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I got my rats about a month ago, and I have made fairly good progress. My boys will come to me during dinner when I open the cage door and take food directly from my fingers. I'm have trouble picking them up though. When I pick them up they try to hold on to something and do not want to be touched. Is there any way to get them out easier or any techniques to make them more comfortable with me taking them out? Whoever told me it could take 2 to 3 months, I am holding on to your words and that is what is keeping me patient. I know it takes time I would just like some assistance on how to make it go by a little easier.
 

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Are you using a scoop method when you pick them up? You go to them with your palm turned upward and kind of scoop between their front legs and scoot them up onto your hand with the other hand at their bottom. Or you can use both hands and come at them gently and slowly from the sides, palms up, and bring your hands together underneath them so that they are in your palms. Kind of hard to explain so I hope you got that. This is much less threatening the reaching in to grab them from above.

Also, you can practice this scoop method while offering them treats! So scoop them up for just a split second, and set them back down rewarding them immediately with a treat. If you repeat this consistently they should understand that when they get picked up good things happen! It took about a month with my one boy to accept getting picked up with this method. He would always squeek and scurry away as if I was going to hurt him. But he eventually understood and now when I put a hand in front of him he climbs up! Though he still doesn't like being held too long.
 

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My lab girls were terrified of being picked up so when I first got them I would pick them up by their bellies and hold them to my chest while I gave them pets. I would do this standing up so they didn't want to jump on the table or the bed and I would make sure to hold them for at least 20 minutes and after I returned them to the cage I would give them a treat. The other thing that worked for me was to carry them around in my shirt or hoodie. If they really can't be picked up carrying them in your hoodie or in a pouch could play really useful. Put them in the hoodie/pouch and pet them and give them treats. I think that the key is to insist. Pick them up gently everyday, as many times as you can for no less than 20 minutes until they realize you pose no threat to them.
 
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