hood of a hoodie? I did that at the start to bond with mine and still do it because they love it. They didn't start going up onto my shoulder for long periods until they were pretty used to hanging out with me and crawling all over.
 

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I've found that if I wear a men's button down shirt all the way buttoned, it's an easy way to "train" them to stay on my shoulder because they can't go inside the shirt. both of my girls do it when the mood strikes them.
 
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