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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a long time lurker, but after reading all the immersion stuff posted by Rat Daddy I wanted to share my experience to give people an idea of what to expect.

My rats are both male and 4 months old. I've had both my rats for about 3 months now, but I felt that we were lacking in the bonding department, so I started Immersion with Thor today. During play time he will climb all over me, but because I'm in the way and isn't very playful with me. He is occaisionally skittish depending on his mood.

So this morning I cleared out my hall and shut the doors and plonked Thor down with me.

We started at 9.55am.

He ran around the perimeter of the hall looking for a way out, he would occaisionally come to me to sniff me, but aside from that he was entirely disinterested in me and wouldn't take any treats off me to start off with. I kept on him, talking and scritching but he seemed to be trying his hardest to ignore me.

At 10.05am he stopped to preen himself. I left him alone while he did this. When he was finished he accepted a treat from me and headed back out on his perimeter check again with me following behind on my knees.

At 10.17am he turned around at the end of the hall to go back the way he came but instead of carrying on he led against my leg and let me stroke him. He was grinding his teeth - at this point I was sure it was angry chattering but when his eyes started bugging out I realised he was actually bruxing and boggling. I have never, ever seen him do this.

So when he had enough he got up and carried on exploring and kept stopping for more attention and continued bruxing and boggling. There was also lots of preening going on. I also noticed that instead of sticking to the walls he seemed far more relaxed and when he wanted to change direction he would go between my legs instead of avoiding me, or pretending I wasn't there.

At 10.43am he let me pick him up and cuddle him. Again something he has never done - he usually squirms like his life depends on it.

At 11.10am I had followed him into a corner, stroking him. I started scritching around his head and he went to sleep! Again something I have never seen from him. He was actually responding to me stroking him  by pushing his head against my hand.

I carried on the process until 12 - after much of the same behaviour and more sleeping. I feel that Thor is not an overly affectionate rat, so I don't expect him to let me roll him over and scratch his belly. He nature seems to be very aloof, unless you have something he wants to steal.

So basically, if you havn't tried this process, please do! I went into it with my expectations low and ended up being very surprised by the results.

I hope this helps someone with knowing what to expect!

I'm going to do the same with his brother tomorrow and will be taking notes again. They are both opposites in terms of personality so I will be expecting very different results! ;D

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6,246 Posts
Nicely done QueenRatRat. That's pretty much the way my daughter and I do immersion with our rats at home too and what you described is what the typical immersion experience looks like. It's a matter of making friends and getting to know each other and opening a dialogue. It's a bonding exercise like a couples weekend. You're there to make a new friend and surprise, surprise so is your rat. It's easy in immersion to make more progress with a rat in just a few hours than in weeks of short hit and miss encounters because you really focus on each other. The whole process works rather naturally.

Congrats on your new friendship and best luck with your immersion tomorrow.
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