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Discussion Starter #1
(Not sure if this is right forum.. not sure where to post.. close to trust training maybe?)

Anyway.. what do you DO with your rats? :) How do you interact with them?
Are you trick training or anything?
Having them on your shoulder everywhere? (how do you deal with poo and pee?)
Watching TV in the couch? How do they act?

Anything else?
 

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The more time you spend with your rats, and the more things you try with them, you will be able to figure out what THEY like to do. Rats have individual personalities so what they enjoy will differ from rat to rat.

One of my rats loves to go on walks with me through the neighborhood (in the evening when the sun isn't so bright, she's pink-eyed). She mostly doesn't pee on me, usually she will hold it until we get home, she's pretty good about that. She also loves to be scratched on the back, and she loves to have her fur rubbed backwards. She's not much for leaving her cage, unless she's on my shoulder. We have little games that we play together.

My other rat is pretty old and weak. She likes hanging out in my shirt where it's warm.

Oh, and tug of war is pretty much a universal ratty favorite. Let your rat win ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ah, yes I do know the personalities :p I asked because I got that question once ("Ew, rats... what do you do with a rat?") and I had no answer. Not that people have to defend what they do with dogs.. but anyhow.. I started thinking..what do people do with rats?

I usually just let them free range, pet them in the cage or in the room, give treats, sometimes carry Zanie or Niftie on my shoulder or some of the others in a pouch. Cuddle in the sofa, but the TV room is not rat proof, so it's hard to relax when they want to run about.

I've recently re-tried trick training/clicker training and found that Zanie, Magic and Niftie shows potential (they accept treats outside the cage on the table and has started to associate the clicker ith treats).
Spell is a bit too runny and active, she doesn't want to sit on a shoulder or pocket so it's difficult to do anything with her outside the rat room. Blaize will just focus on getting back to the cage so that's the same thing with her. They both love to investigate the free-range room and willbe the first come to me and climb etc, but only when they want it. Never if I hold them or put them on a table.
Oddity is getting old, but likes to cuddle.. she's the cuddly rat. (Well so is zanie).

None of them show any interest in playing with my hand or cat toys.. that actually makes me a bit sad.

But like I said, I'm curious to what people do and how they interact :)
 

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It defintely depends on the rat.

I have a rat room and let my rats free range most of the time.

For my boys I often just sit in there with them. They come running around, chill with me some, get treats.
My girls are all very different. Some want little to do with me outside of treats. I let them do their thing.

I have been teaching a few tricks but haven't really taken the time to focus on it.

I don't often carry my rats around too often. The ones that love it, also love to try and escape lol. I mostly carry my younger rats/babies around. I usually keep it short or have a blanket. I like almost never get pottied on except for with babies or sometimes the boys. Whenever my nephew visits he carries the rats around a ton.

Alot of fun is me giving treats and/or just sitting with them while they run around. They come to me and poof are off again.

When I have babies is probably the most interactive. They get really playful and I spend a ton of time holding them, carrying them, playing and setting up fun things to entertain them.
 

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I bet u could with some patience, it just would be one slipper at a time! Lol! Just that image made me giggle!😀
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've heard of a person up north (north sweden) who besides trick training and agility, trains and breeds service rats :) From her webpage I read she teach them handy stuff so they can be an extra hand for disabled people, like fetching pens or stuff. I'm not sure exactly how that all works.. if I find her page again I'm likely to email her and ask.

That'd be cool.. I'd have an artsy rat to fetch my pencils and quills when I draw.. hehe :p

Cool videos #5, really enjoyed the park one :) Felt a bit sceptic about the water one, but awesomely cool rat :)
Once I manage to teach Zanie and Niftie a ''come here'' command, I'll probably let them out.. a small safe spot at a time. For now they're stuck to my shoulder.
 

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I think you can tell by my voice that I was apprehensive about Fuzzy Rat going swimming too. My daughter was in the water frolicking with the other kids and suddenly I noticed Fuzzy Rat standing at the shoreline thinking about going in... She had never gone swimming before... Then finally she leaped into the water and swam out about 4 feet and then back to shore... Then she did it again, never walking in but always taking a leap from the sand... She swam out to the raft where my daughter was and she swam from kid to kid... At some point my wife handed me the camera, saying something like no one is going to believe this... So I just filmed for a while. Fuzzy Rat went swimming several times that summer... once she found the really large bald fellow floating on an inner tube. She sat on his head preening while his family took his new face book photos. It was hysterical, but sadly I didn't have a camera along.... So if you ever come across a photo of a rat floating on a bald fat guy... that's her too.

By her second summer, she wouldn't swim any more... my daughter still dragged her into the water, but she mostly just swam to shore. That second summer she remained very outgoing and made it a point to walk up to people and even dogs to make as many friends as she could. She became very confident and competent and was the consummate diva. By her third summer her health was failing, she was growing large mammary tumors and became more withdrawn as her physical health failed. She made her final appearance at the town 4th of July celebration, she even insisted on climbing on some kids she knew and made some new friends, but she was more tumor than rat and had to be carried almost the whole time because she couldn't walk more than a couple feet on her own.... It was sad to look into her dull eyes that didn't reflect the fireworks any more... But she perked up when the kids mobbed her one last time... The kids and people who knew her asked what was wrong, and I had to tell them that this would be her last public appearance, she was in fact dying and some cried as they said good bye to the friendly rat that once walked at heel and played tag with them... About two weeks later she passed away... she lived an amazing and enchanted life and died with dignity. She was every bit the puppy my then 5 year old daughter wanted and needed. And she was and remains one of a kind....

We've trained three more true shoulder rats, but none were anything like Fuzzy Rat... I'm not recommending that most people ever take their rats outside. But never sell your rats short. Rats are amazing big animals in a small package, if you give them a chance, they will amaze you....

Fuzzy Rat way up in a tree.... "Look Daddy, No Hands!"
IMAG0064.jpg


And Fuzzy Rat just out making a new friend at the beach...
meet and greet at the beach.jpg


Imagine what a waste her life would have been living in a cage... of if we hadn't adopted her from a snake food bin. Your rats are very special, make their lives worth living.
 

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As to poo, I've found that my ratties, when free-ranging, will pick an out-of-the-way spot or two or three and poop exclusively there--usually in a corner. I have a "poopie-box" in their cage--a shallow rectangular plastic box meant as a drawer organizer. I put bedding material in it and "seed" it with a few poopies when I clean the cage. They do most of their pooping there. They also poop alot in the bottom of the cage, where the bedding is. They spend most of their time on the "upper floors" (they have two full floors as well as two shelves). They don't poop up there very often.

Pee is a different story, since ratties use it to communicate and to mark familiar spots. And mine are boys. They will pee here and there, including on me, but never much. They have peed on my leather couch (cleanable). I try to keep them off things I don't want pee on. They love to pee on rocks, I don't know why. Maybe if you put a few rocks in their cage they will pee mostly there!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Rat Daddy: That's an amazing story :)
I have a similiar ut with a rabbit I had 15 years ago. We competed in show jumping and he would come with me out on walks, I let him loose and he ran around then came back to me etc etc. It's a very special rabbit I'll always carry in my heart. He would follow me out in the lake when I swam too.. but I had to save him because once his fur was soaked he just sank! Still he kept following me.I can't imagine his life in a standard cage either. All alone.

raqathta:Yeah mine don't seem to poop while free ranging either, I never see any droppings (their cage is open)and I havn't yet noticed any puddles. But I keep a cover on my bed for those communication drops :) My concern is more when they're on the shoulder or something where they can't go potty.. I have noticed a few droppings on the floor where I've been walking with them on my shoulder, they've peed on my friends shoulder (not mine though..), and some of them pee on me when snuggling in the couch.
I've tried having a pouch/bag with some bedding/litterbox stuff in where they could climb down when the need calls, but that wasn't successful..
I'd like them to show when they have to go, if there's no litterbox at hand for them... :/
 

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Our females usually carry the attention span and energy levels of a small child with severe ADHD so mostly we just sit around watching them wreak havoc on our place, trying to dig up our flowers and climing on (half of the time falling off) everything climable. One of them tries to steal everything small enough to carry, ive seen her run off with ear-plugs, socks etc. So yea just watching them play even without interacting with them is loads of fun.
 

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I've found that with all rats I've owned, they really enjoy soothing baby talk. if they're in their cage, I will baby talk them real softly, and can get them to start bruxxing and boggling in no time. outside of the cage, I let them run around on my bed, and they play in the blankets, chase each other around, or climb up onto my shoulder. i'll give them a gentle shake on the head when they're playful, and this riles them up, making them bound around the bed. when they're relaxed, I do this thing I call "rat massage," where I gently kneed my knuckles against the side of their body, and they LOOOOOVE it. sometimes they'll brux or boggle, or sometimes they'll just fall asleep. they're such good boys. :)
 

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Funny, I had the same question asked to me. "Why do you have rats?" So I turned to her and asked her if she had pets. She said yes, she had a dog. So I said, "Why do you have a dog?" in the exact same snippy tone she used. She said she had a dog because she could cuddle it, play with it and play fetch and that the dog enjoyed being with her. I told her my rats did all of those thing too. Plus, my rats come when I call them, groom themselves and use a litter box. She stood there stunned. So, do with your rats whatever it is your rats and you want to do and stand up to those people that say "Why rats?"
 

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Funny, I had the same question asked to me. "Why do you have rats?" So I turned to her and asked her if she had pets. She said yes, she had a dog. So I said, "Why do you have a dog?" in the exact same snippy tone she used. She said she had a dog because she could cuddle it, play with it and play fetch and that the dog enjoyed being with her. I told her my rats did all of those thing too. Plus, my rats come when I call them, groom themselves and use a litter box. She stood there stunned. So, do with your rats whatever it is your rats and you want to do and stand up to those people that say "Why rats?"
Yeah, I was more curious to see if I could get inspiration :)
 

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When we go out with our rats I always introduce them as "trained fancy rats" to put strangers at ease. So we're walking through the park with our rats at heel or carrying them around a store on shoulder doing meet and greets and I sometimes meet people and they ask me..... "If they are trained, what are they trained to do?" Seriously? I mean their rats dong meet and greets with crowds of people in public giving kissies... and some folks actually expect them to roll over and play dead or fetch or recite Shakespeare...

To be fair, my daughter does sometimes get our rats to shake paw or give her a kiss when she asks and Fuzzy Rat usually closed out her meet and greets by leading us back to the car which impressed most people, but it's rather strange that some people assume the opposite from everyone else when they meet a shoulder rat, they're not at all impressed with rats free ranging outdoors with their humans with no leash or harness, they're actually expecting tricks on command...

Once someone walking a dog asked me why I thought our rats were smart... I replied by asking what would happen if he took the leash off his dog, he said his dog would run away.... Then I pointed out that our rat wasn't on a leash, called Fuzzy Rat to heel and continued on our walk. I could kind of see the light bulb going on dimly over his head... (to be honest, I never walked my dogs on a leash either and they didn't run away... but I couldn't resist proving a point to someone who didn't even have his dog trained to walk at heel)...

at heel on beach.jpg
 

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I take them around on my shoulder for a lot of the day.

I play with them when I'm on the computer, on the couch, I used to take them outside a lot, but after last time's fiasco I don't do it as often. I'm hoping to build a nice little yard for them though!

Whenever I go to the park i take them.

When I first got them they used to poo and pee on me as much as they'd potty in the cage, but now they respect me jeans xD

Cuppy Cake enjoys having her shoulders massaged

Holly likes having floor time

Rosie likes doing anything :p
 

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Discussion Starter #17
hehe, yeah our dogs are never on leash..living in the middle of nowhere. But they have good obedience on important stuff.
I guess what's important for a dog and a rat might differ.

CookieandMischief: Thanks for sharing :) Did you do anything to teach them not to pee on you?
 

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I love to let my boys free range around my room while I do my homework and in the morning. I also love to teach them new tricks. So far, they learned how to go through a hoop, stand up, come, and go through a tunnel. They can be a bit stubborn sometimes, so that can making teaching trick is a bit more difficult! :D
 

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My main "rat time" is in my evenings after coming home from work. We have a nice free rang session in the rat room most nights. This involves me opening up the cage and settling on the floor, the girls then race around and after the initial burst of energy start to check in with me and use me as a climbing frame. After a bit I do some games, which tends to involve me carefully running from one side of the room to the other and then crouching down at the other end, whilst the girls chase and pounce on me. They often get a little treat, but actually enjoy it when I just let them catch me. Sometimes we get out the feather wand, or I just tempt them to chase my hand around the floor. Sometimes I encourage them to jump onto me from obstacles, sometimes its a case of them climbing up my legs.

Once or twice a week I replace free range with a bit more one on one attention, or more often one on 2. This is where I sit somewhere with less space and just spend time with a pair of the rats, really bonding and getting to know one another. This is more often when I've got kittens to help build up the trust.

I also go to shows with those of my girls who are up to it, around once a month. The girls normally get entered into anything they are suitable for, so one rat could be enetered in pets (friendly / healthy / good condition), varieties (good example of there variety and type) and most fun of all Agility (mini dog agility). They also get to meet lots of new people and generally get extra socialisation plus do a bit of ratty PR. They also get regular visits with me to friends and family if they are rat appropriate people. I used to take them into schools a lot as well, but as work has taken off and my mum no longer works in a primary school that hasn't happened for a while.
 

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Zanie, my ratties do poop while free-ranging, but they select a few out-of-the-way corners and poop only there. As to pee, it isn't really just a matter of having to go; ratties use pee as markers of familiar places, people, and other rats, so they'll let a few drops fly just for that purpose. Usually it won't be as much as they actually have stored up. It's very hard to train them out of that, because it is instinctive. The only time my ratties poop indiscriminately is when they're scared, for instance when being bathed or when in the carrier on the way to the vet, or at the vet's. A little embarrassing, but the vets understand, of course. They have never pooped when riding on my shoulder or when on the leash outside. I don't recall any pee while shoulder-riding, either.
 
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