One bite away from giving up

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
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Siab
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:21 pm

One bite away from giving up

Post by Siab » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:38 pm

I have major issues with one of my rats. Shes highly agressive, will bite without warning or provocation i just dont know what to do tbh.

Ive been her only owner since the breeder, i brought her and her sister at the same time, from day one she has been hard work .. she cant be handled 99% of the time, she will cry, hide and has given sevear bites and regularly picks on her sister, even steals her food dispite having her own.

Ive spent hours going thro the usual practises with building trust, but nothing is working .. im even having issues cleaning the cage now and tonight when she was in bed i put some healthy options in thier food bowl and didnt even get to shut the door before i was bleeding all over the cage and floor.

Im just at a loss ...... please help

Cherokee Rose
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by Cherokee Rose » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:16 am

Hi there!
I'm sorry that you are having a difficult time with your rattie. It sounds like a pretty tricky situation to say the least! Personally, I haven't heard much about aggressive ratties, as they are usually very gentle little guys. It does sound like she is being highly territorial, however, as stealing food is usually when they are trying to establish dominance between cagemates, particularly in their youth. I have a greedy girl who used to take from her sister on a regular basis! Hopefully, it will be a thing she will simply grow out of once she as cemented herself as an alpha. Also, have you checked to see if she is in any discomfort at all? Bladder infections can cause a rat a great amount of pain and therefore, cause them to act abnormally, for instance. Can there be a chance that she is pregnant (hormones, instinct, etc)? If you are worried about anything, the best thing to do is to consult a vet. Otherwise, all I can advise is patience and love. Let her on your bed, or somewhere safe to roam, pop a bit of food on the ground and let her retrieve it. Do this again, only a bit closer to yourself, until you can get her on your lap. If she stays there, give her a light stroke. Play music, talk to her, give her an old t-shirt to smell and cuddle up against while in her cage.
I'm sorry I can't offer any more advice! I've been a rattie mom for just over a year and a half, and they are truly the most wonderful pets! Anyway, I hope some of this helps!

Siab
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:21 pm

Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by Siab » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:14 am

I havent had her on my bed. Ill give it a go but she detests being held or picked up so hopefully ill catch her on a good day to try it.

Shes defo not preggers as shes never been around any males.

How would i go about checking for health issues without physical contact?

hjanders
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by hjanders » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:51 am

Sorry to hear about the problems with your girls.
I am no expert but I have some questions, the answers to which may help everyone to give you better advice.
How old are your girls? Have you owned rats before? Have you discussed the problems with the breeder you got them from? I would imagine most breeders would want to know of any problems and want to help where possible.
I hope somebody cleverer than me will be along soon to give you more help.
Good luck!
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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cyber ratty
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:35 am

I agree that contacting her breeder is the first step - however not all breeders are responsible, and they may not want to help you.

You'll need to break the cycle of her avoiding contact by biting - teach her that being held and payed with is a nice experience. It's possible that having her spayed might help, depending on her age.

I would be more forceful to establish the fact that you are in charge.
First rearrange the cage, removing anything that is enclosed in the cage - you want her to accept that hiding away is not an option.
Get her out of the cage one way or another - either entice her into a tube or bag and then lift her out in that, or if necessary, wear thick gardening gloves to pick her up. It's important to control your own nerves because rats will detect them very easily.
Slip her inside an outer layer of clothing like a loose hoody or dressing gown, and keep her with you for at least 20 minutes per session (rats can't remain scared for more than 20 minutes at a time). Either walk around, or sit on a chair, but do so in a different room from the cage. Have the other girl with you as well. If the aggression is purely territorial, then she may be fine once she's away from the cage.
When you're ready to, pop you hand in with her, and stroke her gently. Talk, or better still, sing to her.
Return her to the cage, and give a treat - yoghurt on a spoon is ideal so she can't run off with it and will learn not to bite it.

After a week or so of doing this, you should see some improvement. :luck:

Have a browse through other threads in this section of the forum, there are lots on the topic of taming scared or territorial rats.

Siab
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by Siab » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:41 am

Ive had these ladies since they were old enough to leave thier mother .. and had the rats for only 3 months .. so they are still pretty young

Ive not had rats before but have had a wide variety of rodents so we are all newbies in this house lol

Ive tried contacting the breeder but shes not interested

Thanks for the tips cyber ratty .. ill defo give this a go and see how we go .. i know i sounded fed up on my initial post but i think i was just feeling very stressed out about the whole situation.. i will not gibe up on my ratties event if one is a like sh!t lmao

Wish me luck .. i will update you

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bazu
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by bazu » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:24 am

Sorry to hear you're having such a rotten start to rat ownership :( If the breeder's not interested now then it's possible she wasn't all that interested when they were babies either - they should be well-handled from a young age to help avoid this sort of behaviour, but if she didn't do that (purely speculating!) then it'd explain a lot.

If it's any encouragement, my first ever rats came from a terribly neglectful past owner (literal 2cm thick layers of crud in the cage, never handled the babies even once, all underfed etc) and had major issues with anything to do with people whatsoever, but even they eventually came round - one even turned into a proper little daddy's girl! :lol:

If a rat's biting to try to make you get your hand out of the cage, obviously you don't want them to see that it works. One that helps there is to offer your hand in the cage as a fist, with the knuckles towards them - you don't need to chase them round with it, just leave it in the cage so that they get used to it being there. You may still need to be braced for a bite, but a bite on the knuckle hurts/bleeds a LOT less than a bite somewhere fleshy (try pinching various parts of your hand to test it!), so as long as you don't jerk your hand away the damage is far more bearable.

Otherwise I can only echo cyber ratty's advice; don't let them hide in the cage (so they get used to you being around and learn that you're not scary), and force interaction so that they get comfortable with that. It takes time and patience, and you shouldn't expect instant miracles, but they do generally come around :luck:
Currently servant to Pidge and Hunk.

Gone but never forgotten: Twenty-seven beautiful whiskery angels

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Squirrel
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by Squirrel » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:17 am

Sorry to hear about your problems with this little ratty. I agree that Cyber Ratty has given great advice. I always praise my rats for being good too (hopefully she'll deserve it soon). A very gentle but firm "Good girl!" always seem to help mine understand that they are behaving how I want them to behave. I have had to resort to gardening gloves in the past too but never for too long. As long as she isn't poorly I think she'll eventually come around enough to be handled. We've had a couple that were never really 100% tame, but I mean that in a kind of not liking to be picked up sort of way, they didn't bite. And they were our first girls after I had always had boys, so maybe the boys just seemed laid back in comparison!
Willow, Skittle, Izzy & Rainbow

44 past ratties, 16 boys, 28 girls

hjanders
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by hjanders » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:32 am

I was just wondering how it was going?
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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Squirrel
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Re: One bite away from giving up

Post by Squirrel » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:17 pm

Yes, please let us know.
Willow, Skittle, Izzy & Rainbow

44 past ratties, 16 boys, 28 girls

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