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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my boys Piper and Marco for about... 9 months. Time really has flown by. o.o

Unfortunately, all both of them seem to want to do is run off. They are nice boys, but they aren't very responsive to being pet, or held. They just want to sit on me long enough to be transported to wherever they are going to play, or to be fed. They don't seem to really enjoy my company, which kind of discourages me when it comes to them.

Is there anything I can do to get us to be closer?
 

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First off, I love your boys' names, Piper and Marco. Nice!
Rats are absolutely full of love and devotion to their people and the attachment factor that forms between person/rat is just beautiful. So a lack of bonding can be frustrating and/or puzzling to some. I am not sure what your boys' backgrounds are...did they go through something traumatizing in their past, or have you had them since they were babies? If you tried in the past to rush the bonding process and tried to grab at them or chase after them, this can cause a long term avoidance of "the scary hands" that they have not gotten over, but again, I don't know if that happened with you. Can you give us some background on what has been going on for the past 9 months? Soft, soothing tone of voice, to reassure them, and letting them get used to your voice, smells, sniffing your hands, etc, and not swooping down over them with your hands from above? Rodents are prey animals so a pair of hands descending down over them can give them that sense of, "Oh no, a hawk is swooping down to eat me, run!" There could be so many factors as to why they don't seem to be bonding with you. Can you give us some more details about their history, environment, any stressful things going on in the house like barking dogs, etc?
 

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It could be his age all my older rats are more cuddly than the babies. But I have found that treats really help they see you bring good things :) One of my rats all time favorites is banana babyfood and they are forced to sit still and be close to you. Also just not cuddling is not a sign of not being bonded some rats are just more adventurous.
 

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Unless your rats seem to actually be afraid of you, or genuinely dislike being with you, they are probably just more independent and prefer to play and run around instead of being held and petted. My Russell was always a sweetheart, jumping in people's laps and begging to be picked up. His brother, however, is still to this day a very independent man who will only *allow* a certain amount of cuddling before needing his space to roam around and do whatever he wants. So, it might just be a personality difference! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First off, I love your boys' names, Piper and Marco. Nice!
Rats are absolutely full of love and devotion to their people and the attachment factor that forms between person/rat is just beautiful. So a lack of bonding can be frustrating and/or puzzling to some. I am not sure what your boys' backgrounds are...did they go through something traumatizing in their past, or have you had them since they were babies? If you tried in the past to rush the bonding process and tried to grab at them or chase after them, this can cause a long term avoidance of "the scary hands" that they have not gotten over, but again, I don't know if that happened with you. Can you give us some background on what has been going on for the past 9 months? Soft, soothing tone of voice, to reassure them, and letting them get used to your voice, smells, sniffing your hands, etc, and not swooping down over them with your hands from above? Rodents are prey animals so a pair of hands descending down over them can give them that sense of, "Oh no, a hawk is swooping down to eat me, run!" There could be so many factors as to why they don't seem to be bonding with you. Can you give us some more details about their history, environment, any stressful things going on in the house like barking dogs, etc?
Sure. :) I got Marco when he was a bit older from a pet store. Both are from pet stores, but I got Piper when he was about six weeks old. I know that wasn't the best place, but there are hardly any other places to get rats near me that I know of. Silferno on the other hand, was from an accidental litter of my friends' rat. I got him when he was four weeks old.

When I got Marco, it took a long time to get him to come around. I would sit by his cage and talk to him, give him food out of my hands, etc. Now all he seems to want to come near me for is food. :( Its very frustrating. He doesn't seem afraid of me anymore though. None of the rats do.

However, I do think I know where I went wrong. Instead of playing games with them, I kind of just let them sit on my shoulder or run around while I did other things (in the same room. They are never unsupervised.). I'd let them run around in my room or now, in the bathroom (the bathroom is much more rat proof, I learned) but now I truly want to turn this around. I really want to interact with them more and have a better bond. I just don't know how. :( I don't know if its too late.
 

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Well, all rats are different and some can take more time than others. It can be a slow process, and as Breyer mentioned, some rats are more independent than others. Keep spending time with them and I am sure there will be others on the forum with great advice too. :)
 

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one of my rats is the same! I have two, Bean is full of energy and slays exploring and playing with me but Ziggy is the complete opposite... She's alot more timid and scared very very easily...i got them both at the age of about 6/7 weeks but from different pet shops. I think that can have alot to do with it. Bean was from a smaller pet shop and was probably handled more by her breeders where as ziggy the opposite. Its very anoying but I just try to be patient with her :)
 

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You did not do anything wrong by having them out while you do other things. When you relax and watch TV, have them out and have a blanket out too so they can go under it and feel safe, next to you, so they relate you with safety and they can also go out and explore and be the curious little ratties they are. :) Put your hand down (palm up, so they don't see you as a big scary predator hand coming at them) for them to crawl on, smell, pee on, whatever. Just let them explore you as they wish so they don't feel threatened. Also, when removing them from the cage, scoop them up with both hands from under. Being picked up by under the armpits is uncomfortable, anyway. Sleep in an old shirt and stick it in their cage for them to use as bedding material.

All rats are different and they may be more independent guys, my boys didn't calm down until between 8 months-16 months. It can also have to do with genetics. A lot of pet store rats can be great pets, others aren't so much. Keep trying. What I do with scaredy rats is sit in the bath tub (dry) and lay a lot of interesting things to explore down on me and read a book. So they can explore while getting used to my scent. So they are not trying to get away from me (and can't).
 
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