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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2007, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Socializing Rats

Okay, so based on the temperament of my male rats(they are pretty scaredey cat rats -- especially two of them)...I think I'm doing something wrong. How do you all get your rats to come out of the cage, explore, and take treats outside of the cage? Btw, my personal marker of a rat being comfortable somewhere is that they will not only take a treat from you but eat it where they stand. In addition, how do you get them to do it without them crapping everywhere? The way I've always socialized rats is:

1. The loooooong method - keep giving them treats and let them choose to come out of the cage and explore at their leisure

2. I clear off a table, take their cage off of the table, and place them on it -- with a bunch of places to hide, toys, treats, and a plate of food. I'll do this once-twice a day for about 15-20 minutes at a time till they get used to it. This way = MASSIVE cleanup...with four rats it is poop and pee EVERYWHERE. It is absolutely ridiculous haha. But it seemed to work with my females -- they like coming out of the cage and exploring their surroundings now.

I've tried method number 1 and then shifted to method number 2 with my male rats...and neither has seemed to work. I'm kind of hoping there's another way to possibly socialize them without them pooping everywhere, scared out of their mind.

The above methodologies are just for getting them out of their cage and be more outgoing...don't even get me started on getting them to walk into my hand. That seems completely dependent on the rat. I've tried a method where I won't let them off my body for at least 20 minutes at a time(saw this method on another site), but it ends up with massive amounts of poop and pee on me and on my clothes...so it's not very convenient.


So...my question is...what methods do you use to socialize your rats? I understand there's the "patient" way...but there has to be a way to beat the rat instinct...or is there not?

Last edited by Turkeyman; 02-15-2007 at 11:58 PM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 12:04 AM
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yea id like to know that too!!

mine poops all over! mine does it when i have her in my pocket and no matter how long i have her in myu pocket or sleeve she freeks out when i take her out to finally put her back in her cage

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 12:36 AM
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When I get a new rescue rat,they are often not handled well and need some work.What I do,is talk to them (so they learn my voice) and offer them treats.I will sometimes place something like baby food or whatever in the middle of my palm and that way they will have to kinda walk on my hands to get the good stuff.Eventually they learn I am a good person.

However I have had rats that took alot longer to tame.How old are these boys? How long have you had them?






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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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The scaredies are about 4 and 6 months old, and I've had them each for 2 months. It usually took about a month for most of my other rats to come along, so that's why I'm a little concerned.

edit: I know it hasn't been long, but 1/10th of their life has already passed haha
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 07:04 AM
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wow, those are some scared rats...lol
call their names act excited to see them that s what i do, and give some treats, i also sake a plastic bag, like im opening it for their treats and they always associate that in a pos way and run out to me...treats always help


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SKRAT- October 21, 2005- January 15, 2007 at 5am
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 07:33 AM
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I would gently scoop up those boy rats and smoothly pull them into my chest, making sure to support all their limbs...they learn to be more secure when being picked up and held...they hate dangling until they feel they can trust you.
I would put them on a couch, and sit or lie on it...have a pillow in the corner so they have a "safe" spot, put a small blanket over you for more "cover" and read a book, or watch TV. Do normal things, let them jump and get used to it all. With your attention on them they are more nervous, then if you ignore them and let them figure things out a bit and relax. They say that a rat can only stay truly frightened for 20 mins and after that will begin to relax. Slowly they will poke a nose out and since rats are naturally curious, will check you out from afar. You can talk to them, but don't try to touch them yet.
The braver ones will eventually come closer and if you feel they are ready, very quietly attempt a small stroke on a back, and then stop. They will realize...hmmm...that didn't kill me? Baby steps...go slow, let the rat lead you, watch body language. Bug eyes, tense posture, freezing, all are big signs or fear or nervousness...grooming is much more relaxed. You can always try baby cereal on a saucer once they are more relaxed. Then they will associate you with Out and yummy things. Btw some rats take a long time before they will take a treat from your fingers...don't use that as a barometer.
Start here, and see what happens...quiet approving voice, quiet smooth movements, watch the body language...
Good luck with your kiddo's!!

I have used this method for years but one of my greatest successes was taking in Foster Shrek last spring who was a biter. I had 2 weeks to turn him around or he was going to be pts. I did all this with him (taking him out of his cage with gloves at first), absolutely dreading the feeling of the crunch as teeth go thru to bone. By the end of the first session I had him eating baby cereal on my stomach in a little plate. He taught me a lot about body language.
T-man could you put up pics of your 4 boys? Sometimes I can get a feeling of body language from them.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 08:15 AM
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wow, thats great advice, i m going to apply this to my guinea pig


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i will hold you forever
i will stand beside you forever
keep fighting
keep breathing
hold onto me and dont let go
NEVER let go
you are my world
make it through
i pray for you

VIXEY- March 25, 1994- October 11, 2006 at 10pm
SKRAT- October 21, 2005- January 15, 2007 at 5am
BAXTER- January 30, 2007
I will love you forever, always

Next time we meet again, it will be FOREVER

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skratikans
wow, thats great advice, i m going to apply this to my guinea pig
Hahahaha...totally different animals. The blankets, etc won't work on a pig I don't think. Guineapigs are much more prey animals then a rat, who can be a predator and are naturally more curious.

I called my friend just now who runs a guineapig rescue and asked her for advice on taming a pig. She said if she had a very fearful guineapig, every time she took them out she would give them food. They are incredibly food oriented, more than any other animal. The pig may expect food every time but at least they will associate you with Out and something yummy...even if its only a leaf of lettuce.

She said quiet voice, quiet movements, watch body language, and gave me this link to post that has a lot of great info on it...

Guinea Pig Education, Care, Rescue and Adoption at Cavy Spirit

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2007, 09:38 AM
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my scaredy cat rat wont take food even if i lay it in front of her she will not eat it ever... i will try the blanket thing though thanks i normally put her in my pocket and watch tv or type on here and she will eventually come out but only to find a better hiding spot (i had her on the couch and she got stuck inbetween the cusions... i should have taken a picture of her head down in between the cusions n her butt in the air)

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 04:36 PM
 
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my rats are still a little skitish, The way iv tamed them all is to just give them treats and pick them up everyday for a few minutes. I also put on a large hoodie and let them sleep in the hood or sleeve and eventually they understand that when I come around htey get to come out of the cage to play.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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So I guess all in all we do the same thing...remove them from their cage, give them someplace to hide while out of the cage, and offer treats. Crazy rats.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Whoops sorry lilspaz, I took my cam back home for a little bit so that my parents could take it on a trip with them...I'll have pics when they get back in a week or two.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 06:38 PM
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i had my scaredy cat out for 2 hours yesterday in her igloo on the floor and she didnt come out at all, except when rattles came in she stuck her head out and went back in

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentz
my rats are still a little skitish, The way iv tamed them all is to just give them treats and pick them up everyday for a few minutes. I also put on a large hoodie and let them sleep in the hood or sleeve and eventually they understand that when I come around htey get to come out of the cage to play.
I do that too.I put my ratties in my hoody pockets as well and they like it and feel comfortable in there.




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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2007, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kendalle
i had my scaredy cat out for 2 hours yesterday in her igloo on the floor and she didnt come out at all, except when rattles came in she stuck her head out and went back in

dont put her in an igloo, just put her in your baggy sweater sleeve while you're wearing it, then sit on the couch. let her walk around your torso in the safety of the darkness of being under your sweater. she'll feel your body movign whiel you breathe, feel your body warmth, your heartbeat. then she'll see you as a safe spot, as well as her cage. over time she'll get the courage to come out of your sweater. even put another baby in your sweater with her. then they can cuddle together with you. my boy likes being near my armpit for maximum warmth lol
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Last edited by mulder; 02-17-2007 at 11:23 PM.
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