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hello, my newest rat (i adopted him about 6 months ago) is a little fearful of my because when i first adopted him he had some medical issues and was reluctant to take the meds, so we didnt get the best bonding time. He is a very sweet boy but just skittish. He will come up and sniff my hand, take treats, occassionally let me pet him... but if i reach to pick him up he runs away.

What are some good trust exercises I can do with him? I have three other females... is it better to spend one on one time with him or should I include the others?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Just keep consistently pairing very good experiences with your presence.

Watch his body language closely, and go just a little bit further in your interactions as you see his level of fear go down.

I find letting them sample a special (healthy) treat while they are alone in the cage--and then closely observing which are their favorites, really helps.

That way, I can offer them their favorites straight from my hands. Bonus points if you can use something they can't do the grab-and-dash with.

Greek yogurt (without a bunch of sugar) or certain baby foods on a spoon are great, because they have to sit with your hand and lick it off the spoon.

I also often, with a timid rat, quietly place a special yummy near them, without forcing them to come get it right then, but make sure they see The Horrible Human Hand delivered that goody to them ;D

Step it up, bit by bit.

Classical conditioning works, and the more you pair good stuff, like treats and time out of the cage, with your presence, the more your rats will come to trust and rely on you.
 
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