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So, Dela has recently started tugging on my shirt at my shoulder when she wants to get up on the counter. She learned a long time ago that if she wanted on the counter, she just had to sit on my shoulder until I raised my arm as a bridge. Well, I tried refusing her a few times because I wanted to play with her. So, she taught herself how to teach me to be obedient! XD She communicates very well where she wants to be taken by both pointing her head in that direction and refusing to get off my arm until I've carried her to where she wants to go. Neera is just starting to grasp the basics of going up on the counter, because it used to make her nervous. Hopefully she'll start enjoying it too!Has anyone else had these communication lines with their rats? It's fascinating and I just love helping expand their world! :3
 

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Absolutely, this is about where immersion theory all began over 50,000 clicks ago. Before I introduced extreme and normal immersion, the immersion area and the concept of bonding, socialization and social order based on communication... In the very beginning there was an odd little feeder bin refugee that grew up to be the most amazing true shoulder rat ever and she insisted on communicating with me; the one person least likely to listen. But she never gave up, and she pointed, and stomped her feet and tugged at me when I didn't, and she never gave up until I did. She learned lots of human words, and she would find all kinds of ways to be understood. She pointed where she wanted to go, she pointed down to be put down, she scratched to go to potty, and she would pound the back of my neck when she wanted me to open a door to get through, and most amazingly she would give me kisses to reward me for doing what she wanted. As a former behaviorist, I know that's hard for some to believe, I really resisted and repeatedly tested the idea that a rat could communicate with to initiate and reward human behavior. It just didn't make any sense. But she eventually won me over and the more I understood her, the more I realized how much she had gotten to understand me too. She was a true friend and I realized that there was a real relationship there and my viewpoint shifted as I began to understand things very differently from what I had been taught about both rats and humans.

By the time Fuzzy Rat was at the end of her remarkable life, she was pretty much a lump of tumors with a head that swiveled. But she could point, and give kisses and tap her front paws. Her ability to communicate let us know when she wanted to be lifted to food or water or when she wanted to be with us or go back to her cage or be carried around her home and which rooms she wanted to explore. And when we took her out with us, she would still point to go to kids and people she still wanted to meet or ask to be put down to battle ants for crumbs on the ground or lay in the clovers or go potty.

We still train our rats to point where they want to go, and they all get the basics of it, but to be honest, I've only known one rat as determined and communicative as Fuzzy Rat was.

So yes, I've seen this behavior before and it's a definite sign of a very bright rat and a very special bond between you. With patience and work, you might be very surprised just how far you can get with basic and not so basic communication.

Now you do run the risk of some folks, that just don't get it, thinking you're a little bit nuts, but after about 50,000 clicks and untold numbers of happy bonded mixed rat and human families and formerly screwed up rats that have been fixed through communication, maybe just a little bit nuts is what it takes to be a great rat parent.

Thanks for posting this thread, it has brought back some truly wonderful memories of the time I thought I was losing my mind and my rat was trying to talk to me...
 

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I'm glad to know that! I definitely love it when Dela wants to communicate with me... Neera does a little bit, but she's still very shy with me. It makes me very happy to be able to talk to them and feel like they even somewhat understand, or even simply that they understand that they can communicate with me.
 
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