Trust Training Help Needed

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by JuliaMoacyr, Sep 3, 2019.

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  1. Sep 3, 2019 #1

    JuliaMoacyr

    JuliaMoacyr

    JuliaMoacyr

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    Hi, my name is Julia. As of 3 days ago I am the proud rat mom of two beautiful 6 week old pups, Barry and Oliver. They are my first every rat pair. My two boys are very small, and both very skittish. Barry is a little more adventurous, he comes up to the cage when I am feeding and cleaning, when I walk into the room he peaks his head out, and he takes treats from me eagerly. My boy Oliver does none of those things. He is extremely wary of me and isnt giving me much opportunity to develop trust. Both of my boys are skittish to being touched. They do not let me handle them. If I manage to pick either of them up, they do not sit still at all and try to run back into the cage or leap out of my hands. I know picking them up and holding them close is an essential part of bonding but they do get genuinely terrified. And I dont want to persist and stress them out, but I also dont want to teach them that running avoids interacting with me. My breeder has given fairly questionable advice saying I should persist and that I should handle them as often as I can.But I know stress can make them sick, so I dont know what to do? I have a two story cage but because they are so small I closed them off to just the top floor they seemed to like more. There's plenty of clutter and 3 hides in there so they shouldnt feel stressed in the cage. The breeder said they are used to being handled and have been handled since about 3 weeks old. But I think it's not entirely accurate since she breeds so many. I'd like to trust her word for it but I can tell when an animal is unfamiliar with behaviors. Rats are smart, if they had been handled as often as she said, they would know being picked up isnt inherently bad and wouldnt flip out when I touched them. Does anyone know any tips and trick that can help me get them used to not just my presence in the room, but also being handled, without constantly spooking them? Or am i stuck persisting and picking them up against their will until they stop being scared?
     
  2. Sep 3, 2019 #2

    Dena

    Dena

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    3 days is still really new. They need about a week to sorta adjust, but may need longer to fully adjust. If they are that young, they will be really squirmy, and jumpy and want to run, climb, and go to places they feel secure. Try wearing a large hoodie, or sweater, and offering your sleeve or pocket, or hood (wear the hoodie backwards) for safety. Just keep trying, and rewarding for them interacting with you. Use something like yogurt on your fingertip, or baby food. You can use a small spoon if you'd like, and slowly shorten the handle (grip closer to the spoon part). If they aren't nippy, you can use your fingers. If they nip, eep at them, but don't pull away. Check out www.joinrats.com for lots of good info on socializing and such. There aren't really any good breeders, and really, babies should be handled since birth so they can get used to human sound, scent, and touch (their eyesight is pretty poor). Also, it helps to have them in an active part of the house, so they get used to your sounds and smells. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Sep 3, 2019 #3

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Yes, they are still very young. Give them a few more days to adjust and then give them the opportunity to come to you. They will. Don't push them by grabbing them, but try to talk them into coming out. If they were bred well you should have no problems.
     
  4. Sep 3, 2019 #4

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Oh, and i i li to let them play hide snd srek under the bed covers. They are sooooo cite st that ahe. Watch out for chewing and peeing tho. They will love running around for long stretches under your blanket and on you, up your sleeves, etc. Theyll be trusting in no time
     
  5. Sep 3, 2019 #5

    JuliaMoacyr

    JuliaMoacyr

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    They are very desensitized to loud noises, they don’t mind my presence in the room at all, they come up when I am changing food or cleaning. They’re well socialized in terms of being used to people, but they seemingly have no experience being picked up and held without being utterly terrified. Today I’ve just been giving them treats and holding out my hand for them, and I’m not gonna try to pick them up for a few days until they’re more comfortable with me. Especially one of my boys who is much less social than the other. He’s gonna take more time. The breeder just asked advertised them as fully socialized rats, so it was surprising to me.
     
  6. Sep 3, 2019 #6

    JuliaMoacyr

    JuliaMoacyr

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    Thanks for the help, their breeder was giving me some questionable advice saying I need to handle them right off the bat and etc. But after a bit more research I think I’m gonna give them plenty of space, but still offer treats and feed out of my hand and see if they take. I’m not gonna attempt to pick them up for a few days, and see if that helps. For now food training and neutral training have proved more beneficial than interactive trust training. I’ll have to build up to that. I’ve just never had this kind of issue before with all the other small mammals. And I was promised fully socialized rats from the breeder. Their terrified reaction is very unnatural for “socialized” rats, and it caught me off guard. I think the breeder socialized them much less than she’s claiming. Especially bc my pups were weaned only a few days before I got them, versus he other pups she had were a few weeks older. Or maybe my pups are just shy and skittish, or even both. But thank you for the help. I just have to wait and see how well they adjust in the next few days.
     

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