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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I've had my two first rats for 5 or so days now and I'm not having much luck with the whole immersion process. They're about 5-6 weeks old I think. They don't always hide when I'm in the room now which is good, but still not ideal as I can tell they don't trust me. I've tried putting my hand in the cage and if they're feeling brave they will sniff me and then hide somewhere. They won't take treats off me either.

So I was reading through the immersion guide but my problem is that I can't get either one of them out of the cage to get started with it. I've tried taking their bed out and one of them was thinking about climbing my jumper but freaked out and ran back. When I cleaned their cage yesterday and I tried to take them out of their cage, Alfie ended up under my wardrobe.

I really am keen to try immersion but how do I go about it when I can't even get a hold of them to get them out of their cage?

If I'm doing anything wrong then please correct me as I want to make sure I'm doing this right, so all advice and criticism is appreciated!
 

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Sometimes if they really are adamant about staying in the cage you just have to deal with it and lung and grab them. You're not exactly trying to scare them but you need to get them out of there or trust training and immersion will never happen. I know a lot of users here have had luck with putting their rats in the hood of hoodies/jackets and calming their rats down that way. Maybe you could try that for a while with them and then try sitting with them? Do they ignore you during immersion or are they just skittish of you?
 

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I'm going to try getting them out the cage again today. Also, should I do the training individually or with them both together?
 

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I think I'm doing something wrong. I've tried all sorts and Alfie is just like nope. I'm letting them explore the bathroom but they're so skittish it's unreal. What do you suggest I do now?
 

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Just go hands on and get them out the cage. Have a really baggy hoodie on and immediately put them down your hoodie, do that for 10-20 minutes, letting them sniff around them go to your Immersion area and get them out. I would advice to do Immersion one on one if they are that terrified. It's easier to have one on one as well as you can put all your love and attention into that one baby :) Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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Go and sit in the corner with him. Stroke him, skritch him, talk to him. You have to make a point that "yes, I am here to stay and I love you so goddamn love me too". My Arthur started terrified like that in a corner. It's been a month now and he's still skittish but loves spending hours in my hoodie or on my shoulder. It takes time but just don't let them be. As I've seen rat daddy say, be that child in a pet store. Don't leave them alone but have the gentleness of an adult :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
They're both in the corner now. I'm stroking them and tickling their bellies and they just sit and let me do it. Not sure what to do next! They're still really skittish :( Thanks for the help so far guys, I'm so grateful :)
 

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Thats preening. Thats their "thinking time". Don't disturb them when they're doing this, they're thinking and maybe even changing their mind about you :) Have a read through Rat Daddy's Immersion thread, it's long but worth it. It really helped me :)
 

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They're both in the corner now. I'm stroking them and tickling their bellies and they just sit and let me do it. Not sure what to do next! They're still really skittish :( Thanks for the help so far guys, I'm so grateful :)
Scoop what you would say is the bravest one up and fuss them on your lap. Scratch their head and being their ears (skritching), talk to them. This helped with mine as when the bravest one was on me, it kind of spurred the scardy pants one to see what all the fuss was about. Don't worry if you don't get the results you want in one go, I get my lads out for 2-4 hours a day and they're still not that into me. It takes time but one day they'll change and it'll be like "why the **** wasn't it like this the whole time!" haha. Rats are all or nothing so just persevere :) They're beautiful by the way!
 

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God, his face looks like my Rupert! What a sweetheart. Just give him love, try and offer him food :) Let him know that you're not going anywhere ever, he's stuck with you! :) Even when the lads aren't out on free range, I go to them every hour and have a couple minutes chat and fuss with them! Just to let them know I'm around :) It also purely depends on your rats. My first 2 Rupe & Arth were from [email protected], they're going to take time! The two I adopted Friday from a girl who didn't have the time anymore have taken to me so well, licking me and just wanting to be around me. So it does depends on the rat, how much time you can spend with them daily and how you go about it :) I have faith though!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
They're both sat cleaning themselves now, it's adorable :) yeah my boys are from pets at home too. I figured it was going to take a while. When they make a little chattery chirping noise what does that mean?
 

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You know, mine do that and I don't even know what it is!! Mine tend to do it when they're happily running around popcorning so I take it as a good thing! I know it's not bruxxing because thats like the grinding of their teeth :) [email protected] is bloody awful for raising sociable animals, as is any pet store really! But hey, they all need a good home :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've called it a day for that session as I've been in the bathroom with them for a good few hours and I'm getting hungry now hehe. They let me pick them up a little better than before as getting them back in the cage wasn't as difficult as it was to get them out :p

I'll try that again tomorrow! They're very fond of their sputnik. Especially Alfie :)

I do appreciate all the help as I've never done this before and I couldn't have done it without your motivation and help :) it's nice to share with people who also love rats as not many people I know actually like them :( what's not to love about them??

Until next time, immersion episode 1 complete! Haha
 

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That seemed like a nice first session, it's always hard to start with a rat that doesn't even know what, much less who you are... And when you know nothing about who your new rat or rats are... Then you start making the most basic of contact and start to communicate and build trust at the most basic level and start working your way up... It looks like you made some very nice progress, keep up the good work.

I also liked the coaching. That was very nicely done guys! It's hard to face your first rat in immersion on level ground and one on one and face to face. There's a certain element of uncertainty that everyone goes through in their first immersion, kind of a "what am I doing?" or "what am I supposed to be doing?" or "this can't possibly be right!" moment. And this is where it's so great to have someone that's done immersion before there to provide comfort and guidance. And those who were coaching did a terrific job!

Immersion is the process of making a friend or perhaps somewhat akin to falling in love, it's organic more than scientific. It's not an easy thing to explain. But once you have done it, it just makes perfect sense and it's somehow easier to share your intuition and insights than it is to detail a procedure soup to nuts. And best of all, it's really fun to do an immersion along with someone else. I've coached lot's of immersions and they all bring back my own fond experiences getting to know our own rats and the genuine joy I felt making a new furry best friend. And for me, each immersion recalls the memory and the affection of the truly amazing Fuzzy Rat that taught me how it's done. The peculiar little rat that kept engaging me until I got it. She just kept engaging and trying different approaches until I suddenly realized she was communicating with me and she wanted to be my friend... And for me that changed everything, just like when a human immerses their rat it changes everything for them and their rats...

I suppose it started for me by being immersed, then doing immersions, then coaching them, each step is rewarding in itself and I'm glad to see other folks stepping up and sharing in the full circle of the experience. I think it's a little harder to coach an extreme immersion, but those are relatively uncommon and the reward is saving a rat from what can be a terrible fate so the rewards are multiplied even when it can become an emotional roller-coaster to get through it.

It's always gratifying to congratulate folks on their successes doing immersion, and I just thought I should add that I should mention that I'm also very proud of the folks that have done it and are taking their time and investing their effort to help other's by coaching.

On a personal note, when I first started coaching immersions, after every successful session, I'd go and give Fuzzy Rat a big hug and snuggle.. she was pretty old by then and also pretty debilitated, but she loved the affection. I suppose it was a way of sharing the experience with my co-founder and best furry friend. But it made me feel good too, so when you coach an immersion, don't forget to share the experience with your own rats. They did the immersion with you and deserve some of the credit for your experience too. When you share the love, don't forget to treat yourself and your rats too. Building a new relationship based on communication, trust and love is such a special experience, don't forget to share it around your own home too.

Great job all around!
 
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