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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello again!

I know I have too many questions right now but.. yeah, I just need some extra help being a new rat mom 馃槄

So the situation is that in two days I've had my babies for a week and they are not yet comfortable with me picking them up but I would soon have to do a full cage cleaning since it's soon been a week so.. what should I do?
I was planning on putting the babies in their carrier for the time while I clean but how do I even do that since I don't think I can just pick them up yet.. they are pretty comfortable coming on me on their own but if I try anything, they'll just bolt instantly, soooo any suggestions? 馃槄
 

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I agree with @MinkShadow, I would lure them into the carrier with food. If that doesn't work you could also try cleaning the cage while they're in there, you can block off a section for them or work around them. If they are really skittish they probably won't bother you :)
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree with @MinkShadow, I would lure them into the carrier with food. If that doesn't work you could also try cleaning the cage while they're in there, you can block off a section for them or work around them. If they are really skittish they probably won't bother you :)
Thank you! This is great, I think I'll first try if I could somehow lure them in the carrier since that would be the easiest for the cleaning but yeah if that doesn't work then I could possibly just get them to go to the upstairs or downstairs of the cage and block the hole so I can clean the other half! 馃槉
 

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I quickly and confidently scoop new rats up to bring them out of their cage. You may need some practice to do it confidently. I find that the more I pick up new nervous young rats, the more quickly they get comfortable with it and it's much easier to bond with them.
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I quickly and confidently scoop new rats up to bring them out of their cage. You may need some practice to do it confidently. I find that the more I pick up new nervous young rats, the more quickly they get comfortable with it and it's much easier to bond with them.
Interesting! I wonder if I should try that or just wait for them to be really comfortable with it.. this is hard because I don't know which way would be the best and I don't want to scare the babies but I do want them to get comfortable with me
 

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I personally like to take the opposite approach to @CorbinDallasMyMan鈥檚. I would rather the rats learn to associate me with positive things including respect of their boundaries (counter conditioning). While desensitising (in this case, lessening the rats鈥 sensitivity towards being handled through repeated exposure) works wonderfully, I don鈥檛 want to risk sensitizing (making the rats act sensitively to being handled) by flooding them with what they鈥檙e afraid of. But it鈥檚 up to you which approach you鈥檇 like to take.
 

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Cloud and Dew (Pearl Merle and American Mink, both with Irish markings)!
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I also recommend the pick up method, but you must be confident. If you feel like you might drop them, don鈥檛 do it and go for Rex the Rat鈥檚 method! Try picking them up NOT like a bird (Image shown of what NOT to do)
304023

This method is good for rats that trust you, but will definitely spook unfamiliar rats!

This is the method I suggest:
304024
 

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I also recommend the pick up method, but you must be confident. If you feel like you might drop them, don鈥檛 do it and go for Rex the Rat鈥檚 method! Try picking them up NOT like a bird (Image shown of what NOT to do)
View attachment 304023
This method is good for rats that trust you, but will definitely spook unfamiliar rats!

This is the method I suggest:
View attachment 304024
That's how I pick my older babies up, didn't know it had a name lol. I can't really get two hands in the cage to scoop them with all the hammocks and hide boxes and things to get behind. Even now in free roam, when they know it's time to go, I pick them up like a bird and quickly put them in the carrier. They are used to being handled and don't mind because I do it very quickly and hold them to my face for a quick whisper and kiss before putting them inside.
 

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Of course with the babies, they will learn with the two-hand method that they are safe and secure. I always whisper their name and give kisses before they go to the next location. But for cage cleaning, I think just getting in there and working around them and making it a routine will help them to know you aren't coming in to eat them :LOL:
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I personally like to take the opposite approach to @CorbinDallasMyMan鈥檚. I would rather the rats learn to associate me with positive things including respect of their boundaries (counter conditioning). While desensitising (in this case, lessening the rats鈥 sensitivity towards being handled through repeated exposure) works wonderfully, I don鈥檛 want to risk sensitizing (making the rats act sensitively to being handled) by flooding them with what they鈥檙e afraid of. But it鈥檚 up to you which approach you鈥檇 like to take.
I have been doing this now from the beginning and I'd say it's going pretty well, I mean I don't know if they should already be very very comfortable with me or not but at least two of them have visited my neck a couple of times on their own terms and the shyest one has gotten on my arm, almost shoulder once. They don't yet let me actually like pet them, at least at any other times than when they are just really sleepy and don't mind that much but yeah. And tomorrow I've had them for a week!
 

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Cloud and Dew (Pearl Merle and American Mink, both with Irish markings)!
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I also pick up my girls with the bird method! But I wouldn鈥檛 suggest it for younger babies who would be scared out of their tails 馃槀
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I also recommend the pick up method, but you must be confident. If you feel like you might drop them, don鈥檛 do it and go for Rex the Rat鈥檚 method! Try picking them up NOT like a bird (Image shown of what NOT to do)
View attachment 304023
This method is good for rats that trust you, but will definitely spook unfamiliar rats!

This is the method I suggest:
View attachment 304024
Thank you so much, this is really helpful advice!! I do worry though that I couldn't do the proper picking up method fast enough since they literally yeet away anytime I try to approach them with my hand, they are only really fine with climbing on me and stuff when my hand is just still and they come to me but if I try to reach out for them, nope 馃槄
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Of course with the babies, they will learn with the two-hand method that they are safe and secure. I always whisper their name and give kisses before they go to the next location. But for cage cleaning, I think just getting in there and working around them and making it a routine will help them to know you aren't coming in to eat them :LOL:
Yeah, I'll have to try the safe and secure method, I just feel like they'll just bolt away but we'll see 馃槄 But yeah, I think I'll either try to lure them into their carrier or if that doesn't work then I'll try to work around them 馃槄
 

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I'd say it's going pretty well, I mean I don't know if they should already be very very comfortable with me or not but at least two of them have visited my neck a couple of times on their own terms and the shyest one has gotten on my arm, almost shoulder once
That's great! A week isn't very long and those are big milestones!
They don't yet let me actually like pet them, at least at any other times than when they are just really sleepy and don't mind that much but yeah.
If you do touch-treat sessions with them, they should learn to love being handled! Essentially, you continuously touch them in different areas then give a treat while gradually going from touching to stroking to petting to holding etc.
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That's great! A week isn't very long and those are big milestones!

If you do touch-treat sessions with them, they should learn to love being handled! Essentially, you continuously touch them in different areas then give a treat while gradually going from touching to stroking to petting to holding etc.
Aww yay, thank you for that! I've been worrying a lot if we are making any progress or enough progress but I guess we are! 馃グ And thank you for the tip, I will have to try that out soon, hopefully it would help get them more comfortable with petting and my hands on them in general!
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey also, kind of somehow related to my first question-ish (in my mind at least)!!

So tomorrow my friend from another city would be coming over to our place and she is going to bring her dog with her. She is going to come semi early in the day and then leave the same day late at night. Our rat cage is in our living room and well that's usually where people hang out when people come to visit so the dog would also be in the living room. So I was wondering since I have a critter nation and it has wheels, that would it be too stressful for them if I'd move their cage to our bedroom for the time that my friend and her dog are here? Because I at least imagine that being in the same room with a dog would be more stressful than that, I think? But like.. do you think they'd be scared or stressed out in another room for almost a day, or would they be fine since they are still in their own safe cage? :cry:
I want to find out the least stressful solution for them for tomorrow :(
 
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