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Mdenny86

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Michigan
I lost My rat of 2 yrs recently and decided to look at the local humane society to see if any rats needed a home. The worker at the shelter suggested a younger pair about 7 months old. She said they were hand shy but young enough to get used to being handled. It seems a bit worse than that as they go absolutely nuts if they even think you might pick them up. This makes things more difficult. Anyone have any experience with hand training rats that may have been mistreated in a previous living situation?
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
388
Location
British Columbia
I don't have that experience but I do observe rats 24/7 and have a few. What these little ones need is a safe box to go from one place to another, at first. Make a comfy portable safe box with a hole in the front that they can cuddle up in. Next step is to move the safe box to the bed, place a blanket over the box and you get under it too. This is to get them feeling safe and used to your smell and coming out to explore.

Let them go at their own pace as to when they come out of the box and you can also stick your hand near the opening of the box with a lickable treat like pureed banana or something else they love.

Try that first. See how it goes.
 

Camelidae4

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2020
Messages
14
Location
United States
How long have you had them? Can you describe the behaviors that you are seeing? Is one more confident than the other? I've adopted rats from the shelter before, but they ended up being very friendly after giving them some time to adjust. It was actually a rat that I got from a "breeder" that showed intense wariness of people. I recommend just giving them time to get used to you if they are relatively new. If they clearly need some bmod (behavior modification) then there are tons of different techniques you can try, but, again, give them some time to settle. Even just classically conditioning a sound could help (essentially teach a recall using a soft bell, tongue clicking, or other). Counter conditioning handling is popular, but I really enjoy operant conditioning for bmod such as targeting or jumping into a hand. If they are too scared to even do any training with you, then counter conditioning is useful but it works best if your timing and stimulus presentation is immaculate. I am happy to elaborate on any of these techniques if needed.
 

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