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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I brought home my new girl, Syliva, Friday. I work FT but I have her out when I'm home. I'm not sure she really likes me. She's nice and all but all she wants to do is hide. She doesn't want on my shoulder at all. She wants down if I take her in the kitchen or anywhere with me. She likes to hang out in between my legs on the couch, under my laptop (I'm usually on my laptop). Is this normal? Is she too new to me?

I know she needs a friend, my husband said 1 rat. I told him I'd want 2. I'm waiting a bit for another - I have a mom rat at work on hold (work at a pet store). I don't want her to be food. I feel bad for our mom rats all the time. Well, all of them actually but somehow the moms more so. They are special to me.

I know she's been thru a lot moving to my house, being alone, and I had her in a 10gl tank for a few days until I got my rat manor (not too pleased with the quality, seems pretty cheaply made).

Is she probably unhappy because of being alone? she was with 5-6 at work.

thanks!

- aww - she's licking my finger now!
 

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She needs a little time to adjust, that's all. If she is licking your finger, that is a real good sign- she likes you:)And yes she is probably unhappy to be alone, she had so many friends before. Can you convince your husband that she needs a friend? If you can get one of the rats she was with, that would be best as they will get along right away as opposed to have to deal with progressive intros.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm going to get another one, soon. I really want mom rat. That's what I call her, lol!

Hmm, just realized she was peeing quite a bit on the couch, probably not the best idea. I might have to sit on pee pads!
 

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did she pee or just pee marked? Rats pee mark stuff with a couple of drops. It is a language by itself. Their pee marking says their age, sexual maturity, if they are in heat, social status...Female rats pee mark more when they are in heat.
 

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After you know her better, you will see when she is trying to tell you she needs to go back to her cage to pee. My girls let me know by getting as close as they can to their cage and intensely looking at it. In the meantime put her back in her cage for a few mins every 30 mins or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ok, thanks. I actually should have thought of that but it didn't cross my mind. I keep her close and she probably doesn't really know her cage yet. I haven't put it in a permanent spot. Doing that today.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm getting discouraged with her. When I get her out all she wants to do is hide in the couch. Deep in the couch. Now she just was quick enough to get into the crease and way down in and I can't even find her. I have to go to work and i'm going to have to tear my couch all apart (cushions don't come off) to try and catch her. This is not fun. Do you think she'll come around? If this is what it's going to be like, I'm not sure I really want a rat. I can't really say I enjoy her :(
 

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As with all pets they need some time to adjust to their new home. It's been mentioned before, but I want to mention another reason for them to have a friend is that they'll feel more confident together than alone.

I'm not sure where you got her, but if she wasn't handled much she'll need some more time to come around. Just be patient, and in the meantime try reading both the immersion thread and the trust training one if you haven't already for some tips.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you - I just dug her out! I work at a pet store and I got her there. They don't get handled much (except by me, lol!).

I have not read those threads yet. She is nice to me just doesn't seem to want to be out in the open. I won't give up, I could never take her back now that I have her. I just want her at least want to be out and not down in the depths of the couch! I was lucky I found her. I had to stick my hand down in there and fortunately she decided to let me know she was there. It's hard pulling her out because I've felt some sharp staples. I'm going to put towels in the corners where she gets in next time to be safe. I wouldn't want her to get hurt or poked in the eye.
 

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Take a look at the immersion guide, it will give you some pointers at becoming better friends with your new girl. Rats and laptops are actually natural enemies as both like to compete for your attention. Getting on the floor with your rat is going to force you to really interact and communicate with her and that will help to build your bond and to teach you more about each other. My daughter will get into her tablet while Misty attacks her, she's only 10 years old and doesn't get that Misty wants to play hands on... not just watch my daughter play games on the tablet.

Lastly, girl rats do tend to like to explore on their own, which will eventually give you more laptop time. Our girls live free range and turn up a few times a day to play or catch a free ride to the cage, to remind me to feed them or to just check in. We play or otherwise do something together and then they pretty much evaporate into the furniture for the next few hours until it's time to check in again. This morning Misty Rat was up and wanted to tag along when I took my daughter to school, I don't think she realized how cold it was outside, but she had fun exploring the car and riding around under my coat and as soon as we got home she was gone... she'll likely turn up again around sunset. Misty Rat is a highly trained true shoulder rat and she's bonded with myself and my daughter, but mostly she leads a pretty secretive life in a huge rat nest built out of tissue paper and plastic bags with her great grand aunt Cloudy Rat. Some rats will stick to you like glue from the morning until you go to bed, while others will do hit and run loving... either way they love you just as much and it's perfectly normal.
 

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Rat Daddy- how do you keep your house clean with free ranging rats? Aren't they peeing and marking everywhere? Destroying your furniture? Digging into your sofa....Just curious.
 

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I recently got two female rats, one of who is very shy. It's been almost two weeks since they came to live with me and the shy girl is still struggling with trusting me. You need to be a lot more patient, really. Tiana ( the shy rat ) recently managed to get into some chest of drawers, I had to sit and wait ages until she decided it was time to emerge but that's simply part of owning rats, you have to give them plenty of time/attention.

How about handling her somewhere other than the couch, so she can't keep hiding from you? An enclosed safe area, with something she could disappear into to hide if she feels frightened but so you're still able to retrieve her, when necessary.
 

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Clean is subjective.... our girls free range all of the time and I'm pretty sure after years of free ranging rats every important location in the house was scent marked years ago and no rat has ever gotten lost since, so there isn't much need to mark anything... As to destruction, our current girls don't destroy things.. much, they just occasionally build nests in strange places... like the silverware drawer. It can be disconcerting reaching for a fork and pulling out a rat instead. But I've pretty much let them colonize a cabinet where they have built a monster nest mostly out of toilet paper and plastic bags... about once or twice a year when the cabinet takes on a peculiar odor and/or bugs start crawling or flying out... we demolish it and they start over.

Rat mess can't be avoided but it can be contained to one or a couple areas. And litter box training helps with the smells. Honestly, over time the rat damage does accumulate all be it slowly, but in the end a home is a place to live and not a museum. Stuff wears out or breaks and gets replaced or fixed, it's just part of living.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'll read that section. I'm sure I am being impatient. Guess I didn't know for sure just what to expect! thanks for the replies, I appreciate it. So assuming she gets "lost" will she eventually come out to be caught to go back in the cage? Or if I leave the door open she might just go back in? But I do see that the pee is pretty strong so I really don't want her roaming around when I'm not watching. She peed on the couch b/c I was dumb and didn't think about putting her back to potty when I had her out the other night.
 

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We potty trained our first rat just like a puppy and she trained her friend who trained the next rat and so on... So it's actually been a few years since we actually had to potty train a rat... Now as Cloud is getting older she's soiling her secret nest in her cabinet... as it's likely too much work to go back to the cage and likely Misty is picking up this bad habit. But otherwise aside from very occasional accidents our girls don't mark or mess.

To be absolutely clear, rats don't get lost. Rats have an absolutely fantastic navigational talent. Fuzzy Rat could find her way right to the front doorstep from over half a mile from the house. That's not to say you can't get them lost of you really try, but between scent marking, memorizing landmarks and an innate ability to map, they virtually can't get lost. That's why they test rats by running them in mazes, navigating is what they don naturally. This doesn't mean a rat won't run away on purpose or move into the crawl space under your house or into your sofa on purpose. Part of socializing your rat is to teach her that you are her family or pack and that her cage... or sometimes the metal cabinet in your kitchen, is her home and that's who and where she will always come back to.
 

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I would try a smaller area. Large bathroom, perhaps? When I (very, very first) started, I built a cardboard wall around me and the cage, then sat with mine until they came out. (Not going to lie, I had only handled hamsters, and hamsters bite, so I was a bit nervous.) I still do this with the more gregarious rats, and I like it because it keeps mess to a minimum. Plus, it's a modified version of how we do playtime. (I've since upgraded cages from what you have (flimsy thing - invest in some good zip ties), and bought waaaaaay too much rat stuff, but it's a process. BTW, when you get to the point where you want to get more, and you will, bite the bullet and get a Critter Nation.) It doesn't work for the rats that are over-attached to their cage, but food is a beautiful motivator.
Nowadays, I do my own version of immersion where I sit with a cup of yogurt, cheese, and apples/peanut butter in my lap and screw around on my phone until someone shows interest. (Bring a couple of pillows - you'll be there a while.) When they climb into my lap, they start eating and I pet them before they notice what's happening. Once they're out, you still make your presence known, just gently. Wind it down once they've shown repeatedly that they like exploring and being around you. It ends when you've had your cuddles and skritches, and everyone goes back in the cage.
Granted, I don't bother training shoulder rats since we only go outside in my hoodie or a carrier, and I have other pets that would eat them. I don't need rats that are extremely confident or have a reliable recall. (But as an animal trainer, I would encourage that all pets are trained to come.) I live alone, and because of my cat and huskies, my rats stay in my room while they're out and in their cage while I'm out. My house isn't a social hub. My dogs and cat are the ones who go backpacking. Rats're my study-buddies and rescue co-workers. (I believe Fuzz and RD's other rats are awesome examples of what rats can be, but I have reservations about taking a common afternoon snack for wildlife out of my house. Maybe it's just because I volunteer at a raptor center and have seen what they can do. There's no saving your rat from a hawk, even if you can manage to catch the hawk.)
 

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Immersion was written as a guide not as a recipe. Every rat and every human is different and it's intended to be tweaked by each individual to meet their situation and personality and the specific rat or rats they are socializing. The general principles and tool box pretty much remain the same, but don't think of it as a cook book, feel free to adapt the technique to make it your own. One person decided that her rat should also be socialized to her dog so she made it a three species affair, that wouldn't be my preference, but from what she wrote me it worked a treat. I do immersion with my daughter and her playfulness really gets the rats involved fast. I'm a little old to get on my hands and knees and play chase games with energetic young rats, but they tend to climb on me when they want a rest and a snuggle. So basically we double team our new rats. We emphasize play while others prefer to attract their rats with treats, I include my kid, one person brought in a dog... and everyone will develop their very own special flavor... immersion is a lot like ice cream, not everyone agrees on a flavor, but just about everyone likes ice cream.

Oh yes... I've absolutely had a pleasant day out spoiled because it happened to be the day that the hawks were migrating over us... I always check the sky and hawks are pretty easy to spot, you can see them from miles away. It's owls you really have to worry about! They won't pick a rat off your shoulder, but they will circle about you silently and completely invisible against a night sky. Somehow Fuzzy Rat could tell they were there and wouldn't get off me, but I can't say this is true for other rats... One night an owl lost it's patience and started screeching right above my head.. I looked directly at where the sound came from and saw nothing.. We take our rats out at night a lot and it's owls not hawks that keep me on my toes most.

And by the way owls are almost everywhere even when you just about never see one.

There really isn't anything safe about shoulder ratting, but you can keep the odds pretty well in your favor if you are working with the right rat and understand the dangers and manage the risks. Just remember, it's a very steep learning curve and your first mistake might be your rats last. It's a lot of fun for both the human and the rat, but it's no game.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I got mom rat Friday night. She was not very holdable at work and when I brought her home and tried getting her out of the cage she was screaming at me, lol! She does not do that today. She's quite anxious to run about though and thoroughly explore my couch. I'm going to put a little potty box on my couch too. I saw that in a video I was just watching. She lets me pet her but doesn't want to sit still which is common apparently.

Sylvia, the first one, seems content to sit inside my shirt. Last night she was licking me in there, lol! sweet I guess? She seems to want to stay more out of sight though. I think they will be fine in a little time, I guess I was too impatient. From everything I had read I thought they were instant lovers.

I wish I'd have gotten males but it's ok.

Yesterday at work a little girl came in wanting a rat and she initially liked a little one (a baby from the mom I have) but of course they weren't handled and not real into being held. SO, I showed her the big boy who had been caught on the glue trap (did I mention him?) - he was so freaked when my co-worker found him on the stupid trap, but when we tried removing him, he knew we were helping and calmed down. I was terrified one of us was going to get bit but he was so good. We cleaned his feet and he was good. Shocked me since he'd been loose in the store for a long time. But he is nice so she took him! I was so happy. There are certain rats I grow very attached to and it makes me so happy to find them a person. It makes my day. Everyone who wants a pet gets to see my special rat if I have one. I'm pretty good at talking people into taking them.

Next lesson is going to be working on potty training.
 

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Try putting an empty Kleenex box on the couch or something she can hide in so she doesn't feel the need to hide inside the couch. I would also lay a blanket down on the couch to help with the pee issues. But yeah, she should come around soon. When you get a friend I'm sure she'll be a lot better too. =)

I didn't notice a second page so if someone already gave this advice I apologize.
 
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