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Sorry for all the background, but it may help...

Apparently only so much research is helpful before getting a rat, then you get your first rats and then you realize there's much more to learn, and have a few, "oh, that's what they meant", moments.

Anyway, I've been socializing with my rats, at least twice daily on my work days and three on my days off (minimum). I originally had two rats, Stripe and Pepper, but Pepper got really sick and now I'm left with just Stripe. He's very playful now, is starting to eat treats next to me instead of taking them and running home to eat them and coming back, and is starting to learn his first command after "come", and if I accidentally scare him, he gets over it almost instantly, etc. (this is after about 3 to 4 weeks of socialization, 3 with Pepper, and 1 without).

Then, to prevent him from being lonely for too long, I now have Brownie and Silver in quarantine in a separate room/cage, etc. Of course, they're at square one. And these two compared to Stripe are two different animals (no pun intended).

Stripe and Pepper socialized extremely fast, to my understanding. In fact, I had them willingly walking up my arm and being handled in about a week, and it was really easy from there.

It may just be me, but it seems like Silver and Brownie aren't getting there quite as fast, though Silver, being younger and about the same size as Stripe and half the size of Brownie, seems to be catching on faster. Brownie is about 300g, and probably still growing. Silver has really soft fur still, and so does stripe (although his is starting to transition). Those two are about 150g +/- 10g each.

I've been mixing forced socialization with immersion. That seemed to get the first two along fairly quickly. But today I noticed Silver was cleaning up his face while sitting on my arm which was planted next to my chest, which he hadn't done before. Will they clean themselves whenever, or do they have to be comfortable enough to be willing to do it? If the latter is true, then there's progress. Also, he ate yogurt off my finger while I was holding him. Only a couple licks, but to my understanding they won't eat at all if they're too scared.

Brownie does enjoys it the least, though he isn't fighting so much now, and is still willing to eat yogurt off my finger eventually...IF he's in his home. What can I do with Brownie? Or just keep doing what I'm doing and let time work?

Body language? I've read up on it, but some of it I still don't understand.
 

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First, longer sessions are better than more, but shorter sessions. Sessions have to be over 30 minutes long to pass the rat's fear threshold. If you subtract the first 20 to 30 minutes or so of a session as being while the rat is too scared to react properly you can see that 1 2 hour session is 1 1/2 hours of bonding time, but 2 1 hour sessions may only add up to 1 hour of bonding time.

Second, I am a big fan of immersion, or trust training, but not of forced socialization. Trust training may take longer than immersion, but neither of them will backfire like forced socialization can.

Some animals may take longer than others, but for me they have all eventually come to be my friends over time. Just keep spending time with them and getting to know them.
 
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