What to do for the best

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
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Greyflintstone
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What to do for the best

Post by Greyflintstone » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:51 pm

Hey everyone
First time post from a first time rat owner. I got Eric, Ernie & Jasper from a well-known pet shop 3 weeks ago. After doing a lot of reading I started trust taming with jars of baby food. Eric & Ernie will take the food from a spoon, stand on my hand and walk across my lap (mind you, they freak out if I move a finger to try & stroke them). Jasper just sits with his back to everyone. He's on a shelf with nothing to hide in/under. I've even tried putting a spoon in front of him but he still turns away. Any tips on getting him interested? I've tried different flavours (sweet & savoury) but to no avail. I've bought a snuggle bag to move training on for Eric & Ernie, but I feel guilty that Jasper is missing out.

Any/all help and advice welcome.

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Caza66
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Caza66 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:03 am

Hi and welcome. Include jasper in the snuggle bag. It may take him a bit longer but he will benefit more from it. If he is shy at being picked up then try to ‘scoop’ him up. Sit with them all on the sofa or floor of a secure room, let them climb on you and use the snuggle bag as a retreat.
My current gang :hearts: Drax, Rocket, Groot, Star-lord, Yondu, Neb
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cyber ratty
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by cyber ratty » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:40 pm

It's unusual for a rat to not show some curiosity over what their cagemates are doing - does Jasper seem well? If he's fluffed up at all, or off his food in general, then I'd take him along to the vet asap.

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Greyflintstone
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Greyflintstone » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:01 pm

cyber ratty wrote:It's unusual for a rat to not show some curiosity over what their cagemates are doing - does Jasper seem well? If he's fluffed up at all, or off his food in general, then I'd take him along to the vet asap.

Hi Mary
He's eating & drinking as much as the other 2, it's only his interest in me that's missing! :cry: I love the idea previously suggested of scooping him into the pouch. I'm going to try that later. Keep everything crossed!!

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Greyflintstone
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Greyflintstone » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:07 pm

I write this with tears running down my face.
I was able to get Jasper into the snuggle bag & thought I would just spend time with him & locked t'other 2 in the cage. I made myself comfy on the sofa and Jasper hopped out of the BAG. Feeling smug I started to talk to him. In the blink of an eye he took a flying leap off the sofa and my son's & I spent the next 90 mins trying to catch him. Eventually we got him cornered and I got a blanket over him. I got him back into the cage, where has he sat staring into a corner ever since. I feel like a fool and a failure. I can't help but think I've made a terrible mistake with rats & that makes me feel worse. What do I do now? I'm scared, he's terrified.

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Caza66
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Caza66 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:51 pm

Don’t feel like a failure. It’s happened to me too. The said rat is now happy to be picked up, run around and climb on me. It is a patient game, don’t give up. Perhaps if your bathroom is a secure place, with no holes that they can get into sit in the bathroom with them, or put them in the bath with you (dry obviously). Please don’t give up.
My current gang :hearts: Drax, Rocket, Groot, Star-lord, Yondu, Neb
:rattyrainbow: To all those who have filled my heart, have fun at the bridge.

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Greyflintstone
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Greyflintstone » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:00 pm

Thank you for your kind words.
Am I best to back to baby food on a spoon and see how that goes for a couple of weeks?

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Caza66
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Caza66 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:41 am

You could try that for a day but certainly try again with the bag. Perhaps in an enclosed space where they can’t escape or get into trouble. I always have a tube available (piece of carpet tube is good), so if they escape you can put the tube near them, when they are in it, hands over each end and back to the cage. Also, is their cage in a highly used room, so they get used to people and normal house noises quicker?
My current gang :hearts: Drax, Rocket, Groot, Star-lord, Yondu, Neb
:rattyrainbow: To all those who have filled my heart, have fun at the bridge.

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Greyflintstone
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Greyflintstone » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:04 am

They are in the dining room, which is the main thoroughfare for the house. Everyone talks to them as they pass, and there's always noise & coming & goings. I'll see how things go tonight when I open the cage

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Re: What to do for the best

Post by HereticPr1me » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:48 pm

It sounds like what youve seen here is "flyting", this is a survival state where they move very fast in more of a bounding jump than a run. Its generally in a blind panic.
Ive seen this a couple of times with rescues, and it really is a case of going very slowly with him. The important thing imo is to go at his pace and not force him into a situation where he feels he needs to flee.
It seems to me like the bag is perhaps a step too far at this point (I agree with Caza, this is exactly what you where you want to go, but I would take a step back first given his reaction). I would persevere with the spoon for now, perhaps even just get the others out and leave the spoon near him, then move to holding it for him (even if it means sitting there for 10 minutes), then let him come to the spoon and so on. It can be slow, but the important thing is to make every interaction positive for him and he'll catch on.
Doing it before feeding time can be productive too, since theyre more inclined towards the food.

Honestly, dont doubt yourself :) Youre doing well by these wee guys, and Jasper will come round in his own time and at his own pace, they always do :love:
Doug, witless provider to :
Ratties :smile: ex-lab boys Boxer and Spot and :girly: old girl Jess.
Budgies Freyja and Haiku.
:rattyrainbow: 42 storytellers loved and lost, most recently : Washburn :rattyrainbow:

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Greyflintstone
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Greyflintstone » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:39 pm

Just a thank you to you all for your help and support. I'm going to go right back to basics with Jasper and will let him come in his own time. Eric & Ernie are progressing well & are clearly the more outgoing pair.

(from the avatar, the boys are (l-r) Ernie, Jasper & Eric)

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Re: What to do for the best

Post by Pirate » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:30 am

When you do move on with Jasper, perhaps don't separate him from the other rats? Sometimes the shyer ones can take courage from the braver ones, and having them nearby will probably make him feel more secure?

You could also try rubbing your hands in the substrate/on the fleece (or whatever you use to line the cage) and handling Eric and Ernie before putting your hands near Jasper/taking Jasper out, to try to make yourself smell a bit more familiar and safe?

Good luck!
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chaos_amoeba
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Re: What to do for the best

Post by chaos_amoeba » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:39 pm

We sacrificed old t-shirts when we brought our rats home - slept in them for a few nights then popped them in the cage as bedding. It is said to help them get used to your smell, so when you put your hand in you smell of home instead of smelling threatening/different.

We also have designated hoodies to wear when handling the rats which therefore smell ratty. Although ours were beautifully socialised on arrival, the hoodies are still popular 8 weeks on - they are bolder coming out of the cage if we wear them (otherwise they can take a few mins of hiding under the cage before they remember we are the providers of treats and come scampering out) - and one of our boys is poorly now and if either of us are wearing a ratty hoodie, his favourite place to be, even above his cage, is inside the armpit of the hoodie :hearts:

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