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[align=center]When I try to teach my rats to come, I hold a treat like a Cheerio or yogurt drop then call their name. They don't really seem to care. They just explore the place they're in. But sometimes they come, sniff the treat, then walk away. I tried using fruit, and they grabbed it, nibbled on it, then dropped it. I don't think they're really learning what I'm trying to teach them. What should I do?

Also, I'm having trouble with litterbox training them. I put the litterbox on the bottom floor of the cage because that's the only place there's room for it. My rats usually hang out on the 4th floor of the cage. They just poo where they are at the time (on the 4th floor). I have CareFresh bedding on the floor of the cage and different bedding stuff in the litterbox, so it doesn't confuse them where it is. But usually they throw the CareFresh into the litterbox. :? What should I do?

When I let them explore my room, they just run right under my dresser and stay there for a while. It annoys me very much. Do they do that just to get my attention, or because it's dark under there, or so that they can stay out of the cage longer?[/align]
 

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i really want to train my rats too, but i think you just have to find something that they really enjoy. maybe you can try a clicker and a variety of treats? then they learn that click = treat but not always, so it keeps them interested?

i had mild success with litter training my rats for the first couple months and then they regressed horribly, but that's my fault for not being consistent with them. you have to pick up every poop as soon as you see it and put it in the litter box and the box should start somewhere that the ratties pee on their own normally. many rats pick multiple places to pee so 2-3 smaller litter boxes might be better than 1 big one. either way, mine got dumber and stopped using theirs so i gave up. :p

and i bet your ratties hide under the dresser cuz it's dark and cozy and comfortable under there. you have to get your rats to think that you are just as comfortable or you'll never get them out. picasso loves to be handled and play around so if i poke my head under my dresser, she'll come out to see me. mozart is afraid of sudden movements, sharp noises, and other people/commotions, so when she hides, you'll never get her out cuz me trying to reach her is a commotion in itself. aren't they wonderful?
 

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This is what I did to teach my girls to come:

I used yogurt drops because they’re a high-value treat, even when my girls were still adjusting to their new home they never turned down a yoggie. I also started with the girls in their cage because they felt safest there and weren’t so distracted.

Every time I was going to give them a yoggie I would shake/crinkle the bag and immediately hand them the treat. It only took them a few times of hearing the bag rustle/getting a the treat to make the association. I did this twice a day- morning/evening- so that only added up to two yoggies a day (they’re not exactly health food, so don’t overdo it.)

For the next step I started making them come to the door of the cage to get the treat instead of just handing it to them. You may have to lure them if they don’t seem to get it or if they are stubborn.

Once they had that down (as in they could do it without being lured) I started adding a ‘command,’ I use kissy noises (I think they respond to it better than spoken words as we tend to chatter at them a lot.) I paired the kissy noises with the sound of the bag, and then over time faded out the noise of the bag so they were coming to the ‘command’ alone.

Remember this was all done with the rats in the cage, so I had to repeat all the steps during their free-range time to get them to come when outside their cage. (Animals often don’t generalize well, when in a new environment they tend to revert to their untrained behavior/s.)

A few words on variable reinforcement- once they are completely trained it’s good to use variable reinforcement, start only rewarding them every other time they do something, working up to maybe only rewarding every 3-4 times. Keep them guessing, like Ono said it makes it interesting. Variable reinforcement is like playing slot machines, you continue doing a behavior because sooner or later you will be rewarded, you just don’t know when.

Hope that helps. :wink: Sorry I don’t have any advice about the litter box training, as my girls aren’t litter box trained.
 

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I've been lucky I guess or my little furry friends just love me.

Fluffy (our hairless) doesn't stray too far from us but that is most likely because she is a Mommy. She came home pregnant (we had no idea) Time will tell if she will keep to the trend of staying within sight.

Tipsy (our chocolate brown kissy girl) likes to wrestle. She will dart away but comes back very quickly on her own just so she can get a quick grab/wrestle & then dart off.

Nubbers (our tailless blue/grey big guy) is really blossoming. He was a pretty big guy when we got him & he had been in a 20 gallon tank his whole life with not much more than a hand hold from time to time. He loves to cuddle so he doesn't stray off too far. Most times I lay on the floor & he will crawl all over me & when he does hop to the floor he stays pretty close.

The five little ones are just now old enough to let out to run free. They tend to look for somewhere to hide under a blanket when out. I think it is just too big out of the cage for them because of their age (19 days today). We bring them out for very short periods of time, 2 to 3 times a day right now just so we can handle them & get them use to us.

The 3 adults are respond to "kissy noises" & finger snapping. I also scratch the floor or furniture & they come to the noise. I have not been using treats at all as a way to get them to come to me, they come because they want to come to me... LOL! I'm thinking about getting one of those clickers for training. I tried a bell. Tipsy liked it but it scared the heck out of Fluffy & Nubbers. I hung some softer sounding bells in the cage with hopes to desensitize her a bit. This way she can go over & investigate on her own terms & get use to the bell sound in her own way.

I haven't had much luck with potty training.... EVER. I've had rats off & on for over 20 years. Nothing ever seemed to work so I decided long ago to simply do daily cleaning.

I've had success with training other rats to do tricks. My most successful did some typical dog tricks like sit up, roll over & fetch. I plan to do this with my little ones I currently have since I will be able to start very young.

All it takes is consistency... work with them every day & do it as many times a day as possible.
 

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i never really TRY to train animals, for me it just happens......like i tought 3 hamsters to come when called, and if i was outside with the one (flashy girl) she'd follow me throught the grass....and id sit in the grass and she'd explore, but evey once in a while she'd run back to me to have a cuddle.... i was also teaching her to walk on a harness and leash.......before she got sick and died........yeah, i never TRY to train animals, it just happens
 

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I think it is important to train your rats to come to you. Right now if my girls ever got out I would end up spending hours trying to get them because they're well socialized, but they would want to explore. I started training Piggle to come to her name, but I don't think she was really catching on so maybe I'll try the kissy noises :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
[align=center]How does a clicker help train them? My rats don't like loud noises at all, so they'd probably just be scared of it....[/align]
 

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My boy will come running whenever he hears a container of yogies being shaken. I have been pairing it with his name, and when I call for him without the yogie shaking, he'll come almost to me, and then he'll change his mind and climb on a box and ignore me ^^;

I do make a kind of clicky noise with all of them (I've been using it with my cats ever since I was a toddler, according to my family) and they do respond to it, although I need to be more consistent to really train them to come to it. It's much softer and I think easier on their ears than a clicker would be.. But I would never buy something that makes a noise I can make myself! :D

I do think it's good to train them to respond to their names though. That way, if you want just one of them, you won't have a bunch of ratties running up to you because they've all been trained to come to the same sound ^_^
 

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Discussion Starter #10
[align=center]My rats have slept all day.
When I gave them their dinner, they just ignored it.
Usually they run and eat all the food.
And so I took them out, but they just wanted to go back in their cage. :( [/align]
 

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Whiskers said:
[align=center]My rats have slept all day.
When I gave them their dinner, they just ignored it.
Usually they run and eat all the food.
And so I took them out, but they just wanted to go back in their cage. :( [/align]
Are they sniffling at all or appear sick?

Wanting to go back into the cage doesn't worry me, all my rats have days like that (some more often than others), but no being excited by food does. :?
 

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Aww, well they’re probably still getting used to you and a new home. They’ll get used to the routine and gain confidence and want to try new things.

Sorry if this is a little off topic but has anybody here clicker trained their rats? I used a clicker when doing agility training with my dog. Since she no longer needs training aides it’s been gathering dust in a drawer…I was thinking about getting it out and trying it with the ratties.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Forensic said:
Whiskers said:
[align=center]My rats have slept all day.
When I gave them their dinner, they just ignored it.
Usually they run and eat all the food.
And so I took them out, but they just wanted to go back in their cage. :( [/align]
Are they sniffling at all or appear sick?

Wanting to go back into the cage doesn't worry me, all my rats have days like that (some more often than others), but no being excited by food does. :?
[align=center]They don't look sick. And in the morning I saw they had eaten their food, so maybe they were just not in the mood to get up or something.[/align]


Sonoma said:
Aww, well they’re probably still getting used to you and a new home. They’ll get used to the routine and gain confidence and want to try new things.

Sorry if this is a little off topic but has anybody here clicker trained their rats? I used a clicker when doing agility training with my dog. Since she no longer needs training aides it’s been gathering dust in a drawer…I was thinking about getting it out and trying it with the ratties.
[align=center]But I've had them for 2 1/2 weeks now. And when they're energetic they like to crawl on me and go on my shoulder, so I don't think they're scared of me.

Oh, and I've never used a clicker to train any animal.[/align]
 

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Andie took atleast 3 weeks before she would finally step foot outside her cage. She still won't eat outside her cage. Izzie however, eats wherever she is.
 

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Sonoma said:
<snip>Sorry if this is a little off topic but has anybody here clicker trained their rats? I used a clicker when doing agility training with my dog. Since she no longer needs training aides it’s been gathering dust in a drawer…I was thinking about getting it out and trying it with the ratties.
I was the one that mentioned the clicker.

I've never tried it but it was a thought. They respond to my snapping my fingers but so often my hands are wet when working with them... especially bath time.

As for the loud noise & it scaring them... it possible but you can also get them to become accustomed to noise. Fluffy was terrified the first time she heard a bell but now that I have placed one in her cage & let her investigate it on her own she only hesitates a bit when I jingle it. This is good because if I need to get her to stop doing something immediately all I have to do is ring a bell.

Rats are intelligent creatures & I have found that they do learn by association. I always make kissy noises with them when doing pleasurable things such as playing with them, giving treats or just making my presence known. By doing such they tend to stop what they are doing & look to my direction to see what pleasurable activity is about to take place. I also rattle the container I store their food in when I feed them. I haven't had any escapes or hide-n-seek moments but hopefully this sound will be enough to draw them out.

Years ago with my first rats I made little harnesses for them to wear when they were out for free roaming playtime. I put bells on them so that I could keep track of them. I'm actually thinking of making some again. I already made leashes that have a harness on the end but the lead does not detach from the harness portion.
 
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