2 rats - 1 Really playful - 1 Won't leave cage - HELP

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Joe90

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
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Location
UK
Hi,
I have 2 rats which I have had for about 5 weeks.
Pixie - Not shy, a little mad
Dottie - shy/ cage bound.
I am struggling to get Dottie out the cage at all. She will come to me for food and let me stroke her. There isn't any aggression at all, they don't nibble through the cage or at anything really. Even when she is cornered/ in her coconut she is still calm and happy to be stroked.
Pixie however as soon as I come in the room will check all the doors to come out. Sometimes even ignores food and runs out up my arm and onto my shoulder. She is so trusting and sometimes will jump from my shoulder, the top of her cage or other places and expects me to catch her.
I can leave all the cage doors open and Dottie won't even come out for food. she will stand in the door and lean forward but will not pass it. I show her Pixie, and put her back with her sister and she runs back out but Dottie just watches her, gets curious but then goes away from the door.
Pixie runs up the cage, jumps across to my sofa and Dottie will follow her from inside the cage but will not leave. As I have small doors it is hard to pick her up and get her out and she grabs anything she can to not get out. I have only been successful in getting her out when she is in her coconut and pull the whole thing out. She is happy out and has a little wonder about and snuggles in to you. If you put her on the floor she runs straight for the cage.
I really thought Dottie would learn from her sister or want to follow her out but that technique hasn't worked. I have tried the force training (I read rats can only be scared for 20 minutes then accept the change) so when I have her out I hold her for a while.
Any suggestions are appreciated
 

ViciousCurse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
80
Location
Minnesota, USA
Just like people, rats can either be incredibly introverted or incredibly extroverted. When I have rats that are that scared to come out, the best thing is to let the rat determine when they're coming out on their own time. Forcing anything will bring you back to square one and the rat may become more afraid of you. When they do come out, bring them away from the cage and attempt to give them a lot of treats, whether it be applesauce, yogurt, or any other high-value treat.

When I first started with my rats, I would put my arm in the cage and let my rats come in and out as they pleased. The rats brave enough to climb onto my shoulder got a treat, which then brought the other two out of hiding and quickly scampering up my arm.

Also, scared for 20 minutes sounds like a myth. Just like people, they can still be terrified, but adjust to the change.

For now, Dottie may have to pick up on Pixie's actions and come out on her own time. I've had those shy rats before. I let them be and then, one day, they'll just come up to me and ask to be taken out. Or they'll climb onto my shoulder or arm.
 

Joe90

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
0
Location
UK
Just like people, rats can either be incredibly introverted or incredibly extroverted. When I have rats that are that scared to come out, the best thing is to let the rat determine when they're coming out on their own time. Forcing anything will bring you back to square one and the rat may become more afraid of you. When they do come out, bring them away from the cage and attempt to give them a lot of treats, whether it be applesauce, yogurt, or any other high-value treat.

When I first started with my rats, I would put my arm in the cage and let my rats come in and out as they pleased. The rats brave enough to climb onto my shoulder got a treat, which then brought the other two out of hiding and quickly scampering up my arm.

Also, scared for 20 minutes sounds like a myth. Just like people, they can still be terrified, but adjust to the change.

For now, Dottie may have to pick up on Pixie's actions and come out on her own time. I've had those shy rats before. I let them be and then, one day, they'll just come up to me and ask to be taken out. Or they'll climb onto my shoulder or arm.

Thank you for your response. I wouldn't say shes scared of me as she will come to me in the cage and come to the door. She just won't come any further. She walks out onto my hand but holds on with a back foot and if I try and move her away from the cage she pulls straight back in.
I'll struggle with enticing with food because even Pixie won't take food when she is out. she wants to run around. I also think feeding outside the cage is difficult because both of them hoard massively so if Pixie does take food she will get back in the cage to store it.

As you said hopefully Dottie will follow on with Pixie. I will try something a bit more enticing like apple sauce and show Pixie getting it.
I won't force her with anything again / 20 minute method. I thought like with my guinea pigs a few minutes at a time and increasing it slowly.
I do have to force her out for cleaning though but hope that does't upset anything if I do manage to get her to come out willingly.
 

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