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Discussion Starter #1
I recently added a big, fat, healthy boy to my rat pack.

But he's extremely skiddish. He's ok with me slowly moving up to him and putting my hand down in front of him to sniff, but he tenses up and spooks so easily when I pick him up.

I've had scared ratties before, but I've had Ed for a little over two months now and he hasn't improved.


So, socialization tips, anyone?


Much appreciated!
 

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just take your time. I have had my one boy Yogi for around 6 mths and he is finally staying kind of calm when I pet him and hold him. He was very scared of being touched or picked up when I got him. Just keep taking your time with him. Also if you have a treat he likes give him them when you pet him, that helps them associate you with good things. Hope this helps some. Just spend lots of time with him and wait, thats about all you can do.
 

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There's another problem, he won't take ANYTHING from my hands. I know he likes pistachios and almonds, and I've tried handing him some still in the shell to give him some entertainment to have him (like you said) associate me with good things.

I suppose it really might be that he's a lonely boy. I've been trying ever since I got him to find that good breeder I'll get him a bud from. Hard to find...:(

But I'm sure with patience he will get better(not to mention with a friend).


Haha, as I am typing he's sitting on my foot, giving me a little pedicure. At least he's not totally afraid of me. ^_^
 

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thats good that he isn't totally afraid of you....just keep working with him and before you know it he will be taking things from your hands...

to start with try this: make sure he sees that you have the treat. then lay it in front of him and move your hand away. he will see that the treat came from you and that your hand ment him no harm.....
 

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I've always used the "forced socialization" method. Just grab up the rat (uproot the igloo if you have to - doesn't matter), and hold it for 20 minutes several times a day - even if it squeaks or poo's on you. If it tries to bite, wear some gloves. Within a very short time - usually a few days - the rat will be calm enough to start offering treats to them while you hold them. It may seem cruel at first, but it's THE quickest way for them to learn you aren't a threat. Being they have relatively short lifespans anyway, isn't it better that they spend as little time fearing you as possible? This method works great even with "feeder" rats.

Rick
 

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rcopper beat me to it again. "forced socialization" is probably the best route. they do live only a short time and wasting it being afraid is not fun. but here's another method that might be a little less stressful. get a hoodie and put the rat in the front pocket or hood and sit in a room (watch tv, read a book, do homework, listen to music, whatever) with him with you for at least 20 mintues, longer if you think the both of you cna afford the time. AT LEAST once a day but the more you this the faster the socialization. if you don't have a hoodie, cacoon yourself in a blanket on a couch or something and put him in there. he'll have more room to run and freedom to play this way but he'll still be with you. remember though that he may and probably will pee and poop the first few times to don't do this 20 mintues before you need to leave to go out to a fancy concert of something or use a blanket or hoodie that you can't afford to hav chew holes. after a few sessions (2-3) of this offer him food as well. i foudn popcorn and m&m's to a fav. but the tops off pudding cups seems to be the most successful. you hold the top and he has to lick off the chocolate/vanilla/tapioca/etc making sure he know's it come from you.

and of course the best way to make this the fastest ever is for him to learn by example. if you have other rats take one or all of them out with you after the first session or two and let them interact. offer food to everyone and the new boy will learn through them as well as his own experiences that you're actually pretty cool. with the help of other rats and the method explained above i have never failed, even with serverely abused rats that had every reason to be afraid and aggressive and no reason to trust.

as a side note (though i've never had problems with it) if you're worried you will be bit during socialization wear thicker clothes and shoes. but, like i said, i've never had a problem in this area. the only times i've been really bite (not hand held in the mouth or directed one way or the other which is nearly always very gentle) was when i reached into a timid mother's nest to check on babies. oddly enough this mother's sister (who had a litter herself the day before) would place her babies in my hand when i went to check on them then go out for a run in the room. different personalities eh...

anyway, try that and tell us how it goes. try the others suggestions as well and maybe you can find something even better. hope everything goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all!

My boyfriend found a sweetheart of a rat recently and bought him for me as a bud for Ed.


I've done the forced socialization trick a few times, he's gotten better about being handled but is still a bit skiddish about loud noises and fast movements.

Jake(the new ratty) has helped Ed a lot, or so I think. Jake is a lovely little sweetheart, doesn't like being put down out of the cage but is very good at cuddling!(just gonna work on that out-of-the-cage phobia).

They both love their afterschool treats(when I come home from school I greet everyone with an almond still in the shell).


Another success story, yay!
 
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