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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, we have had the ratties for a week now and we get them out every day. We are very confident with them, and during free range time we let them run around, come to us when they want etc. Their cage is high off the floor, on a metal stand, but they have learned how to shimmy up the legs of the cage stand, climb the bars of the cage, and get inside. It's awesome to watch, but really, almost as soon as we get them out they are ready to go back in. Pumpkin even demands we shut the cage door when she is in - he tries closing it himself but can't quite figure it out. I thought trust training would help but that seems to require treats.

My boys will not take any kind of treat from us - they are stubborn re food - they only want to eat the mix we got from the breeder, and even if we try hand feeding them parts of that they will not take it. They only take it if it is in their bowl. They also have fresh fruits and veggies in their bowls and again will not take them from our hands at all. Funny that they wont take food from me but are more than happy to try to eat my fingers in case it is food - only feeling it with their teeth, no actual biting. We have tried yogurt drops, chocolate chips, baby food, and yogurt as treats but they wont take anything from our hands at all. I'm never going to be able to train my ratties to come if they wont take treats.

All three of them seem to trust me, in that I can put my hand in their cage and pet them and they sit there and take it nicely, but if I try to pick them up they will just grip the sides of their cage. They have never bitten any of us and we are all very confident at holding them etc, so I don't feel they are sensing fear from us. Also, I do feel that on some level at least one of them is trusting of me - every time he goes exploring and gets spooked by a sound (is it normal for rats to get spooked by every single sound?) he will run back to me and hide next to me - but he doesn't go exploring for long, he just goes to find his cage!

I have tried taking them out one at a time and spending huge amounts of time with them in turn but that doesn't seem to have changed anything.

Any thoughts? Do I just need to give them time? Is a week not long enough for them to feel comfortable enough to play?
 

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When you get them out of the cage, take them away from the cage. Taking them into another room will make them pay more attention to you and get to know you. If nothing else, a bathroom will work. Make sure you spend as much time with them as possible. An hour or more is best. Certainly not less than 30 minutes. More than once a day if possible is good, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks - we try to keep them out for at least an hour, but sometimes they just go back to their cage. We tried the living room (cage is in homeschool room) but they just buried themselves in the sofa, which was more than a nuisance - lol. We are planning on turning an extra bedroom into a den with better sofas to hang out in with them. But until then, it may have to be the bathroom.
 

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I had a rat get into a chair, so I covered it with a blanket to prevent her getting into it again. Perhaps something like that would help? A bathroom could be good for a week or two til they get to know you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah - cos if I close it they will just hang on the door and it's so high up I am scared they will fall.
 

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Yeah - cos if I close it they will just hang on the door and it's so high up I am scared they will fall.
Ah, okay. Hmm... then I would echo Raindear's advice and perhaps have playtime in a bathroom. That's where I play with my boys. Basically it makes you their 'safe place' so they'll want to bond with you more.
 
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