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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I figured I'd share with you all my intros. I started one of these threads about 2 months ago but was never able to introduce due to medical issues in the boys. But now everyone is better so here we are! However, Duke, my dominent one just had a cyst removed and taken care of two days ago so he was not involved in the intro today. When should I add Duke? He has external sutures right now that will be removed in 2 weeks, and is on Metacam and Baytril. They for sure won't be sharing a cage for at least another week.

I started in the tub with my intact 28 month old male, and my approximately 10 month old neutered male. It had a little water in it and it went very well. They just brushed past each other and that was the extent of it.

I moved forward and put them on the bed together. They ran around for a bit, then Renegade began to groom Hartley. It was weird because my older boy Hartley just kind of closed his eyes and laid down while Reny groomed the back of his neck, his ears and his head. I just expected it to be the other way around because Hartley is intact and Reny isn't. There was no overbearing dominence, no fights, just grooming from Reny, nothing from Hartley...though he came over and groomed me a bit lol. But it went very well, and I will be doing it again tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Day Two

I did another little session today with just Hartley and Renegade. This time when Reny tried to dominate Hartley fought back and there was just one single tussle with powergrooming. Reny came and curled up in my lap for a little, he was a bit shakey but no physical damage done. No fights afterwards, and little contact. The pictures were about ten minutes after the scuffle, and by 30 minutes they both were grooming themselves on opposite sides of the bed.

I think Reny is beginning to submit because when Hartley comes over he pushes the side of his body against the bed as if preparing to flop over and show his belly. He does try and hide a lot though. After about 40 minutes Hartley was just doing some drive by grooms and walking on top of Reny. Don't know if these are good signs but no blood!
 

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Hopefully it works out alright!
 

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I learnt with experience that shorter intros often work better, something like 5-10 mins- at least for the first few intros- not sure how many sessions you have done so far. You can can more than 1 session a day though. It looks like you are doing good progress here, congrats. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay thanks. I'll start doing short ones probably 2-3 times a day. =) I was worried the long ones may stress them out but hadn't read about a time limit anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Day Three

I only did about 6 minutes today. Big tussle on my lap. Again, no blood, they were just figuring things out. But Reny jumped onto my shoulder and I could feel his little body trembling so I called it quits early. Is it normal for it to get worse before it gets better?
 

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Some people prefer to do the intro in the bathtub, for instance, so that the rats aren't on your lap or able to climb up on your shoulder...The logic behind it is that rats might feel less aggressive if you are out of reach. In other words, a neutral territory is not a neutral territory if you are in the middle of it, lol. The resident rat(s) consider you like theirs, and in their mind you are not neutral.

Not sure if that can help you as I don't know if you are still doing intros on neutral territory or already moved to intro on non-neutral territory.
 

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I would leave it until someone actually gets hurt. I would let them tough it out as it may be an only option. Bathtubs also help too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
It's still neutral territory. Im just worried because Renegade is used to having a little friend half his size, not one double his size, then when I add Duke he's even bigger! It seems to really stress him out. I just noticed he's got some sneezing going on. My gut says its from depression from losing his friend and just a stressed system. So I want to make it as easy as possible, minimizing them 'working it out' as much as I can.

But I'll keep doing the tub each day and see how that goes. Reny launches himself from the bottom of the tub to my chest the whole time so I was worried it wasn't going anywhere =/. Do I keep putting a little water in it?
 

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HAve you tried the carrier method. He might be stressed because of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
He only got stressed out on the neutral bed. The water freaked him out but he wasn't shakey afterwards. I planned on doing the carrier method afterwards when I do the neutral territory. I was hoping to do that method after I introduce Duke to him as well so I can put all three together, which would be right before I put them in the same cage.
 

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Some people keep a little water in it like 1/2 inch top. Have you tried to put some vanilla extract on them or smearing them in something like yogurt or applesauce...? It cover their natural scent.Tell us hiw the bathtub intro goes. Stay out of the bathtub or it is not neutral territory anymore;)Who is the resident male? Or are they both residents but were kept separated until now?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've had Hartley and Duke for just over a year now and I've had Renegade for four months. Unfortunately with all of Cheshire's medical issues I couldn't do intros, now that he's gone I don't want Reny to be alone. But I will stay out of the tub and try the applesauce tomorrow. =)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Day Five

I did ten minutes this morning in the bathroom. I laid a freshly wash blanket down so it didn't smell like either of them and I sat on the toilet with my feet on the tub so no part of me was reachable. There wasn't much interaction, just passing by.

But just now I did a little over ten minutes and I believe I saw the beginning stages of their own little immersion! Reny would run over to Hartley and sniff him then would scamper away and Hartley would scury after him. They ran around the bottom of the toilet a couple times but it didn't seem like stressful fleeing, more playful like. When Hartley would catch up he would give a quick sniff or ruffle Reny's fur then they would start all over again. There was one tiny squeak from Renegade when Hartley began to groom him but nothing more.

I did specifically notice that Reny held his ground today. Like when Hartley caught him one time, Reny tensed up as Hartley tried to push him over like he does with Duke while they play fight. But Hartley didnt force it and instead instigated the chase again. Renegade and Cheshire never play fought so I think he may just need to get accustomed to it. They seemed a lot less stressed when I put them back in their cages afterwards. Usually Renegade runs and hides and I will just hang out with him on my bed until he calms but he's just chillin' like a villan in his hammock now lol.

All in all I think it was a very good day and I hope it's even better tomorrow! Here's a blurry picture of their chase. ^^
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I had to take a little break to go out to my brothers house and help my nephew with some school issues. Anyway, I didn't trust my mother to do the intros so they just weren't done. Tonight was again, just Hartley and Renegade. They chased each other a bit, and then when Hartley went to exert his dominence or play fight (not really sure which), Reny just tensed up and screeched. The rest of the time was very tense with a lot of self grooming.

My question...Duke gets his sutures removed tomorrow. He is dominent over Hartley. Should I add him to the mix? Hartley is much more confident and relaxed when he is with his brother and maybe that uneasiness is rubbing off on the introduction. Or, should I try to do Duke and Renegade alone? He's been two weeks without a companion and though he has my sister and I a lot of the time...its not enough. But I don't want to be rushing these intros.
 

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If Duke is healed I don't see why you wouldn't add him to the intros. If Duke has been two week alone, better to add him anyway as sometimes if rats (especially males) have been separated for too long, they need to be reintroduced. Two weeks shouldn't be a problem though. I would try to put the three of them together for intros.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Oh sorry, I meant Renegade has been alone for two weeks. Hartley and Duke have to be together or Duke gets extremely depressed and Hartley gets anxious. But I'll try all of them tonight in the bathroom and let you know how it goes. =)
 

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I’d be warey about repeatedly introducing and then separating, it can cause tension to build up and enflame as they don’t actually get to sort out there differences. Now renegade is better I’d be tempted to start with a short neutral space meeting then move them all straight into a small carrier and not split up again unless injuries occur or things get seriously aggressive.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well I'm going to try the carrier method today. I'm currently in the first neutral territory. Then I'm moving them to a small container I use for breathing treatments, then a carrier. Wish me luck! I'll try to post what's going on as I go. Maybe if all goes well it will help someone in the future. =)Here is where we are now. As you can see, Reny is very excluded right now so I'm hoping the close proximity in the next step will help with that.
 

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