They won't come out!

Discuss rat companionship, introductions and behavioural problems such as biting or shyness or tell us about your rat's unusual habits.
mrsnimh
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They won't come out!

Post by mrsnimh » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:16 pm

I've had these boys for ten days now. They're happy enough with the other rats but they are utterly refusing to be nice to people. I've tried the patient approach of sitting by the cage with the door open and they won't come to me at all, if I leave the cage open and go away from the room they still won't come out. Picking them up now results in being bitten. Any slight noise ever sends them scuttling into dark corners of the cage. I am seriously at my wits end now. I need to make them get used to people, if they get ill and need medication then they'll need to be handled.

I managed to do an entire scrub down of the Explorer with them still in it last night, they just run to whichever end of the cage I'm not. They have nowhere to actually hide. I took the lids off the igloos and stole their hammocks and tubes - much to the disgust of the original four who are probably wondering why all their nice things are taken away. Just wondering if I'm going to have to go down the "gardening gloves" route. I really would prefer they just manned up and stopped being such skitty wusses. :)
Currently owned by Edward, Shaun, Lancelot, Linus, Barry & Abraham

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sati18
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Re: They won't come out!

Post by sati18 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:53 pm

ten days really isn't all that long. i got 3 rescues in june who were pretty unhandled. they were sppoked by noises near the cage and if you picked them up they would poo all over you and then go mad trying to get away and screaming.

i took everything out of the cage except a couple of open hammocks so they were forced to see and hear the world. i put them in the busiest of rooms and made a point of every time i walked past the cage sticking my had in offering them a yoggie, a treat, or if they looked really sleepy giving them a quick stroke in the hammock. it took them about 2 weeks to get fully addicted to yoggies which i must say makes the whole process a lot easier.

from the end of the first week i would free range them in the hall which is a fairly small, bare room which has no escape for rats. put some cushions in for them to hide under and transfered them to and from the hall using a rat bag because they wouldn't tolerate being picked up. every time they came near me i offered them a yoggie and then started pickign them up and putting them down.

after a month 2 were handleable ( could be picked up without instantly bolting) 1 still not. i've been working with them daily still (and they are now intro'edto my confident boys since september). 2 i cn pick up and treat like whatever- theyre completely tame. 1 still has the odd freak out but he's come on so far from where he started.

i think you should try and have a bit of patience, and just practise the little steps. get them hooked on some food and get them used to your hands on them in the cage. once you have that they can learn from there that humans are good. if theyre biting you then try something like tasy yoghurt from a spoon so they learn that biting is horrible for them when they get a face full of spoon.

also do a forum search on taming biting rats. there are so many posts on this that if you spend an hour or so looking through them you will have tonnes of advice to be getting on with.
Proudly owned by the big boys (Jeff, George & Toby) and the babbies (Sid & Ozzy)
RIP Monty, Emile, Leo, Angus, Otto, Remy and Rafe... mummy misses you every day.

mrsnimh
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Re: They won't come out!

Post by mrsnimh » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:04 pm

Thanks, I know it's not a long time and really I ought to be pleased that my other rats have been so amiable. I have read through a lot of posts but there's a lot of differing advice and quite often people don't come back with their success stories.
It's helpful to know that it will take a longer time than I expected. I have been so lucky before and these guys have had a tough time before coming here. I've always had them from "the start" rather than getting them from someone who couldn't cope. I'll carry on being patient and try the treating on the way past. The others will get jealous so probably also fat as a result... ;)
Currently owned by Edward, Shaun, Lancelot, Linus, Barry & Abraham

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sati18
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Re: They won't come out!

Post by sati18 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:15 pm

yes definitely.... i was in the same position... all my previous rats had been bred by proper breeders or by friends who had handled them from birth so had been completelyfriendly even before coming to me. as i said it's taken 5 months so far for my most scared rescue (George) to come around and he still has a tendency to hide at incovenient times (like when free rage is over and i need to go out) or to suddenly spook and frantically run away fromme picking him up. but he is gettign there and i'm sure that your boys will too. i firmly believe that bribery is the key... find something they adore be it food (most likely), attention, or free roaming time out of the cage and use that shamelessly to bargain with them/buy their love... they get it eventually!
Proudly owned by the big boys (Jeff, George & Toby) and the babbies (Sid & Ozzy)
RIP Monty, Emile, Leo, Angus, Otto, Remy and Rafe... mummy misses you every day.

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by aimlessdesire » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:57 pm

The way i've tamed up unhandable ones is pretty similar to sati18. Everytime I walk past the cage I get them out and give them a quick cuddle and put them back with a treat (only a very small piece). Once or twice a day i take them out and stick up on my shoulder under a jumper, or up my sleever and carry them with me whatever i'm doing (usually sitting on the computer). I tended to find that most will come round within 2 weeks, but some do take longer.

If they won't come out of the cage easily, then try and scope them up in a tunnel / house etc. You may find it easier to do in a smaller cage than the Explorer, if you have something smaller though the explorer does have the benefit of good access.

If they have taken to biting, then you need to be confident with them and just stick your hand in and grab them if you can. i know once you get bitten a few times it's easy to become nervous of them and they will pick up on that.
Caledonian Rattery breeding for Russian Blue Point Siamese, Black Eyed Siamese, Black and Russian Blue.

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by jemzwhitehouse » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:33 pm

I totally am in the same boat as you!!!!!
My two girls are so scared but so curious at the same time. All I do is talk to them and reassure them but they will not be gone near, so i cannot pick them up! I too am worried about cleaning their cage as I have no clue how I am going to get them out. I want to be a good rattie mummie and am so excited about having tame rats but it is taking a while to bring them round.
Keep me posted and if you have any new tips, let me know!!!!!

jemz x
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Re: They won't come out!

Post by TheGryffindorFox » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:27 pm

I've had exactly the same problem. I recently got two pet shop rats and one of them is coming along really well, but the other is very shy and hides in his hammock all the time. I've taken the hammock out, to try and help him be more confident but my boyfriend reckons this is mean and I should just leave him be. What do you all think?

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by jemzwhitehouse » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:29 pm

It is so difficult knowing what to do for the best isn't it? I want to tame them but I don't want to keep scaring them and I fear that if I just stick my hands in there and try and hold one, they will freak out all over again and never come round :-( what to do?
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Re: They won't come out!

Post by mrsnimh » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:32 am

Excellent advice on here, thanks again, I shall certainly be following it all. It's such a knock to the confidence after doing so well with my other boys and I just feel really upset on behalf of the shy ones. They don't even know how much they're missing out on. Here's hoping that consistency and treats are the key to these two becoming happy chappies. (They do actually seem happy but naturally I'd like them to be people-happy as well!) :)
Currently owned by Edward, Shaun, Lancelot, Linus, Barry & Abraham

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by mrsnimh » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:40 am

jemzwhitehouse wrote:It is so difficult knowing what to do for the best isn't it? I want to tame them but I don't want to keep scaring them and I fear that if I just stick my hands in there and try and hold one, they will freak out all over again and never come round :-( what to do?
It is horrible when they do this but they have to get used to you. Don't be afraid to make noises and 'accidentally' bash into the cage on the way past. I refuse to let their fear become the rule of the roost. They need to get used to everyday noises and actions. I know I'm in the same boat as you right now but I've had nervous rats before and the last thing you want to do is pander to them. Keep putting your hands in - mine don't like food-on-a-spoon but yours might like to try it, get some yogurt or puddingy baby-food and hold that in there and gradually drag the spoon towards you. My new boys are at the "taking food from hands without biting me" stage but they're pretty much grab it and run still. I do make them work for it, I also have the advantage of being able to leave the cage open at all times so am able to gently stroke them when they're sleeping, they don't do a runner when I do that. Inevitably one of the other rats will decide it's time to clang up his stairs wearing concrete boots and hurl bowls and toys about on his way and scare the bejeesus out of them but, as said before, they must get used to sudden noises as they're part of life. :)
Currently owned by Edward, Shaun, Lancelot, Linus, Barry & Abraham

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by jemzwhitehouse » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:55 am

Thanks.
I am not too worried about the household noise. Just their fear when they see me!!!!! I am sure they wern't handled that much in the pet shop and thats why they are so feared.
I am off to get that ferut cage thingy from P@H this morning. Won't be able to get them in it though!!!!! I hate seeing them so jumpy when I go near them, makes me sad. :sadrat:
I will keep giving treats and talking to them and maybe one day I will be able to stroke them!!!
Jemz, Iris and Juno x x x

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by richard grey » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:35 pm

I've found wearing a big loose dressing gown helps (tied up tightly at the waist), just chuck them in and sit down and watch TV/read a book.

They'l likely run round the back at first, then theyll happily run up the sleves or poke their heads out the front after a while. Took a few weeks of this with some new rescues, just wear an old jumper or such underneath in case they chew it (they never bit me on purpose, but they have a habit of attacking labels or loose threads).

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by jemzwhitehouse » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:37 pm

They won't even let me stroke them!
I'll get there in the end!
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Re: They won't come out!

Post by mrsnimh » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:52 pm

Good news! Abraham finally came out of his own free will. He may well have spent his two hours skulking round the back of the cage and pretending to inspect the book-shelf rather than scampering about with the Chaos Crew but it's a good start and I managed to pick him up to put him back in without him trying to amputate my fingers. He looks a bit bemused by the whole experience but it's a good start. I'm very proud of him being so brave.
Barry started coming out with the others last night and has had a fine old time investigating my laundry by scaling the airer and happily hurling socks and knickers to the floor with gay abandon.
Currently owned by Edward, Shaun, Lancelot, Linus, Barry & Abraham

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Re: They won't come out!

Post by jemzwhitehouse » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:41 pm

Congratulations!!! You're so lucky !!!! :smileyrat:
Jemz, Iris and Juno x x x

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