Taming a young skittish rat

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
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Taming a young skittish rat

Post by Krothy11 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:35 pm

Hi everyone!

We finally have our 2 young female ratties! Usagi and Luna. We got them pn the 18th of this month, not long ago. Usagi is not very fearful, she doesn't love being picked up but in seconds she adapts ans stays on the hand. She even sleeps in our pockets and likes being petted.

Luna, on the other hand is more nervous. We understood that from the get go. So i didnt try to pick her up or touch her too much. Instead i would hand out treats (cornflakes, i read that it was okay, not 100% sure though). She can now eat from my hand, even support her 3 paws on my open hand. Also, she doesnt get very nervous anymore when i slightly move my hand or lift it up just a tad bit. She also doesnt run away from being petted much. All in all she seems to be more comfortable with my hand and smells it and touches it and supports some of her paws.

However she cannot stand being picked up she poops and pees. She even squeaks once i grab her (never do it rough though).

We set up a play area yesterday with cardboard do be able to sit with tem and let them explore. We had to clean the cage so we had to pick her up and put them on the play area. It was difficult to get her. She ran from my hand and squeaked. On the play area she peed and looked nervous. Although she didnt just hide, she explorered, ran around climbed on my lap and all. She didnt accept treats though. And it was really hard to pick her back up and take her to the cage. She ran and peed again.

What should i do? Just keep feeding on the cage? And let her explore my hand further, until she accepts me lifting her inside the cage and starts going up my arm?

Thanks :)

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cyber ratty
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Re: Taming a young skittish rat

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:39 am

First - welcome to the forum, and to rat keeping :)

Second - if you've only had them 3 days, it's a bit early to be cleaning out, clean the cage as a whole once a week at most, or they will overscent mark in compensation, and get smellier and smellier.

Since you have one who is confident, she should be able to set a good example to her companion, but leaving her in the cage and allowing her to refuse any contact with you will not solve the issue.

I suggest you wear two loose layers of old (so you don't stress about messy poos) clothes (e.g. a hoody or dressing over a t-shirt), and slip both rats in between the layers. Walk around, or sit on a chair, in a different room from where the cage is (so she doesn't try to return to the cage) for at least 20 minutes. Rest your hand inside with them and stroke/massage gently when you are in contact, and talk and sing softly to them. Doing this will get the shy one used to your body smell and the fact that you are a safe place to be, and the bolder one should reinforce that conclusion for her. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day and you should find she improves by the end of a week. By that stage you may even be able to offer a few small treats.

If you have trouble getting her out, then remove any enclosed accessories from the cage so that it's easier for you to scoop her up. If you can't scoop, then tempt her into an enclosed item in order to transfer her from cage to clothes.

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Re: Taming a young skittish rat

Post by loopsntroops » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:31 pm

Yep....the dressing gown worked wonders for mine x and lots of patience!!

Oh...and letting them lick something tasty out of the palm of your hand i found worked for some of mine x

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