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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm having some trouble with the new 5 week olds (we ended up getting the OLDER dumbo's.)

They are quite skiddish and just picking them up is always a process. They are squirmy- getting them is so hard. The lady I bought them from had mama literally perched on a chair and the rat would run free and was easy to catch. Also, having never seen us before the older rat let us play with it. PLEASE help- was that just because her rats were past 1 yr old?

How can I train my baby rats to be easy to just come to me and be amazing adults. I am relatively new at this. I am home all of the time and they are out MINIMUM 7 hours a day. They play all day long, but once it's bed time or any other time it's hard. I can't just pick them up like it's nothing whenever I want/need. Eva fell off the couch the other day and catching her wasn't easy. I feel like I am always chasing after them when it's time to go back.

Am I doing something wrong? They feel comfy sleeping in the open, coming to be for treats, playing with me fingers just not being picked up when they don't want to be. I'm a worried Mom who would do anything for these guys. Is training them going to be extremely hard or am I just worrying to be much because we've only had em' for 2 1/2 days***?


***(although our FIRST rat Eva still doesn't let us pick her up easily, but she's not skiddish at all.) Please help me- is all hope of one of the males becoming a couch potato and the females willingly being picked up over? Help!
 

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No worries, you have only had these babies for a couple of days and it will take lots of time and patience for the trust to build with them. There are lots of great tips here on the forum from veteran rat mommies and daddies so I am sure you will get a lot of advice on this, but don't worry. Keep checking your post for replies and tips!


I spent am week or so with my new boys just having them get used to my smell, the sound of my voice, my touch, holding out small treats for them (or better yet, a plastic spoon full of their favorite Gerber baby food so they would have to come to me and stay put to lick it off the spoon) and things like that. Lots of patience!


We also got them used to the sound of a little film canister that we put a few dry beans in, to make a shaker sound (rattle rattle) whenever we gave them a treat, so that when playtime was done and it was time for them to go back to their house, we would rattle the little shaker and they would come running. Then back in their house, and a treat reward. After a while, we stopped using the shaker, as they loved to come see us and get picked up after outside playtime. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much!

I'd love to hear ANY tips and tricks from people about how to get your rats to trust you/make it easy to get em or handle them. Id really love to have rats for the rest of my life so I wanna get it down now when they are babies!
 

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You are welcome. :)
And in the meantime, don't hesitate to look up ratty articles on the internet for bonding and trust training, etc. You can find some great sites out there. Many people on this forum will also be able to send you great links for this as well. We even checked out books from the library and bought rat care books that were very helpful. Just make sure to get recent ones and not books that came out in 1972 or something so you don't get outdated information. :)
 

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im not a long time owner but when i bought my rats i got 2 of them and one was bigger than the other so im guessing he was older, but the other one was smaller and wouldnt let anyone pick him up and when we did he would bite and scratch alot, but after time just petting him and trying to pick him up he started to like us even more, i also read somewhere that rats dont understand words but like sounds like clicking sounds, so everytime we go to the cage we make a clicking noise while reaching in the cage, now i had them both for about a year and the one that used to bite and scratch is actually the more social one of the two
 

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Here are a couple of threads with some good advice for taming young rats:

http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f16/...new-male-rats-58053.html?highlight=sweatshirt

http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f16/new-ratty-mom-58003.html?highlight=sweatshirt

Since you're having a hard time picking them up to put them in their cage, I'd recommend playing with them in a smaller, confined space, or making a playpen for them. My boys have a playpen and it has been the best thing ever! I open it up during the evening so they can roam around the apartment, but during the day they are confined to their cage and playpen area. Here is the thread I first started when I made it: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/f16/ratty-playpen-54455.html?highlight=playpen

It has changed a lot since then, but the same basic idea. :)
 

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I think it's good to give them some time to get used to you, depending on how long you have had them. Rats in a new home are going to be nervous and unsure of everything, as it is new to them. There is no rush to try picking them up all the time if they are not ready for it, unless anyone else has a different opinion? I went the slow route with my boys and gave them time to just hear my voice, get used to my smell and let them sniff my hand, etc, without trying to scoop them up.
 

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I second what Vlad just said! :) You certainly don't need to rush the handling. Like I said in one of those threads I linked to, you can even just start with them getting used to your presence, then your hands, then wear a sweatshirt and allow them to crawl in/on it and get used to you that way. Also, when they are very young they are MUCH harder to handle even if they are perfectly used to being held, because they are so energetic. (Their jumping around is called "popcorning" for that reason! They pop all over the place, which is why it's best to handle them in a small area, preferably near the floor!)
 

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This is what I did to get all of my rats used to me: Put my hand in the cage, palm up, and wait quietly until someone came to investigate. After a bit of sniffing they would usually run away. I did that a few times a day, talking quietly, to get them used to my smell. Then I started offering treats, after the third day I was placing them on my forearm so the rats would have to climb onto my hand and up my arm to get the treats. That was basically all it took to get them to love me, now when I put my hand in the cage I get little feet scurrying up to my shoulder as fast as possible!!
 

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Don't worry about your new rats :) In time te=hey will warm up to you. I had the same problem when i bought a young champagne hooded male named stuart.. He had never had human interactions because he was labled as a "feeder rat". Every time i picked him up he would be very skiddish and end up peeing.. Hold your new ratties close to u like u would a new born. Close to yourc chest. They will sense that there is no harm.. Like i said stuart was the same way when i rescued him. now he and his mate delilah are the sweetest ratties i could ever ask for :)
 

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Well said! Rats are so sweet natured, it is unbelievable. All they need to know is that they are safe and that you love them...and they will give you 100 times the love right back. :)
 

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I thought id have a lil trouble since Stuart was a feeder rat.. I felt so bad for them.. Stuart fur was stained from the horrible conditions.. I had to drag myself out of the "pet shop" to keep from just buying the whole cage.. But hes much better now. Hes the sweetest lil thing. i think ill post some pics :)
 

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He sounds so sweet! I am sure I speak for all of us when I say it would be great to see some pictures of him. We love seeing photos of everyone's lil babies on the forum. :)
 
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