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Discussion Starter #1
I've had my two boys for several weeks now, and it does get me down that they are still scared of me. When they're in their cage and as soon as I come near the cage or move when I'm in my room they freak out and hide.

I try to take them in the bathroom daily for immersion but I think I must be doing something wrong. They explore me a little then the rest of the room and then they hide in the corner. I go to stroke them and such but I think they freeze because they're scared, not because they are letting me touch them. And I try to move around the room and they once again freak out. This happens almost every time and I feel like I'm getting nowhere.

I go to give them strokes and talk to them in and out of the cage but they always hide. I love them to bits but I'm not feeling too positive about this progress at the moment. I feel like they're not wanting to get to know me. :(

Any advice would be muchly appreciated as I have no one else to turn to right now. Thanks in advance x
 

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Have you tried bribing them with food?
That's what I did with my first rat, and it worked.. Though it did take a few weeks for him to come around.
It does take time, be patient, trust me. They reward you with so much love, it just takes a bit!
Good luck!
 

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You aren't doing anything wrong! It took some of our boys over a month to bond with us when we brought them home. My advice would be to keep taking them out daily and spending time with them. Try not to be discouraged by a seeming 'lack of progress'. It will just take time but will eventually happen for you. :) Food is a great motivator with ratties so I would try offering baby food on a spoon, yogurt, cheerios or fresh fruits/veggies. Those are all proven household favourites with our boys. Another thing that may help is investing in or making a bonding pouch. If you do a quick google search, you will know what I mean. They can really help make frightened new rats more comfortable being around you. Just stay patient and kind and don't take their fear personally, we've all been there - questioning our tactics! :)
 

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Yes it's hard not to be discouraged when you are trying so hard to bond and they don't really want much to do with you. I seem to have hit a wall with my girls, they are comfortable with me, but you can see there is still fear there. I just in the last couple of days got them to take some scratches behind the ears without bolting immediately but it's like they just freeze for a few seconds then take off. I think they know now I'm not going to hurt them when I pet them but they are not super comfortable with it. It's also only been a few weeks/1 month-ish for me so we are in the same boat :) Slow and steady wins the race!
 

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Have you tried carrying them around in a hoodie? Similar to the bonding pouch idea, but you can start immediately. Wear a t-shirt underneath and put a hoodie over the top (great timing with the weather now) and then stick your rats down there. Either together or separately, I did mine individually for an hour at time and either walked around doing household bits or sat down and watched TV. I constantly spoke to them and stroked them the whole time, it gets them used to you and your body movements :) worked wonders with my ratties!
 

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I would do everything you've been adviced, food bribery, riding in a hoodie, or big pocketed sweatshirt. Also, if you'res don't jump down, read a book with them on your bed. Put them on your desk when you're at your computer. Spending time really working with them is good. but just spending time in a small location while you are doing other stuff is good too. It probably won't happen over night. But you will start to see little breakthroughs. :)
 

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Move over to the corner with them, skritch them, pet them pick them up and try to keep engaging them... remember to make the sessions as long as possible... I don't know where these rats came from or how old they are or how badly someone may have mistreated or neglected them, but as long as they aren't biting you keep initiating contact until they respond.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't know if I'm having progress or not. They take food from me now which is good. They absolutely love cauliflower! They climb on me when I'm in the bathroom with them. I've had them on my shoulders and in my clothes but as soon as I move and go to stroke them they run. I'm starting to think they're just scared of sudden noises in general, as when Eddie tries to go in the cardboard box, the noise makes Alfie get scared and hide. I definitely know who is the bravest of the two.

I just want to make sure I'm doing it all right. How long do you suggest each session lasts for? I try to go for at least an hour. I tend to stop when they get all quiet and tired and hide all cuddled together. Is that a bad time to stop? I'm new to rats but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to gain their trust :)

I've had them a month now, time has flown by!

I'm definitely going to put them in my hoodie pocket more often. When I have been doing it I've put them in one at a time. Once they're in there they don't want to come out! Would a bonding pouch do much different to my hoodie?

Thanks again!
 

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Usually I suggest at least few hours for a decent session, if your rats are ready to snuggle bring them under the blanket or into your hoodie an snuggle with them.

And yes, the likelihood is good that your rats are more afraid of their surroundings than they are of you... Many rats come from rat mills where they have never heard a door squeak or a plastic bag crunch or even a human voice directed towards them in kindness. Humans and rats alike are afraid of things they don't know, which in your home is everything...

As you take your rats out of the immersion area and around your home they will rely on you for comfort and emotional support, this will feel especially rewarding, but don't get too used to it. Rats adapt fast and sooner than you think you will find yourself trying to recover a rat from under the sofa or fridge or wherever it decides to build it's secret nest... And instead of running away when they hear a bag crunch, they will be jumping all over you for treats.

You are doing fine, spend some time just cuddling with them and they will get more comfortable with you faster... as to their getting more used to noises and your home, be careful what you wish for... I have't a clue where my rats are right now.
 
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