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Advice with taming please

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 11:05 pm
by helen80
Hi all.

We have 4 rats who live together in a very large cage, we got them at 8 weeks and they’re now 6 months.

Rascal - loves people, happy to be picked up and will climb about on me. No problems at all.

Ralphie - likes people. Licks in greeting (😍) even if he saw you 5 minutes ago! Okay to pick up and handle. No problems from him.

Roddy - started out nervous. But he’s curious and comes to the door, sniffs and getting good at being picked up.

Remy - gets on fine with his bro’s but people are a nope. He’ll sniff, test with his teeth (harder than the others) but if you try to stroke him he immediately backs off and god forbid you need to actually get him out of the cage. He’s never bitten but really isn’t fond of being touched by us.

So my question is what is the best way to get him to the point where I can, at the very least, pick him up and give him a quick health check? Even if he never actually likes me, I’d like to be able to make sure I can get him in and out of the cage easily in case of emergency or something.

Is he “too old” to tame or maybe he’s just the wrong temperament? Is that even a thing with rats?

We’ve treated them all the same - at least as much as possible. But it’s hard when 3 are jostling for prime position at the door and he is content to do his own thing, usually at the furthest corners so I can’t reach him anyway!

I’d be grateful for any advice please. Thanks so much.

Re: Advice with taming please

Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 11:38 am
by cyber ratty
Rats are very individual, so it's not unusual for one to behave differently from the others.

Has Remy always been the same? If it's become an issue recently, then it could be that his hormones are causing the problem, and getting him neutered would make him more relaxed.

When you try to pick him up do you always put your hand over his back? Touching an alpha buck's back is provocative, and will wind them up if they are so inclined. Try scooping him up using a hand underneath instead.

Have you tried intensive 1-1 bonding with him? This is where you slip him between two layers of your clothing (e.g. in a loose hoody, or a dressing gown), and sit or stand in a different room for at least 20 minutes per session. Pop your hand in with him a stroke/massage gently on his sides and around his ears and neck. Soft talking/singing while you do it will be beneficial too. Do this a couple of times a day if you can, and you should see some improvement within a week, but if it doesn't work then neutering is probably your best bet.

Also, when they are free ranging, make sure to pick Remy up every now and then, just for a few seconds, and then pop him down again before he has the chance to object. This way he learns that being picked up doesn't mean any major interference, but you're still establishing the fact that you are making the decisions, not him.

He may never become the sort of rat who will seek you out, but as you say, you do need to be able to handle him. :luck:

Re: Advice with taming please

Posted: Sun May 10, 2020 12:33 am
by helen80
Thank you for the advice.

He’s always been the most timid of the group. I’ll try and some intensive bonding with him, if I can get him out of the cage!

Even when the others are running round outside the cage he will stay near the door or very close to it so he can scoot back inside quickly.