Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
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Ben and Joan
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Post by Ben and Joan » Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:15 pm

Hi. I'm rebekah.. Have 2 female rats around 6 months old... Too scared to handle them and have out the cage as Ben bites hard and draws blood.. I've been really patient. Feed yogurt on spoon through open cage door, etc. Sit and talk with them for ages to get less scared, but she literally lunges at me instead of sniffing my hand.. I'm desperate for help if someone can help or advise? Thanks

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cyber ratty
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Re: Help!!!!!!!

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:25 pm

Hi - the key things to convey to your rats are 1) that they are in a safe place, and 2) that you are confident and in charge (which in turn will make them feel safer).

Have a browse through some of the other threads in this section because lots of people have had the same difficulties at first.

First, remove anything from the cage that they could hide inside (huts, tubes, etc.), so that they are forced to discover that there's no need to hide away.

Second, you will need to extract them from the cage either by enticing them into a tube or pouch or by picking them up (wearing gloves if that makes you feel more confident) either by scooping with two hands or with thumb and forefinger circling under the armpits, and take them into a different room where you can either sit or stand with them on you or tucked inside a loose outer layer such as a hoody or dressing gown. Keep them out for at least 20 minutes, at least once a day, and you will notice them start to relax. If you can tempt them to eat a little yoghurt during their out time that's great, but scared rats won't eat so you can offer treats once they feel happier.

Try to remain calm and patient, it may take several weeks, but they should eventually come round. :luck:

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Re: Help!!!!!!!

Post by Wilcox_87 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:46 am

For your bitey rat, try clenching your fist and presenting her with the back of your knuckles, slowly but confidently (getting bit on the knuckles does not really hurt as there is not a lot of flesh for them to get hold of). When she bites KEEP YOUR HAND THERE and squeak at her, she will realise that her bite has been acknowledged by the squeak but will soon learn that you are not scared of her because the hand remains. After a few short sessions of this she should stop biting when you put your hand near her.

I have found that bathrooms work really well for nervous rats as well. Once you have coaxed them out of the cage pop them in a dressing gown or hoodie (or bonding pouch if you have one) and sit on the bathroom floor with them. The open expanse of the floor will be much scarier than you are and all of a sudden you become the "safe place", you will find that they will start exploring and then run back to you for safety. Alternate this with just sitting on the sofa and watching TV with them and things like walking up to the cage, picking them up and giving them a kiss of a tickle and then putting them straight back down and giving them a treat and they will gradually get more and more confident with you and start to look forwards to you coming and seeing them. You may need to be pateint, it won't happen overnight but the more time you spend with them the more confident they will get.

Good luck :luck:
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Re: Help!!!!!!!

Post by HereticPr1me » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:29 pm

Hi ad welcome to FR :)
I agree with everything already said. They will settle, they always do :)
Depending where you live someone experienced may be able to visit and lend a hand (literally !)
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Re: Help!!!!!!!

Post by [cub] » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:20 pm

I agree with all of the above: patience, persistence, and confident handling will go a long way to bringing your girls round. It can take a fair bit of time (and treats) but keep at it and they will improve.

You may also find that you can build a better relationship with Ben by handling her outside of the cage. Some rats are territorially aggressive, fiercely protective of their 'home turf' but much less aggressive elsewhere. I've got a girl who used to lunge at me and draw blood if I was doing anything offensive inside the cage (like messing with her nest spots, or doing any cleaning), but she was perfectly handleable outside. She's since been spayed and that seems to have helped calm her down too; she's still a bit territorial but she hasn't drawn blood in a year. So that's something else to consider for Ben, but see how you go with the above suggestions first. :luck:
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