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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so I did shower intros for my 4 rats to 2 new boys. The two girls and less dominant boy all took to the new boys immediately, within 30 minutes i moved them to a cat carrier and they all were laying on top of each other and whatnot. But my dominant boy Pepe did not take well to them. At first I thought everything was going well, until suddenly Pepe started chasing one of the new boys and I was scared he was going to hurt him so I grabbed Pepe and he BIT ME. I was in total shock, never in my life have I been bitten. He bit me so hard, there was blood spattered all over the shower and I had to take everyone out and hose it down. Now everyone but Pepe is playing and free ranging. What do I do from here guys?? Help!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I know a bit of squabbling is normal to sort out the hierarchy and all, but I'm TERRIFIED of Pepe hurting the new boys. The boys are technically foster rats so they aren't officially mine, and I would feel awful if they were even scratched by him. How do I know when to intervene? I know puffed fur is sign of aggression, but Pepe is a Rex and always looks like his fur is puffy and nappy
 

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Usually I intervene when they finally actually start fighting. Sometimes Blaze will puff up with Jojo then just move away and relax. So I want to see what will happen before I intervene. Though I have given up trying to get them together and have settled with getting Jojo new companions (since he's not aggressive) and spending lots of time with Blaze.
 

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Usually when I'm bleeding, I kind of figure things aren't going too well either. But I've been bit during intros too. Never from a rat bonded to me, but by the new rat I was trying to protect. Pepe shouldn't have bitten you.

But as head rat, he may be just a little bit too alpha for my taste, but some other folks do well with a rat alpha assistant, it is his job to protect his family from intruders an jump in new rats. I assume that was what he was doing when you interrupted him and he too exception to your intervention. Like I said, just a little bit too alpha for my taste.

I've only ever had one intro that didn't involve some pretty nasty fighting... and some blood letting between the rats. And that was between Fuzzy Rat and her hand picked friend. She picked the new rat herself and they still fought for 5 minutes until Fuzzy Rat rolled over and let herself be groomed... but that was Fuzzy Rat and she was pretty bright and different from every other rat I've ever owned... Usually intros are a whole lot nastier than that.

I realize that sometimes intros go pretty well, but there seems to be a myth developing that they are easy and bloodless. This really isn't so, even when it's only mock combat and no one really gets hurt things do look ugly and for the most part some can get pretty out of hand. That's not because any human is doing anything wrong, that's just because that's the way rats meet and establish social order.

It is nice when things go well during intros, but speaking as someone who had his house destroyed by two fighting rats for 3 weeks, it isn't always that easy... And the reason I went to the worst ever method, was I got bit doing things the better way, so I gave the rats lots of room to work out their issues and sure enough they did. The new little one kept baiting the older stronger and fatter one to chase her and after some untold hundreds of chases and battles they finally became best friends... The little rat still has a split ear for her effort.

I'm not suggesting my method, just saying that setbacks are to be expected doing intro's. Usually even nightmare intros work out and everyone winds up as best friends, but if you don't expect the worst sometimes things get worse than you expect them to.

Get some iodine into that bite, take care of yourself and relax. Next time bring some welding gloves or oven mitts. Things usually work out fine.
 

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Him biting you is a sign he was very wound up at the time. Its not something i would expect or allow from my boys (as much as one of my pack is always rat alpha we never have any disagreement about me being his boss too) but then my lads are also very much used to me picking them up in all situations and if i notice one get the grump on and get fluffy say during free range they get picked up and firmly stroked until they de-poof so they are used to me difusing situations and picking them up when they are wound up too. This situation does need work in terms of helping him learn to not respond to you in that way ever, but it may take time to get there and it doesnt neccesarily mean you cant carry on with the intros for now (just have a pair of gloves on for seperation purposes).

In terms of the intro, with him being a rex you need to watch for other signs of aggression, a lowered head, or hunched / sidling posture is classic, as is tail wagging. If he starts doing this i would first distract (make loud noises or shake the carrier) then intervene breifly (take him out, de fluff him and put him back), then if that fails take them somewhere that smelss scary and try again there. It may help to add some of his existing bedding into the carrier, it might reassure him slightly. I'll be honest though chasing and pinning is a normal part of most intros (other than those very smooth ones), its needed, what you dont want is fur balls and banging off the sides of the carrier.

I dont think its unuseual to get a bloodless intro, my last injury during an intro was my alpha who had a tuft of fur removed from his nose by a naughty youngster, he was remarably well restrained and didnt beet the baby up after that. My friend's last intro (who has larger groups than me) with an injury was more recent but the girls in question were all adults and a couple resuces who were difficult. The most difficult managed to sprain her ankle, it transformed a volitile intro into a very calm one which worked out fine. Some wounds do happen but they shouldnt be common perse, its the nasty ones you need to really focus on stopping, hence why they smaller space generally works.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It was like he bit me, but as soon as he did so he stopped moving like he was like "what have I done" and he went back to his normal self. I'm not afraid of being bit, I was just shocked because I never would have expected it to happen. I would rather get bit then him bite one of the boys. He's fine now, it's like for a split second he was aggressive and after that he melted back into his usual floppy self. When I do intros again, what's the best way to go about it? Everyone else introd just fine, moments later they were all snuggled in a pile under the blankets. I expected the girls and my other male to take to the boys just fine. Do I allow everyone else to be present during intros? Do I need to just have Pepe and the new boys alone? They don't seem like they're trying to fight him back, I saw Naydeen grooming them earlier and they were just taking it
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Also how do I make it known that that kind of behavior isn't acceptable? Whenever he does something bad or is chasing his other brother around I will grab him and start grooming him but it's like I'm talking to a rock, nothing seems to go through to him
 

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Sounds like it shocked Pepe too then, all animals can make a mistake when they fall into there intinctive behavious, just keep an eye on it and make sure it doesnt turn into an issue later on

I would put pepe in the carrier first then the new boys and see how that goes, give them a little time to settle then add the others. See if that helps. I also wouldnt put blankets in for them to hide in and under, something they sit on top is better, you want to avoid avoidance if you know what i mean.

If Pepe is a bit tense with this then add your most confident calm rat first and then the others.

In terms of telling him off i tend to go for the firm pick up and say no firmly eye to eye then put them down, if they repeay i add a light tap to the nose, not aimed at hurting but aimed at reminding them that the no is a telling off. I dont do the grooming thing, its often enjoyable to some rats and others just find it scary, we arent physically rats so we shouldnt pretend to be
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Okay I'll try that, I'm just worried about Pepe scaring the new boys so bad they never trust me. Saxon (one of the new boys) was really jumpy and was freaking out when I tried to gently pick him up, his brother was okay though. He will let me pet his head, he just seems scared of me picking him up sometimes, I think he was shaken up by Pepe. I do bring Pepe eye to eye and bop him/say no firmly, I've tried to make him understand he can't do that kind of stuff but he doesn't care and will run back to it the moment I put him down
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alright so here's what I did. I took Pepe and put him in the carrier, then I added one of the new boys who is less skittish. Within moments I heard screeching and thrashing and I was scared he was hurting the new boy, so I reached in to break it up and Pepe not only bit me, he held on this time even though I was literally shaking him off. I've never seen him act so aggressively! Should I not have intervened? I'm just so scared he's going to hurt them.
 

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Oh, that's not a happy thing at all. Maybe try what ismurat said and bring them to an unknown, semi scary location so they are more likely to cling to each other and not fight. I'd also wear gloves!

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I brought them to a bathroom they've never been to before, and he just keeps attacking :( I REALLY want him to accept them because the rest of the mischief already has and they free range together but I have to keep Pepe locked up and I feel bad
 

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I think I saw someone mention they used their car on ornery ones. They would take a small road trip. If you are in your car with in running is that scary to them?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No they've all been on car rides before so I don't think it's scary. The dominant male who I'm having issues with isn't really phased by anything though and is veer unresponsive to correction
 

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My friend had to stress bond her rabbits because they just wouldn't get along. She threw them in a box on top of the dryer together and put it on high. Five minutes later, they were best friends.. The box was full of fear poops and they were huddled together for security. They've been buddies ever since.
Maybe this might work with rats in a situation like this?
I really hope Pepe stops being a jerk and comes around soon! I can only imagine how stressful this is on your part. Good luck though, and keep thinking positive. Keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm worried about stressing the new boys out, they aren't aggressive and don't instigate or even try to fight back. I also really need him to come around because these new little boys are really good for my other male who is very passive and shy and a bit of a baby. He finally has male friends who aren't always harassing him and making him cry and hide, and I don't want to take that away from him
 

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It may be worth considering neutering, reading your other post about how wound up he is he's clearly taking this situation badly (this is normally a sign that he's feeling way out of his depth and doesnt know how he should behave). It might meen a break for a few weeks to get him neutered and let him settle down but ti may well be for the best. Where a rat is clearly struggling badly in a stressful situation they arent always the best alphas for a group. They can deal with change very badly and when your alpha is badly affected your whole group is. If you neuter him you may find another rat comes along and takes up the role and does a better job
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's what I'm looking into, I'm going to give him some more time to come around, but if not I'll look into neutering him. I don't want do it, but if that's what it takes :/
 

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It does sound like you have been trying your hardest here. Seems like neutering might well be worth looking into. Really feel for you, must be so stressful right now. Hope you find a solution soon!
 

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I am a soft touch and I'm a pushover, basically a girl's dad and generally a weak disciplinarian. My rats are independent and competent and very used to getting their own way.... But I'm also a 6' 2'" guy who has survived and won my share of brawls in my younger days... and even I have my limits... I don't know how my rats understand me, but they know that biting me is well beyond what I will tolerate. Good rat trainers don't use much force, practically none at all... but some times you have to be the biggest baddest rat in the pack to maintain order... No, my rats don't fear me, but at 200 times their size, they also don't disrespect me either. Sometimes you have to put on thick gloves or oven mitts and rule with a firm hand.
 
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