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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I purchased a pair of male dumbo rats 3 days ago from a small local pet shop. It is our first experience with rats but we have lots of hamsters and ferrets a long time ago. The rats are young and have been well handled, the people who work in this pet shop are well informed and into the animals they sell. Before we got the rats my wife bought a Jenny Rat Cage that includes shelves, a ramp and a couple of pipes. At the pet shop we were told that it was best to leave them alone for a day or so to get used to their new home, which we have done. However they still seem so nervous and are extremely reluctant to come out of the larger pipe. I have read that it is a good idea to entice them out with a treat. We have tried the specialized rat treats that we bought and various other goodies but they are not interested, they give them a good old sniff and dart back into their pipe. Yesterday we resorted to removing the pipe rats and all and sat with them in the bathroom, removed them from the pipe so they had no choice but to interact with us and they were fine. They will climb on you, can be picked up easily, loved being petted and seemed to get used to us. However after they went back into their cage they went right back to the hide in the pipe routine. Is this common behavior? Do we have the right idea about forced play time? Or should we wait a while longer till they get bolder? I’m just worried that they like the idea of not being handled and continue to get less and less keen to be handled.
 

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My rat was nervous at first and scared. After a while of taking him out he is comfortable and loves to come out . I think you need to associate coming out of the cage wit good things like being, pet, getting to explore, plenty of treats, and eventually games. My rat now knows his name and loves to play games where i tickle his belly and he runs back and forth. I take him out sevral hours a day and let him experience all kinds of things; he goes outside on my shoulder(I don't have a harness), trying different foods(ok for rats of course), getting to run around in different rooms, getting scratched until he falls asleep, buying multiple toys for him to see what he likes, making "playgrounds" boxes put together while holes and carboard tubes everywhere. When my rat is first let out he doesn't immediately come back when called. He explores for about 15 min. then when I call him he comes scampering back for some love or treats.

By taking him out a LOT he should become used to you. He'll want to play games and get treats. They are very smart and love to try new things!
 

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My ratties weren't the slightest bit interested in treats until they were older and more used to me. Guinness still isn't treat-motivated, but he's just goofy.

My rats loooove to hide. Especially during the day when all they want to do is sleep.

Are they doing this later at night, when rats are much more active?

They probably just need some time.
 

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My rats were tube dwellers for the first week or so. Skurge more than Plague, but Plague cant sit still long enough to hide.
 

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The principles of forced socialization are basically that you hold the rats on you for at least 20 min per day so that they get used to you. Once they figure out that you're not going to hurt them, they'll get much bolder. Also, when they're a little more comfortable they'll start taking treats and you'll be able to speed things up. ;)
 

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Ok thanks for the info, I think im on the right track. I took them out in their pipe this evening and enentually got them out and into my hoodie front pocket, I then sat and stroked them in my pocket for about an hour. At one point my hand was excepted into the clan as it was being licked and groomed. Still a bit frantic darting back into the pipe on their return to the cage but im sure they will settle. Thanks again!
 

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It sounds like you're going the right way about it. Give them time and they'll come around. It can take weeks for some rats to be totally confident. Some warm up quicker than others. The most important thing right now is consistency. You will be well rewarded for the time and effort later. :)
 

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my rats live in their pipe if I let them
they never want to come out of it
only for certain food or if I tip them out
when cleaning the cage
 
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