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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

New rats is meaning very new behaviour for me and though I am reading as much as I can, I can't seem to find what I need. :confused: This post will be in two parts that are somewhat related to each other.

1. When I got my ratties, they were already well socialized to interacting with people at their cage door and wandering out onto my arms or legs with (and sometimes without) a coaxing treat. However, I don't know that they rode around in pockets or on shoulders at all. When I take one or two of my girls out, they will willingly go into my hoodie pocket, but they won't stay there! Even if I am walking around, they will try to scale the front of my hoodie or slide down an arm from my shoulder. I am so worried one of them is going to slip and fall. Any suggestions for girls who won't just sit still? Is this just because they're girls? Is there a way to train them to stay on my shoulder?

2. I have set up a run space using an enclosure fence meant for rabbits. It's 16" tall and made of coated wire that is very easy for them to climb. To remedy this, I attached a felt-backed, plastic top table cloth to the walls to make them slippery. I put in tubes, boxes, driftwood and a paint tray (no water, but going to try pea bobbing later!) along with a variety of treats stashed in and around the items. These are treats that they would clamour at the cage door for. When I put them in their run space their only goal is to GET OUT. They want nothing to do with the treats or the toys, they just are intent on springing as high as they can to try to jump over the edge. Do your ratties do this? How can I encourage them to run and play and not try to escape like their lives depend on it? Is it over-stimulating? :confused:

Help please! Sorry for the wordiness, but I was trying to give you the whole picture.
 

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Sounds like you've got your hands full!

Honestly all of that sounds absolutely normal - Some rats just aren't shoulder rats. It took me a while to figure that out. All of mine, boys and girls, are avid run arounds. They love to climb and play and while they'll come back to me and give a kiss they're off like a shot again to keep exploring. They're just like that though, it's all in the personality. Some will stay and love, some will run off. How long have you had them?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice! I have had them for about 3 weeks now, so I'm probably jumping the gun a little bit. ;)
 

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No worries! It can be a little overwhelming if you're still getting into the swing of things. They sound like they're still in major explore-mode. How old are they? If they're still pretty young, you might have a good while to go before they get to shoulder riding time. What worked well for me, was letting them run on the couch, and I just sat in one spot keeping an eye on them - They come up, run under my hair across the back of my neck and sit for a few, one or two will groom my hair (weirdest feeling ever the first time it happens, you think they're trying to eat your hair) and then run off again. It's fun, because it lets them come to you. And if you have treats, they'll learn that you are a good thing to have around, and will come to you often. And if anything scary happens, like a door opening or a thunderstorm, they'll come to you for protection. Become the alpha rat for them :)
 

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'Major explore-mode' describes my daily life right now perfectly! :)

Chummy (the momma) is 11 months old and more willing to ride on my shoulder though she does her fair share of daredevil attempts to escape. Trixie and Jenny, her babies are 5 moths and nuts.

They also still pee when startled, so I'm not too keen to let them have free range of the couch just yet, but I will try it later.
 
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